New York's projected revenue picture is darkening amid the growing crisis surrounding the spread of coronavirus as a report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on Tuesday estimated the state's revenue projections are off by as much as $7 billion.
At minimum, New York's tax revenue will be $4 billion below projections -- a gap that lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have to fill by the end of this month.
The worsening revenue comes amid historic declines in the stock market, the main financial driver for the state.
In all, the problems facing New York's finances have not been as sharply dire since the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Multiple steps should be considered to effectively address the revenue risks and other issues outlined above," DiNapoli wrote in the report.
"Spending decisions should reflect economic and fiscal realities. I urge the Division of the Budget and the Legislature’s fiscal committees to conduct quarterly or more frequent meetings similar to the Consensus Forecasting Conference held annually in late February. Public review and analysis of developments in the global, national and State economic outlook, and their potential impact on the Financial Plan, would enhance fiscal transparency during a time of heightened uncertainty and concern."
DiNapoli issued a new revenue forecast on Tuesday after a request earlier this month from Cuomo, who has said he is seeking to also bolster the state's unemployment insurance in the budget.
The Legislature and the governor also have previously agreed to a $40 million appropriation to handle the initial build up to fight the virus; that money is not expected to be enough.
Cuomo has also beseeched the federal government for more help to contain the virus and expand hospital capacity.
Lawmakers and Cuomo face a choice of either a "bare bones" budget or one that includes a range of policy issues not immediately related to spending.
Budget Director Robert Mujica at a news briefing on Tuesday morning said the budget will need to provide more flexibility to move money or delay payments throughout the year.