The Enacted State Budget for State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22 is boosted by a substantial influx of new resources, totaling an estimated $26.7 billion in SFY 2021-22. These resources include federal support, better-than-expected tax collections, revenues from tax increases, and other new resources, resulting in the largest budget in state history at an estimated $212 billion, according to an analysis released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“The American Rescue Plan provided fiscal relief to the state and local governments, school districts and transit systems at a critical time,” DiNapoli said. “While the Enacted Budget makes important investments in education, health care and other important areas, it’s critical to maintain a long-term view and ensure the state’s spending does not grow to unsustainable levels. Federal support is finite and there were missed opportunities in this budget to ensure the state is well-positioned to weather future emergencies and recessions.”
The American Rescue Plan will give $12.6 billion in fiscal relief to the state and additional funds for other programs to directly benefit New Yorkers. The budget will use $5.5 billion of federal aid in SFY 2021-22 and is required to use the rest by the end of 2024. Revenue actions including increases to top personal income tax rates and corporate franchise tax rates are expected to generate $3.7 billion in SFY 2021-22, growing to $4.8 billion by SFY 2024-25. Increases to the corporate franchise rates expire after 2023 while higher personal income tax rates will expire after 2027.
The new resources provide substantial funding for education and relief programs for struggling New Yorkers and industries. State funding for K-12 public school education is expected to grow by $1.4 billion annually, in addition to federal funding provided directly to districts. New programs, backed mostly by federal funds, include $2.4 billion for rent and homeowner relief, $2.4 billion for child care resources to aid providers and improve subsidies to low-income parents, and $1.6 billion in small business recovery grants and loans, including specific programs for restaurants, cultural establishments, and theater and musical productions.
DiNapoli noted there were also several chances to take steps to improve New York’s long-term fiscal position that were not acted upon. The state continued to defer up to a total of $3.5 billion in Medicaid payments and did not make any new deposits to statutory rainy day reserve funds, which remain at $2.5 billion. Despite a strong cash position, short-term borrowing was also reauthorized. And, for the second year, state leaders circumvented the state’s debt cap for debt to be issued in the coming year—with new state issuance likely to exceed the limits, rendering the cap meaningless.
In the coming weeks, the state Division of Budget will release an updated financial plan for SFY 2021-22 through SFY 2024-25 which will clarify the use and timing of federal aid, spending planned for future years, and the impact of revenue and expense actions on recurring budget gaps. DiNapoli said the financial plan should also provide detail on several risks, including the volatility and temporary nature of new tax revenues and the sustainability of spending on key programs.
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