Assemblyman James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today announced that he will introduce legislation aimed at curbing the use of “one-shot” revenues in the budget process. Tedisco’s bill will require a two-thirds majority vote before the state can utilize non-recurring or one-shot revenues to balance a budget. Tedisco said such a measure was necessary to confront the state’s flawed budget structure.
“New York State must put an end to imprudent fiscal practices that make about as much sense as paying your mortgage with a credit card,” said Tedisco. State leaders would have us believe we have a revenue problem when we in fact have a structural spending problem. Rather than making the difficult, but necessary, decisions to cut spending year in and year out, the legislative leaders continually patch together budgets that rely on gimmicks like one-shot revenues. Years of living beyond our means have led to the steady deterioration of the financial ship of state.”
Tedisco pointed to several examples of non-recurring revenues that have been used in attempts to balance budgets. Last year, in the so called Deficit Reduction Plan, the state raided $391 million federal education dollars targeted for 2010 and gambled on a tax amnesty program guaranteed to generate $250 million in revenue. Unfortunately, those federal dollars will be sorely missed during this year’s budget and the tax amnesty program has only generated $25 million so far. The Governor has also delayed payment of over $500 million in 2009 tax refunds. Deferring those payments into the 2010 fiscal year may help to balance the books now but it creates a huge imbalance for next year.
“A week ago, I stood up on the floor of the Assembly Chamber to challenge the Majority’s plan to borrow $2 billion to balance this year’s budget. This latest borrowing scheme will leave a gaping hole in the 2011 budget and may surpass one of the state’s most notorious examples of irresponsible one-shot revenue and borrowing – the 1990 sale of Attica prison to a state authority. In that deal, the state leased Attica in what was billed as $200 million in borrowing. To date, we have paid $344 million and still owe $222 million in principal and interest. My legislation will curtail the use of these budgetary gimmicks and will force the Governor and legislative leaders to craft a fiscally responsible budget based upon reliable revenue streams.”