Wow. Newly elected governor Andrew Cuomo D-NY) exposes the budget scheme politicians have engaged in for years in New York. I wonder how much of these games are played in other state capitols and in the Federal government. Thank you for exposing this, governor. Read on.
This year it is widely accepted and often reported that the state has a $10 billion “deficit” (I myself have often repeated this number). What does that mean? It is the difference between state revenues and the state’s growth in spending in next year’s budget.
. . .
These formulas (predominantly in education and Medicaid funding) are often inserted into the law by pressure from well-connected special interests and lobbyists.
When a governor takes office, in many ways the die has already been cast.
. . .
The 13 percent increase this year is close to a state secret. I spoke with numerous experienced Albany hands who had no idea the programs increased 13 percent.
In Albany speak, “deficit” means the amount needed to fund the 13 percent increase (as opposed to a normal rate of increase). For example, if one assumed these programs would increase at the rate of inflation (instead of 13 percent) the $10 billion deficit is really a $1 billion deficit.
A “cut” is then defined as anything less than a 13 percent increase. By forcing the debate to start with such a large hike, the final budget ends up spending much more than the year before — even after the Governor attempts “cuts.”
For example, what is called a 7 percent cut in spending is actually a 6 percent increase over the prior year. The expression used to explain this budget process is that the rates are in “permanent law,” and thus, cannot be changed.
“Permanent law” is a term to suggest differentiation from the state’s annual budget bills which are “temporary” as they only exist for one year.
This “permanent law” is really the way the “permanent government” of lobbyists, special interests and political friends manipulates the entire system and misleads the public in the process.