I am pleased to present the State of New York’s Financial Condition Report for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016.
After closing deep projected budget gaps just a few years ago, New York State’s short-term financial condition has improved. The State’s General Fund ended SFY 2015-16 with an exceptionally large balance, which enhances budgetary flexibility in the near term and is expected to support increased capital investment and other purposes over multiple years.
While New York has made progress in recent years, real concerns remain about the State’s policies and practices with respect to spending, budget reserves, debt, and capital planning.
For example, New York continues to rely on non-recurring and temporary resources to pay for recurring expenses, which may make it harder to balance future budgets. In addition, despite the influx of nearly $9 billion in one-time settlement funds, this year’s enacted budget included authorization of more than $8.7 billion in new borrowing, an increase of 7.1 percent from previously authorized levels. At the same time, the State continues to face declining debt capacity under the statutory cap established in the Debt Reform Act of 2000.
As the State’s chief financial officer, I have proposed a package of fiscal reforms that would address four key areas of concern — accountability for State spending, sufficiency of reserves, appropriate levels and use of debt, and capital planning and prioritization. Details of these proposals are available on my Office’s website.
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.
Such a discussion will help our great State build further on its tremendous assets, and help us promote a strong financial condition to benefit all New Yorkers.
Thomas P. DiNapoli