Budget Reckoning Nears

December 11, 2020

While weighing options to deal with the State’s $14.9 billion budget deficit, the Assembly and Senate announced this week that they will start the 2021 legislative session on January 6 and finish work by June 10.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has consistently said that without substantial Federal relief, he will have no choice but use the Division of the Budget’s authority to make massive cuts to State programs—including 20-30% cuts to Medicaid and education—and that increasing taxes should be a last resort. Governor Cuomo has held out hope that Democratic victories in Washington, DC, would lead to substantial aid, but uncertainty about control of the US Senate clouds the future.

Many on the Left have argued that the State must increase taxes to raise revenue. While a group of legislators and activists on December 10 called for Albany to “tax the rich,” Governor Cuomo this week said that such a move “gets you about, tops, $2 billion.” He also acknowledged that “we’re going to have to raise taxes at the end of the day in any event, but the question is how much in taxes.”

News reports this week noted that the Assembly and Senate majorities held virtual conferences to discuss whether to return to session this year to pass tax increases.