Thursday, October 30, 2008

New York State's Budget Gap


New York Governor David Patterson was in Washington this week testifying before Congress regarding New York State's projected 3.5 year budget deficit of $47 billion dollars. Egads.

New York State has long paid more in federal taxes than it gets back in aid from the Feds. While I agree in principle that the wealthier states should shoulder more of the financial burden than, say, Alabama, it is also ironic that it's the blue states who pick up the tab and are then held hostage by the red states' conservative politics. If pro-American is pro-rata, then Palin is on the wrong side of the fence. But I digress, which is understandable given that Tuesday is right around the corner. Thank god.

Back to my home state's woes. In 2007 New York state sent the Federal government a nice big fat check for $86.9 billion. What we got back from the federal government in return was a lowly rank of 40th in the nation in federal funding per taxes received. Of course, New York State would do well to take note that New York City paid $11 billion more in state taxes than it got back in state aid, essentially making all of upstate New York our welfare ward. Again, in principle I support the idea of the big guy supporting the little guy, but New Yorkers (the five borough kind) are constantly held hostage by New Yorker's (the rest of the state kind), so my enthusiasm for fairness is tempered every time things like congestion pricing get shot down. Like Western New York even has a rush hour (don't mind me, I can say things like that since I grew up in Buffalo).

All of which is to say, we have good reason to be freaked the frack out. Twenty percent of New York State's revenues come from Wall Street. Ditto for the city. And even the Wall Street Journal doubts Bloomberg is right for the self coronation job.

So when Patterson says he doesn't want to raise taxes, it's because New Yorkers already pay more in state taxes than all other states except one (that would be New Jersey, believe it or not). It's not the taxes, it's the inane New York State Legislature's spending spree that goes unchecked year in year out. If they manage to come back after the election and actually suck it up and cut spending, it would be a miracle of near biblical proportions.

Is there a way out? New York Magazine recently did a cover article on David Patterson that looks for some answers. None of which come easy.

Fiscal irresponsibility from all levels of government and capitalism have put us at risk. So I would like to take a moment to point out the most obvious, something that someone with piggybank blues knows all too well. Your budget-making abilities suck donkey derrier.


1 comment:

jiggy said...

I like the picture. it's got tragedy written all over it. And it's sure worth over $47 billion!