Assemblyman James N. Tedisco (R,I,C-Schenectady/Saratoga) today opposed a proposal introduced by the Assembly Majority for the state to borrow $2 billion to close New York’s $9 billion budget deficit. Tedisco cited financial experts as well as history in questioning the merit of the proposed state financial plan.
“It’s time that Albany comes to terms with the fact that you can’t borrow your way to fiscal stability,” Tedisco said. “Just as their supposed ‘deficit reduction plan’ was merely a ‘deficit deferral plan,’ this is simply a deferral of responsibility. Rather than making tough decisions now and facing the consequences at the ballot box, our state’s elected officials are merely borrowing time to get through the election cycle. Instead of making the difficult, but necessary, spending cuts to balance our state’s historic budget gap, they decided it would be easier to please the state’s powerful special interest groups. The losers here are the hardworking taxpayers of New York, who will once again have to finance the state’s borrowing addiction and will likely face catastrophic cuts in services after the November elections.”
Tedisco pointed to legislation he introduced that would make it more difficult for the state to borrow. His Truth in Borrowing Act will require public disclosure of estimated costs to appear on the ballot for a vote prior to the state taking on new debt. It would mandate that the state reveal the interest, payback period, and total cost. He pointed to the state’s 1990 sale of Attica prison to a state authority. The state then leased Attica in what was billed as $200 million in borrowing. To date, the state has paid $344 million and still owes $222 million in principal and interest.
“Fiscal experts, regardless of party affiliation, will attest to the dangers associated with incurring more debt,” Tedisco said. “According to Comptroller DiNapoli, New York’s $3,089 in debt per person is more than three times the national average. With those figures in mind, I cannot fathom how borrowing any more money can be seen as anything but disastrous. At a time when we are struggling to keep our children and grandchildren in New York, why are we saddling them with excessive debt?”