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May 17, 2010

DiNapoli: Late Budget Hurting Schools, Local Governments

Urges End to Budget Delay

State Comptroller DiNapoli today released an analysis of the effect the six-week state budget stalemate is having on school districts and local governments around the state. The report notes that the late budget makes it extremely difficult for local governments and school districts to craft their own budgets, and could result in unnecessary local property tax increases and service cuts.

“I called last year’s budget a ‘buy-time’ budget,” DiNapoli said. ‘This year it’s just wasted time. Local governments and school districts are putting together their budgets, and they’re doing it in the dark with no clear picture of how much state aid they’ll get.

“We’re six weeks into the new fiscal year with no budget in sight and we’re facing a multi-billion deficit. All this wasted time means New York will have to pack a whole year of fiscal pain into 10 months. It’s not fair to our schools, it’s not fair to our local governments, and it’s really not fair to the taxpayers. I urge the governor and legislature to take action and finally pass the state budget.”

DiNapoli’s analysis notes that many school districts rely extensively on state aid. Budgets for the Big Five school districts (Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Yonkers and New York City) are included in their city’s budget, which must be adopted by July 1. All five districts rely heavily on state aid for revenues. Buffalo relies on state aid for 74 percent of its school budget, and Rochester and Syracuse each derive 68 percent of their school budgets from state aid.

DiNapoli noted that aside from the confusion created by the late budget, delayed state aid payments are having an impact on school district finances, and have resulted in a credit rating downgrade for the State Dormitory Authority’s school district revenue bond financing program.

Click here for a copy of DiNapoli’s analysis.


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