Monday, October 26, 2009

Gov. Paterson Calls For November Special Session

Governor David Paterson (D-NY) has called for a special session to deal with a multibillion dollar deficit and to enact gay marriage legislation. The session would likely start November 10.

The state budget is in shambles, and there is no one to blame but Governor Paterson and the state legislature, which passed an abomination of a budget. Knowing that state revenues were down sharply and that there was little sign of an improvement from Wall Street (where much of the shortfall was due to the collapse of the credit markets and resulting uncertainties along with the real estate market downturn), Gov. Paterson passed a state budget that was billions more than last year. In fact, he increased state spending by nearly 10%.

That was the height of irresponsibility. Instead of containing spending at last year's levels (which was still much more than the state could afford at the time), state spending grew, which meant that budget deficits were not only a given, but the size would depend on just how bad the economy was.

The state is now facing a $3 billion deficit.

Had the state passed a no-growth budget, this deficit would not have occurred. Instead, the legislature was treating taxpayers like a piggy bank that they could raid at any time.

Note that Paterson has called for a cut of $1 billion in midyear local school aid and another $1 billion in health care cuts. That means there's $1 billion unaccounted for - and the gap for which would largely be closed through tax hikes and fees.

Indeed, watch for a new round of taxes and fees to bring the state budget into alignment over spending cuts.

Paterson may also want to take another look at a newly enacted regulation that may make it far more difficult for wind power providers to bring their projects online since they require a study of whether there is sufficient power transmission capacity and whether the wind power project is replacing existing conventionally generated power.

All of these problems with the New York budget were wholly avoidable had a prudent spending plan been enacted at the time. Instead, Paterson and the legislature pursued higher spending regardless of the direct and indirect costs to the state and the taxpayers.

Meanwhile, why does Gov. Paterson think that the gay marriage issue is so critical that there are numerous reports that indicate that this will be on the special session agenda? The state has so many more important and pressing issues, and this is nothing more than a distraction (which perhaps explains the reason that it's out there). The state has to get its fiscal house in order, and until it does so, everything else is secondary.

No comments: