New York collected $149.1 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2014-15, an increase of $11.4 billion, or 8.3 percent, from the prior year, largely because of one-time financial settlements and a boost in federal aid, according to a report on the state’s year-end finances issued today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“New York benefitted from nearly $5 billion in revenue from settlements last year, with even more on the way this fiscal year,” DiNapoli said. “While these settlements are certainly good for the state’s bottom line, we can’t expect such windfalls to continue. State leaders need to make sure this money is spent on capital investment or other one-time purposes. We can’t count on it to fund ongoing expenses.”
Overall, the state collected more than $71 billion in taxes, up 1.9 percent from a year earlier. Business tax collections of $8.5 billion were $831.7 million higher than originally projected. Net Personal Income Tax (PIT) receipts of $43.7 billion ended the year close to initial projections, although withholding collections were lower and current year estimated payments higher than expected.
The state received $48.6 billion in federal grants, which were used primarily for Medicaid (including new costs related to the Affordable Care Act), homeland security (including costs associated with Superstorm Sandy), public welfare and education.
Total state spending reached $143.9 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, an increase of $6.4 billion or 4.6 percent from SFY 2013-14. Spending was $888.5 million higher than anticipated in February 2015 and $1.9 billion higher than initially projected when the budget was enacted.
The increase largely reflected higher spending from federal funds, while General Fund spending was lower than anticipated. The state also made a number of prepayments, including $953 million for debt service that had originally been planned for SFY 2015-16. Such prepayments change the level of reported year-over-year growth in spending but do not reduce interest costs.
DiNapoli’s report also notes:
- The General Fund ended SFY 2014-15 with a balance of $7.3 billion, the highest level in at least two decades, primarily due to settlement money;
- Deposits of $126.4 million and $189.5 million were made to the Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund and the Rainy Day Reserve Fund, respectively; and
- Lottery revenues of $3.2 billion were $66.8 million, or 2 percent, below original projections.