I am pleased to present the State of New York’s Financial Condition Report for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015.
After closing deep projected budget gaps just a few years ago, New York State has continued to improve its short-term financial condition. The State’s General Fund ended SFY 2014-15 with its highest closing fund balance in at least two decades, thanks in large part to an extraordinary inflow of one-time resources from financial settlements.
Over $315 million was deposited into the State’s Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund and the Rainy Day Reserve Fund, providing assurance that such dollars will be available when truly needed.
Further, a portion of the unexpected settlement dollars has been earmarked for much-needed infrastructure projects across New York, an appropriate use of one-time revenues.
Still, there is room for further improvement. The State recently approved $7.4 billion in new and increased authorizations for State-Supported borrowing – an increase of 6.4 percent from previously authorized levels. This new debt would be issued on behalf of the State by its public authorities. Such “backdoor borrowing” circumvents the State Constitution’s requirement that State debt be approved by voters.
Moreover, despite the influx of settlement funds, New York continues to rely on non-recurring and temporary resources, which may make it harder to balance future budgets.
As the State’s chief financial officer, I encourage every citizen to learn more about the fiscal, economic and social challenges facing New York and to participate fully in the public debate on these vitally important issues. This report is intended to promote an informed dialogue by illustrating key trends in our economy as well as in our State and local budgets.
It is my hope that such a discussion will help put our great State in a position to build on its tremendous assets and ensure a strong future.
Thomas P. DiNapoli