A quick read of the Paterson budget plan

tattered dollar bill

David Paterson unveiled his plan for cutting $2 billion from the current state budget today. He says this plan will cut $2 billion from this year's budget and $3.2 billion from next year's (in which a $12.5 billion gap has already been projected).

We've put together a quick rundown of the cuts/savings. It includes some possibly bad news for Saratoga.

State workers: $137 million this year, $167 million next year
The plan calls for state workers to "delay" five days-worth of salary until they leave their jobs (no mention of whether that delayed payment will include interest the five days will be paid at the person's future pay rate) -- that's worth $121 million this year. It also eliminates the three percent raise planned for next year -- which would save $122 million next year.

Local government aid: $134 million this year, $110 million next year
A big chunk of this, $41 million, is being taken out of aid to NYC. Aid to other cities and towns will be held flat. Also: the plan calls for cutting aid from VLT money in half for next year. That means about $1.6 million less for the City of Saratoga Springs and about $500k less for Saratoga County (full numbers).

School aid: $585 million this year, $844 million next year

Higher Ed: $115 million this year, $233 million next year
The plan also calls for tuition increases of $600 at SUNY and CUNY schools (an increase of about 14 percent) -- that includes a $300 increase for the Spring semester.

Medicaid/Healthcare: $572 million this year, $1.2 billion next year
These cuts will come from, among other things, reductions in Medicaid reimbursement rates. The plan also calls for an increase in fees paid by health plans, which of course, means fees paid by all of us. With the cuts, spending on Medicaid is expected to increase one percent.

Other: $424 million this year, $514 million next year
A bunch of stuff gets tossed into the "other" category, including a 50 percent cut to "legislative programs," which you may know as pork (complete list -- includes cuts for places such as Saratoga Hospital and the Watervliet Arsenal). Also: an extension of the five cent bottle deposit to water and non-carbonated beverage containers. The state would also keep all the unclaimed money from the bottle deposit and put it toward environmental programs (the bottle industry will fight this hard -- it currently keeps that money). The other category also includes cutting $2.6 million intended for a research center at Albany NanoTech.

This is just a quick run-through of the Paterson plan. Here's a longer version. Here's quick breakdown of the numbers. The whole thing is posted here.

And, of course, none of this is a done deal. The Legislature still gets its say on the matter.

photo: Flickr user califrayray


Sounds like a good start. Now where will they find the other 75% of the shortfall?

When the sacred cows are done moo'ing, how much of this 'cut' will be left?

NY is in some deep sneakers folks.

New civil service employees are charged five "delayed" days already. One day per pay period is deducted, and at the end of the employee's tenure they recieve the five days at the pay rate at which they leave.

There's this chick who sits next to me in my community college math class who has a diamond encrusted cell phone and big gold plated earrings that say SeXXXy. She also has a fur-hooded coat and long fingernails with "$" sprayed on the very tips. I'm guessing she's a millionaire or an heiress or something. Maybe we should ask her for financial help.

They rip off whoever is vulnerable (eldery, students, state employees with their modest salaries who already have 2-week payroll lag) and yet will fund that unnecessary $22,000,000 "pork" reconstruction of Campus Center at SUNY.
I can't believe........

Vulnerable & ripped off? State employees? Seriously?

Amen to the extension of the bottle deposit to water and non-carbonated beverage bottles. That whole carbonated-only thing seemed kind of arbitrary. Maybe the extra money can be used to make sure bottle-return machines are actually in working order!

As a state employee, I don't really have a major issue with the extra week of pay being held until I leave state service... but the money will still need to be paid out to me and the thousands of other state employees at some point. It's purely a temporary bandage and doesn’t really save money in the long run.

However, also as a state employee, I have a few ideas of ways the governor could save the state some money. For example, there are plenty of state executives being paid way too much for doing way too little and spending ridiculous amounts of money on ridiculous things. If you ask me, the state could save a few million if they spent time reviewing “the work” the high salaried appointees are doing—and get rid of appointees whose contributions are purely image-based (all show no substance).

Somehow I keep thinking about this state budget problem. Anon makes some good points. I'd especially like to see all the "retired" state employees currently drawing income from NYS for "consulting" get canned.

It also occurs to me that the silence on the part of the cowardly lions we call a state legislature has been deafening, which in my opinion is making Patterson look better all the time even as he is forced to take some pretty unpopular actions. Way to be executive-y, Guv!

The state employee problem is large, complex, and touchy.

Before I worked at the state (as a contractor), my opinion of the average state worker was pretty low. After spending a few years working with them it got a bit more educated.

Compared to industry, there are more useless people clogging a system. Maybe 2x the average company with a few thousand employees. Get to a really big company with 10,000 or more and it becomes much more similar, but still worse.

The $ consumed by high level appointees doesn't even show up on the radar. Figure there are a thousand of them, each eating up $150k. That's $15M. That's nothing in a $12B shortfall (like .1%).

As in many situations a few bad apples make for a bad reputation. Sure, I saw a guy who came in @ noon every day, smoked at his desk (in 2005...) and generally sucked up otherwise good O2 for $70k/year. But I also saw a dozen who came in @ 7:30, left @ 4:30, and worked like dogs for half that. Sounds like industry with the exception that there is a much better acceptance of change in industry in my humble experience.

The reason the state hires 'consultants', both from the ranks of the retired (who, iirc, cannot collect pension while working as consultants, but that needs a fact check) and the rest of us who 'feed at the trough' is because it is limited from hiring real employees who are 'too expensive' once you add pension and benefits. Not quite sure how that math works sine all t consultants I worked with got pension and bennies from their employers...The economics of it are very short term.

Nevertheless there is an enormous amount of waste in various programs. Keeping children's services facilities open with 100% vacancy is crazy for example. Having agencies negotiate and buy things from vendors while OGS has already negotiated deals with those vendors is also crazy. Things like the purchase of a GMC Tahoe for every NYSP barracks was smart. Buying them all in 2 wheel drive was just a turkey move. How many local municipalities know they can buy things off the OGS state schedule and get far lower rates? Darn few.

Short version, there is enormous opportunity for optimization in state govt without goring too many sacred cows as long as everyone understands that the benefit is long term and might require reallocation of some human resources, which speaks to fear of change.

The protesters I saw on the news the other day, protesting any possible layoffs and any possible tuition increases really scare me. Where do these folks think the money is going to come from?

Why don't the high paid officials take a 10% pay cut until this crisis is over.

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