New York state faces a $4.3 billion budget deficit next year yet Gov. Hochul insists tax hikes and cuts in education and health care spending are off the table.
Correct on one front: Empire State taxes (and fees and tolls and so on) are already far too high.
But when it comes to the spending side of the ledger, the state can’t afford any sacred cows.
After all, the Budget Division projects the deficit to swell to $9.5 billion and $7.7 billion the following two years.
State spending jumped about 20% during the first two years of COVID — skyrocketing with little or no accountability.
Hochul’s budget director, Blake Washington, expects school aid will likely grow with inflation, or over 3% — at a time when statewide public-school enrollments are shrinking.
And he says state health-care spending will rise more than 10%, largely thanks to minimum wage increases and pay raises for home care workers mandated in the last budget.
Sorry: There’s plenty of fat in both categories.
New York’s per-pupil school spending is the nation’s highest, and vastly above the national average, without producing superior results.
And declining enrollments should see outlays dropping.
State health spending has long been through the roof, with Medicaid outlays (especially for home care) routinely two and even three times the per-capita spending of other states.
This isn’t about delivering for kids, the poor or the sick: It’s about all the players who prosper off of “helping.”
That includes not just hugely powerful unions for teachers and health workers, but a vast range of “nonprofits” that regularly spin off de-facto profits to those who control them.
And also for-profit entities that feed off New York’s absurd “economic development” programs.
All the handouts, subsidies and bribes to connected businesses do next to nothing to truly build the economy: Cutting red tape, repealing burdensome mandates, fixing litigation-inviting laws and getting New York’s insane energy prices under control would do far more to build the economy.
Lower taxes would be a huge help, too.
New York’s tax-and-spend addiction needs to end — or it will end up like any other serious addict, wasting away as a ravaged wraith of what it once was.