From the NY Times:
New York State faces long-term budget problems that are compounded by the teetering finances of its local governments, an aging infrastructure and the possibility of severe cuts in federal funding, a panel of fiscal experts said Tuesday.
The State Budget Crisis Task Force, a nonpartisan group, said that New York’s problems had been “papered over with gimmicks” for decades, and that while Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had taken some steps to rein in spending, the state was still saddled with burdens that would leave it unable to make ends meet in the long run. Over the past decade, the report said, New York had postponed a reckoning by using one-time measures to produce $25 billion in revenue.
Former Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch, a co-chairman of the group, said the math spoke for itself. “There are expenditures that are growing at a rate faster than revenues,” Mr. Ravitch said. “As long as that happens, then we are on an unsustainable course.”
A report released on Tuesday by the panel, which was also led by Paul A. Volcker, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve, offered a sobering assessment of the state’s finances, raising concerns about its outsize spending on health care and education, its vulnerability to the ups and downs of Wall Street, and the struggles of its local governments to pay retirement obligations.
As one major area of concern, the report highlighted the state’s enormous Medicaid budget, which is larger than those of Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas combined. The report said that while the Cuomo administration had put in place a cap on annual increases in health care spending, it was not certain the measure would drive down costs over the long run.