Has the state looked in the couch cushions?

Thumbnail image for tattered dollar billNew York State had to scrape together enough cash to cover all its bills at the end of 2009, according to state comptroller Tom DiNapoli. The comptroller said on December 31 that it was looking like the state's general fund (its short term cash) account would have a negative balance for the first time in "recent history." He blamed last year's state budget and said "New York dropped the ball." (David Paterson sort of echoed DiNapoli's comments.)

Toward the possibility of holding on to the ball in the future, the Empire Center -- a conservative think tank -- released a report today called "Blueprint for a Better Budget". It includes a bunch of interesting facts and details if you're wonkishly inclined. But this line caught our eye:

If New York had budgeted at the national per-capita average in 2008, it would have spent nearly $32 billion less.

That's about $1,641 less per person.

Earlier on AOA: The state budget gets bigger and bigger and...

photo: Flickr user califrayray


This report actually has some substantive proposals. However, for all 30 of their ideas I could name at least one major interest group that would rule the day by lobbying the legislature and planting billboards on I-90 asking why the governor hates old people/the poor/schools/etc. That's the way things are in NYS.

I accept that tough decisions need to be made in the state budget process, and that no one wants to make them. And I'm sure there are some good ideas in the budget cutting proposal. I just hope that the proposal does identify what we lose by cutting the funds, like how many more people will be uninsured. Also not a big fan of cutting state land purchases.

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