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 FOR RELEASE:

Immediately
January 19, 2010


Statement From State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli on
Governor Paterson's Budget Proposal

"This fiscal crisis self-inflicted"

This must be a transformative year for New York State. The lessons of the past two state budgets should be incentive enough for real reform.

The proposed budget is grim, but so is the state’s fiscal condition. The state could barely pay its bills last month and it is questionable how we’re going to make it through March. Local governments and school districts faced mid-year cuts and uncertainty because of broken budget promises. And what happened in December could be just a flurry compared to the possible blizzard heading our way in the next few fiscal years. The cumulative out-year budget gap is staggering.

New York’s budget problems won’t self-correct. Many of the problems creating this fiscal crisis are self-inflicted. The recession made things worse, but New York’s poor budgeting of the past made the state ill-prepared when the full brunt of the recession hit.

New York has repeatedly run away from its fiscal problems and used short-term actions and gimmicks to buy more time. But time is up. Our state cannot continue to make budget promises in April that cannot be kept in the cold fiscal reality of December. The Governor and the Legislature have to find a new, more transparent, more responsible way to craft a budget that balances revenues and spending and is built on realistic assumptions and long-term planning.

The Executive Budget is a starting point. Where New York ends up is the real challenge. My office will issue its review of the Executive Budget proposal in the next few weeks.

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