5.9k Share this
In crafting the $216 billion budget she released Tuesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul faced a “dilemma” every pol dreams of: an insane gusher of cash thanks to billions in federal funding on top of mountains of new state revenue from a booming stock market and last year’s tax hikes. Her solution: shower funds on interests she needs to win this year’s Democratic primary.
- New York already spends twice the national average per student on public education, yet Hochul’s budget hikes school aid a whopping 7.1%. Teachers and other school staff will love it.
- She’d add $10 billion in new multi-year health-care spending.
- Her $25 billion, five-year housing plan will do nothing to ease New York’s housing crunch.
- She’s flushing $500 million down the offshore-wind-project drain.
- Nearly a quarter billion would go for gun-violence reduction, such as “violence interveners,” after-school programs and assorted community programs. Why not spend the cash on actual law enforcement?
In all, she’s looking to spend more than Texas and Florida combined, even though each has more people than New York. Gone is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2% cap on the growth of state-funded spending: Her plan aims to goose those outlays by 3.1%, from $115 billion to $119 billion.
Hochul channels some cash to reserves, aiming to hit 15 percent of state operating funds. But the commonly accepted benchmark is 17 percent. Worse, many of her programs would continue forever, long after federal aid runs out. She projects no budget gaps through 2027, but that’s out the window if the economy falters.
And the Legislature will surely look to top her spending plans.
Meanwhile, the state’s nation-leading tax burden has residents and businesses fleeing. Yet the gov did nothing to address the high taxes that even her budget director, Robert Mujica, admits have driven folks out of the state.
“It’s a blown opportunity to do something to turn the tide of outmigration,” laments the Empire Center’s Peter Warren. “Hardly any of this historic flood of new revenue being raised from New Yorkers is being returned to them.”
This is a budget aimed at keeping Kathy Hochul in power, not at reversing the Empire State’s decline.