New York State is quickly becoming the next California, as tax revenues drop 36% from 2008 levels, and a dejected governor expressing his frustration with policy measures that continue to not bear fruit. As a reminder the state most reliant on the financial sector, is struggling with a $2.1 billion budget deficit that is still looming despite tax increases, federal aid and spending cuts.
New York State’s income tax revenue
has dropped 36 percent from the same period in 2008, Governor
David Paterson said, “frustrating” his attempt to close a
projected $2.1 billion budget deficit.
“We added personal income tax, which we thought would make
the falloff 10 percent to 15 percent,” Paterson, a Democrat,
said on CNBC today, referring to $5.2 billion in new or
increased taxes. “This is what is so frustrating. It’s still 36
percent, meaning our revenues fell more in 2009 than they did in
The budget will still be $2.1 billion in deficit because
spending plans exceed revenue projections, the state Division of
Budget said July 30. The report predicted deficits of $4.62
billion in 2011, $13.3 billion in 2012 and $18.2 billion in
The Governor, who has recently had a major falling out with President Obama, may be in even more hot water as hopes for major tax windfalls from corporate taxes vanish due to generous NOLs established during last year's financial collapse:
“We are Ground Zero for the economic recession,” said
Paterson. “What we’re recognizing now is what everybody
recognizes in their own portfolio: you can’t overinvest in one
area because, if it fails, you’ll have a debacle.”
New York is depleting its options for balancing the budget,
“What we want to do is bring the legislature back as soon
as possible and make the tough decisions,” Paterson said.
Alas expenses tend to be much "stickier" than revenues, meaning that even much more drastic cost cutting will likely still leave the state at the mercy of Federal handouts. And if California's IOU experiment is any indication, Paterson may want to promptly get on the President's good side before he is forced to ask for much needed assistance.
Also, another issue that is not receiving much airtime is the continued dire straits that New York's MTA finds itself in. From the most recent status update: "the program has a funding gap of $9.9 billion despite a large increase in State aid and a 56 percent increase in anticipated federal funding, which may not materialize. In the absence of additional aid, the MTA plans to fill the gap with debt, but debt service would then rise rapidly and increase pressure in the future to raise fares and tolls." Yet another aspect of the state economy that is intimately linked with well-bid debt markets, which in turn track the equity market tick for tick, explaining once again how much the administration has staked on a stock market that, miraculously, is not allowed to leg lower by any material amount. However, as long as analyst actions, such as today's by Goldman in which it effectively upgraded itself, continue to drive markets, the plan to keep equities at untenable and fundamentally unjustified levels, will be viable to keep the economy running. Even if it is based on smoke and mirrors.