In January, Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed a bloated $217 billion state budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year that the comptroller’s office indicated contained various budget gimmicks, including “billions of dollars allocated to broadly defined purposes with little or no specificity.”
Hochul’s budget is to be balanced using billions in Federal COVID relief dollars that will not be replenished. Hence, her reckless spending will create serious fiscal problems in the post-election years and will put the state on the road to financial insolvency.
While Hochul’s original proposal took care of most special interest groups (i.e., teacher unions), it wasn’t enough for Democratic legislators who have an insatiable appetite for political swag.
As a result, the New York Post bellowed, “Albany returned to the bad old stinky ways of passing a budget.”
The budget was negotiated in secret with the infamous “three people in the room”—the governor, Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader.
Due to political bickering, the budget was not passed on time. It was eventually approved in the middle of the night a week after the new fiscal year began on April 1.
And the final product, laden with political fat and questionable non-budget items, pushes spending to a record-breaking $220 billion; 18 percent higher than in 2020. (The Empire Center for Public Policy reports the state will be spending $6,987 per second.)
Hochul surrendered to the far left on most items to secure money for the biggest financial boondoggle in recent history: the Buffalo Bills stadium deal.
some $600 million of state funds have been allocated to subsidize the building of a new stadium in Erie County, which is coincidentally where Gov. Hochul resides.
This is an irresponsible expense to buy off voters in Western New York and will be the poster child for corporate welfare for years to come.
Contrary to claims, it is not an investment that enhances the local economy.
An analysis published by the Cato Institute reported “the presence of pro sport teams in 37 metropolitan areas in our sample had no measurably positive impact on the overall growth of real per capita income in those areas.”
Baltimore’s Camden Yards, for example, has generated about $3 million a year in economic benefits but cost Maryland state taxpayers $14 million annually in debt service payments.
The fact that sports facilities have proved to be a poor investment explains why wealthy team owners are not willing to fork over their own money to build them.
“Publicly funded stadiums are, at best, an inefficient investment of taxpayers’ dollars for the meager benefits produced,” said the National Taxpayers Union in a 2007 study. “At worst, [they’re] massive payments to rich team owners and players at the expense of ordinary taxpayers.”
On another front, Hochul caved in to the health care union and will spend $7.7 billion for pay raises to the home-health industry.
Also, the budget extends to 2029 the $500 million annual subsidy to film production studios.
And the Empire Center reports state public employee unions received an incredible election year gift: “There is a partial rollback of successful, decade-old public employee pension reforms that saved taxpayers about a billion dollars a year…. [T]he budget reduces vesting periods from 10 years to five and cuts contribution rates in some cases.”
As for Hochul’s bail law changes, they are merely marginal—good for political commercials but not for the public.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams was very disappointed that judges were granted only a little more discretion when setting bail. “I think we have a lot more to do,” he said.
New York City’s PBA president, Pat Lynch, complained the revisions are “political window dressing that won’t do much to change the reality on the streets.”
The Detective Endowment Association leader declared: “No mandatory for gun possession, which the DEA supports, means more shootings. Judges must be allowed to consider prior convictions and recidivism.”
Hochul’s Democratic primary opponent, Congressman Tom Suozzi, summed up the election year giveaway budget thusly: “Instead of using this opportunity to lower taxes, reduce crime and make New York more affordable, Kathy Hochul showed her inexperience by botching the budget process and saddling New Yorkers with billions more in spending, including the biggest tax giveaway in NFL history to build a new Bills stadium.”