While both legislative one-house budgets add spending to the executive budget, New York state budget watchdogs are sounding the alarm over the economy. The Citizens Budget Commission is urging lawmakers to exercise some restraint when it comes to spending.
When Gov. Kathy Hochul rolled out her budget proposal in January, it was a historic $216 billion spending package.
“[It’s] a tremendous amount of money,” Patrick Orecki, director of state studies at the Citizens Budget Commission, told Capital Tonight. “Already, the executive budget supported vast increases in spending.”
Like, for example, school aid increases that were enacted in last year’s spending agreement.
The one-house budgets both add spending on top of that growth.
“The concern is really a long-term one. Right now, the state’s fiscal outlook is far better than it was even 13 months ago, and certainly better than it was at the outset of the pandemic,” Orecki said.
But he argues that adding new spending jeopardizes the ability of the state to sock money away for a rainy day. Gov. Hochul has proposed that $15 billion go into the state’s so-called “Rainy Day Fund," but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have other plans for that money. For example, among other ideas, Democrats want to invest $3 billion in child care; Republicans are looking to invest $11 billion in infrastructure.
Currently, the reserve has $3 billion in it. If the state were to experience a recession, Orecki anticipates the fund would need more than $30 billion.