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July 20, 2007

DiNapoli: General Fund Spending Above Financial Plan

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General Fund spending for New York State was $1.1 billion higher in the first quarter than projected in the 2007-08 Financial Plan, according to a quarterly analysis of cash flow released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. DiNapoli said the difference in spending was caused by the timing of education and Medicaid payments.

“This is probably not a case of overspending but rather timing,” DiNapoli said. “This problem should correct itself over the course of the fiscal year.”

Highlights of the report include the following:

The General Fund closing balance is $2.9 billion, or $1.3 billion below financial plan projections, primarily due to the timing of education and Medicaid payments which are expected to slow down later in the year.

General Fund spending totaled $14.9 billion through June 30, higher than the first quarter of last year ($1.2 billion).

General Fund receipts totaled $14.8 billion through June 30, which is 1.3 percent below last year. The primary reasons for the decline are business and personal income tax collections, as well as lower miscellaneous and federal receipts.

Personal income tax collections are down primarily because of higher refunds due to the enhanced child tax credit that went into effect in 2006, which were offset by increases in withholding and estimated tax collections.

Business tax collections were $201 million below financial plan projections and 7.3 percent below collections after three months in 2006-07. While this slowdown in business tax collections merits continued monitoring, other tax collections are within financial plan projections and historical levels.

All Governmental Funds spending through June 30 was $27 billion, or 5.8 percent higher than last year. This increase reflects higher spending for education, transportation, criminal justice and capital projects offset by decreases in spending for debt service, health, environment and general state charges.

All Governmental Funds receipts after three months were $28.5 billion or 2.3 percent higher than last year. This reflects an increase of 16.9 percent in miscellaneous receipts primarily related to the 2005-06 WellChoice Conversion. Other than increases in consumption/use taxes, personal income tax and miscellaneous receipts, all other categories of receipts decreased.

An update of the Financial Plan is expected from the Division of the Budget within the next few weeks.

Click here to view the report.



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