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December 31, 2009

DiNapoli Releases State Cash Watch Numbers,
"New York Dropped the Ball"

Barring an unforeseen influx of tax receipts today, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said the state's General Fund will close the calendar year in the red for the first time in recent history. The state’s overall cash-flow remains at a historically low level with only $883.7 million cash-on-hand. The Cash Watch update is part of DiNapoli's on-going effort to increase fiscal transparency for the state’s taxpayers.

"New York State is ringing in the new year in a tenuous financial position," DiNapoli said. "For the first time in recent history, the state’s General Fund is estimated to end the calendar year in the negative. This cash crunch - and the deficit that still has not been fully addressed - could have been avoided if New York had adopted a more realistic budget last April. Now we see the results. New York dropped the ball. The state’s New Year’s resolution must be to make better budget decisions."

December 31, 2009
State Funds Available Cash Start of Business $506.4 million*
Pending Payments Start of Business  $805.9 million****
Estimated State Fund Receipts $1.182 billion***
Estimated State Funds Available End of Business (Closing Balance) $883.7 million****
*Amount of cash on hand to pay bills
**Vouchers payable today,
***Tax, federal and misc. receipts from agencies received today
****Amount of cash on hand after paying bills and receiving in revenue

The General Fund is expected to close the month with a negative balance that could be as high as $600 million. This puts the state in the position of borrowing from other state funds to pay its bills. The General Fund is the major operating fund of the state. It is comprised of all non-dedicated revenues and includes the state’s major reserve funds. Money from the General Fund is used to pay for state operations and local assistance. The General Fund is a component of the state’s Short Term Investment Pool (STIP) or cash-on-hand. STIP is made up of All Governmental Funds (including the General Fund, state and federal special revenue funds, state and federal capital projects funds and debt service funds) and enterprise and internal service funds. These funds are invested temporarily until needed.

Last April when the state budget was adopted, it was anticipated that the state would face cash flow problems in the coming year. Therefore, a provision was included in the budget that allows the General Fund to borrow from other funds in STIP for a period not to exceed four months or until the end of the fiscal year, whichever is shorter, to meet its obligations in the event of a cash shortfall. Previously, temporary loans from other funds in STIP were allowed, but had to be paid back within the same month, preventing the General Fund from ending the month in the negative.

The State Comptroller’s office processes approximately 130,000 state payments daily. In State Fiscal Year 2008-09, it processed more than 34 million payments totaling approximately $103 billion.


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