“On March 10 I participated in a meeting with Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch regarding his fiscal reform plan,” said Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,I,C-East Northport). “The discussion was candid, thorough – and sobering. New York is mired in a financial emergency not seen since the bleak days of the Great Depression. Our budget deficit will be at least $9 billion starting on April 1; it is projected to climb to $15 billion in 2011.
“We have an estimated $120 billion in accumulated debt according to a new report by the Citizens Budget Commission. Federal subsidies for Medicaid and education, the leading spending items in the state, are due to run out by next year. We cannot control these runaway deficits with the failed policies of the past. The lieutenant governor’s proposal was a good first step.
“I will not accept tax increases. Long Island families are saddled with some of the highest combined taxes in the country; they should not be asked to pay the bill for a decade of runaway spending in Albany. Public health care programs like Medicaid are financial ticking time bombs. Massive new unfunded liabilities cannot be erased through federal bailouts and clever budgetary tricks.
“As I have said consistently, the problems we face are real, and only serious attempts at reform, not more partisan politics, will get the Empire State out of this mess. Adopting Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in our budgetary process would be an overdue and necessary departure from the gimmickry of cash budgeting. Changing the budget timeline to conform to national standards also would prove beneficial, provided the Legislature works with municipalities to develop their budget schedules as well.
“I thank Lt. Governor Ravitch for his valuable input, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Assembly in the coming weeks to determine the right course of action in dealing with New York’s long-term financial restructuring.”