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New York State Economy

The Brian Lehrer Show

Rebuilding Resilience: Lessons Learned

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, appointed co-chair of the NYS 2100 commission to improve the resilience of infrastructure in New York post-Sandy, discusses her efforts and what New York can learn from other parts of the world that have suffered disasters.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Monday, March 19, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

We will listen to a spirited dialogue about New York’s future with Michael Kink of Strong Economy for All (SEFA) and Michael McKeon of the Committee to Save NY (CSNY).

Dr. Rick Timbs of the Statewide School Finance Consortium is leading a last ditch effort to reallocate more money to low-wealth schools in the state budget.

Editor Adam Lisberg of City & State New York joins us with analysis of last week’s deal-making, winners and losers, and a preview of the current edition of City & State.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Empire

Comptroller DiNapoli: higher sales tax receipts not a big step in the right direction

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has a new report out this morning on sales tax receipts from around the state. The good news is that sales taxes are bringing in more money, especially for local governments.

But as seems to be his want, DiNapoli cautioned yet again that what looks like a step in the right direction should be seen as a baby one--if that.

“The positive growth last year in sales tax collections are a good sign for the economy, but continued caution is warranted,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “New York’s economy has improved over the past two years, but growth has been sluggish and unevenly distributed throughout the state. The degree to which local governments depend on sales taxes varies, but it is an important source of revenue for many. As localities adjust to the property tax cap, more may turn to sales tax revenues to fill in budget gaps.”

Sales tax receipts were up just over 4 percent outside of the city, and just over 6 percent in New York City, from 2010 to 2011.

The Comptroller's office pointed out the significant spending that occurred after the tropical storms that ripped through the state last year as a driver for spending and thus taxes. The city upped its sales tax and started collecting taxes on clothing purchases over $110, according to the Comptroller's office, which help account for the jump there.

To illustrate the uneveness of the tax receipts the report pointed this out:

The strongest growth was in the Southern Tier where purchases of goods and services to rebuild and repair damage caused by Tropical Storm Lee drove an 8.6 percent increase. The weakest growth was on Long Island with a 2.4 percent increase.

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The Empire

The economic pain isn’t new, and neither are the politics in Montgomery County

Friday, February 17, 2012

Earlier this week the New York Times ran a big multimedia piece online about the growing need for government support in middle class communities. The piece was a two-fold argument. First, the social safety net isn’t just for poor people anymore. Second, the areas that are often receiving the most government support have representatives in government who come from the Tea Party side of the political spectrum.

The story was about the nation as a whole. But in the map graphic that accompanied the piece, something interesting is going on in New York State.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

The Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee John DeFrancisco talked taxes with Eliot Spitzer (!) on Wednesday in Syracuse during the Maxwell School’s Campbell Lecture. We’ll ask him how the former Governor is doing, as well as how the current Governor is doing, and whether he supports the budget, home rule, redistricting efforts and all manner of other stuff.

State tax revenues are on the rise again according to a new report out from Rockefeller Institute. Robert Ward, the Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Institute and long time government finance expert joins us with details.

And

Courtney Burke, the head of the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities gives us an update on the administration's reforms efforts, plus her take on an upcoming Court of Appeals hearing on access to records.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Empire

DiNapoli: State's economy has improved, but...

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Courtesy of CSPAN

A new economic report by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli shows a New York economy that weathered the financial crisis and recession better than most, but is far from in the clear.

The state regained 46 percent of its workforce since the recession. That makes us 16th among states in terms of recovery, and outpaced the national average by 34 percent.

But the report notes the recovery hasn't been broadly shared, with some regions lagging behind others. For example, Rochester has regained 98 percent of its workforce while Long Island has continued to lose jobs. And while unemployment claims have continued to fall, the unemployment rate has fallen less than a full percentage point since its peak and has flat lined over the past two months at 8 percent.

Here are the three key paragraphs from the opening of the report:

New York’s fragile economic recovery could be derailed by a number of developments. The European sovereign debt crisis could affect the banking and tourism sectors, which are important to the State’s economy. A spike in oil prices would consume a greater share of consumers’ disposable income, leaving less available for spending that ultimately creates jobs.

...

The securities industry, the State’s economic engine, lost $3 billion in the third quarter of 2011, and most large firms reported weak earnings for the fourth quarter. The industry has resumed downsizing in response to reduced profitability (4,300 jobs have been lost since April 2011), and cash bonuses will likely be smaller than last year.

After a strong first half of 2011, job growth in New York was markedly weaker during the second half of the year, raising concerns about the pace of the recovery in 2012.

The full report is viewable after the jump.

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The Empire

Comptroller Liu's prepared remarks at the executive budget hearing in Albany

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Comptroller Liu sees costs dropping in the future.

Courtesy of the comptroller's office/Paul Brumlik

Thank you Chairmen Farrell and DeFrancisco, and all the members of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee for this opportunity to speak today regarding the Governor’s Executive Budget proposal and the impact it will have on New York City’s finances.  I am joined here today by Jonathan Rosenberg, Executive Director for Budget at the New York City Comptroller’s Office.

At this time last year you were struggling to find ways to close a $10 billion budget gap.   To close such a large gap without doing irreparable harm to the citizens of our great state who rely on many state services for their health and well being was a significant undertaking. By reining in spending, the Governor and the legislature were able to correct the structural imbalance that had plagued New York State’s budget in previous years. You are to be commended.

A year ago I testified before you that New York City residents were more than willing to bear their share of the financial burden in order to right the State’s budgetary ship.  But I also noted that New York City residents should be treated equitably in comparison to our fellow state residents.  

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The Empire

Di Napoli warns tax receipts continue to fall behind

Monday, December 19, 2011

The State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office warned again today that New York's tax collection efforts continue to lag behind projections. According to DiNapoli, the state is nearly $72 million behind estimates.

“Financial sector downsizing, as well as lower profits and bonuses on Wall Street, may result in lower than expected state revenues over the next several months," the Comptroller said in a statement. "The Personal Income Tax (PIT) actions taken by the governor and the Legislature this month should reduce projected deficits in the near-term, but balancing next year’s budget will again be a struggle, and current conditions add risk to the upcoming state budget."

DiNapoli said his office was projected lower tax returns for the next two years. Governor Andrew Cuomo's office had projecting a shortfall of $350 million for the current fiscal year, and an additional shortfall of as much as $3.5 billion next year. The tax reform package put together earlier this month reduced the estimated shortfall by $1.9 billion.

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The Empire

Governor Cuomo hands out Regional Economic Council awards

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Courtesy of the Governor's office. ( )

Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state elected leader today handed out the first set of grants to the Regional Economic Councils as part of an economic proposal competition meant to help spur job growth throughout the state.

"The plans submitted by all ten regions were truly extraordinary,” the Governor said in statement. “For the first time, we are putting the power of the State Government behind the innovation of our people, giving them the tools to rebuild our economy."

All the regions received some form of funding, with a total of $785 million in grants for projects throughout the state. The four big regional winners were Central New York, the North Country, Long Island, and Western New York:

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The Empire

Assembly Minorty Leader Brian Kolb 'outraged' at Cuomo's stealth tax reform process

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Courtesy of the Minority Leader's office.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb continued to hammer the Cuomo administration and legislative leaders today after the whirlwind passage late last night of a major economic package that included a rewriting of the tax code.

Kolb called the process "egregious" after Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver crafted a deal behind closed doors that lawmakers were handed shortly before being asked to vote on the legislation yesterday.

"There was no reason to do this in this rush, in a 24 hour time period, not having bills be on desks for at least three days, not to have outside groups have their say about this, one way or the other," Kolb told Susan Arbetter during her radio program this morning. "And if you go through and still vote the way you do, fine. But at least have public discourse about it."

Media reports this morning focused heavily on how rapidly the Cuomo administration moved the legislation forward. The New York Times Thomas Kaplan captured the process this way:

The remarkably rapid progress of the tax revisions — without a single public hearing or town-hall-style meeting — provided the most striking illustration to date of Mr. Cuomo’s policy making strategy: information is tightly controlled, negotiations are carried out behind closed doors and the debate is limited to just a few people.

"Governor Cuomo said, 'I'm going to have the most transparent, open government under my watch,'" Kolb said in his interview. "This is not transparency. This is not good government."

The New York Public Interest Research Group's Bill Mahoney, who was the first to notice that the 33-page bill was made public a mere 26 minutes before the Senate was to vote on it, called the process "not good, to say the least" but tried to look on the bright side of things.

"The best I could say is that at least there were no surprises this year," Mahoney said. "In the past it has happened that an issue that hasn't been discussed at all appears minutes before session and they wind up passing it."

Mahoney said that the Governor has had some limited success following his promise to open up Albany, but that Cuomo's tax reform process left much to be desired.

"What we saw last night indicates that we still have quite a ways to go," said Mahoney.

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The Empire

Cuomo press conference on economic stimulus package

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Courtesy of the Governor's video archive. This took place late last night, after the Senate had passed the economic package, which included the new tax brackets. The Assembly did its work well after midnight.

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The Empire

Budget bill becomes public

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Below is what the Assembly and Senate will likely be passing at some point today. Please have a look and let us know if you find any gems or turkeys:

Bill One

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The Empire

Watch: Senate and Assembly Now in Session

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Updated: The Senate and Assembly special sessions are now underway, and you can play along at your desk!

To launch a (Real) player of the Assembly, click here, and you can watch a live-stream of the Senate here.

Liz Benjamin got a hold of the official proclamation below. As Liz points out, it's uncertain (trying to find out now) if the bill has even been printed yet.

img-Z06170232-0001-1

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The Empire

Tax deal numbers for individual filers reveal a true millionaires' tax

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

OK, since we found out late yesterday that the numbers the Governor put out were actually for joint filers, I've put together what they'd look like for single filers. (Thanks, again, to Jimmy Vielkind forproviding the raw numbers here.)

In a sense, the tax change will be a true increase on those individuals making more than $1 million a year. Basically the final numbers look very similar to the plan floated by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to replace the current upper-income tax surcharge that you see below with a higher, permanent tax on wealthy New Yorkers.

Again, as it stands today, yes, the Governor and legislative leaders are in fact lowering taxes for everyone. But without this reconfiguring, you'd have a drop back to levels that everyone--regardless of which bracket--would had in 2009, a tax break for everyone making $200,000 a year or more.

Now, those making up to $150,000 get a break at the expense, in some ways, of those making $1 million a year or more. In other words, New York State will now have a true millionaires' tax.

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The Empire

New York consumer confidence grows, but stays below this time last year

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

New York voters are looking on the brighter side of life, according to a new Siena Poll released this morning. Confidence rose by 3.1 points in November, with national confidence rising slightly higher at 3.2 points.

“As holiday lights brighten the season, and national economic indicators including jobs reports, stock market increases and early holiday spending offer cheer, consumer confidence rose this month for the first time since May,” Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, Siena Research Institute's founding director said in the release.

“Good news, but hold your reindeer. Although we see confidence gains among Democrats and older New Yorkers, the overall willingness to spend remains well below the point at which optimism simply equals pessimism and the index is nearly five points under where the state’s confidence was this time last year," said Lonnstrom. "New Yorkers continue to be more pessimistic about the current financial landscape than the rest of the country but are more, albeit not very, positive about the future than the nation."

New Yorkers are also feeling the squeeze on core goods. Check out the graphic below--people are struggling at levels not seen since the depths of the Great Recession, according to Siena:

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The Empire

Assembly Minority Leader Kolb not on board with Cuomo tax plan

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Elected officials, by and large, came out in support of the tax plan deal between Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb was not one of them. The upstate Republican blasted the measure as a tax hike, done behind closed doors and as a distraction from the issues New Yorkers needed real relief from:

From what has been reported in the media so far, the bottom line is that taxes are being raised in New York State and we are still not dealing with our state’s serious spending problem.  There is still no significant unfunded mandate relief for local governments.  We should be protecting taxpayers by capping local Medicaid costs, enacting a state spending cap and doing this through an open, public process where these issues are debated and discussed in the light of day, not through secret deals behind closed doors by three-men-in-a-room. Tax hikes have never been the answer for creating more private sector jobs and long-term prosperity for New Yorkers.  That still holds true today.

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The Empire

Governor Cuomo's op-ed on tax reform

Monday, December 05, 2011

The following was sent to newspapers for publication across the state:

New York needs to enact a bold, innovative economic plan and tax code reform to create jobs at this difficult time. To achieve that we will need bipartisan political cooperation and a plan the people of the State support.

I believe economic development, popular support, and political consensus must all be built on the same foundation: fundamental fairness.

Last year, when we were preparing the state budget, I exposed that the system was inherently biased against the taxpayer. The very definition of the State's budget deficit included statutory annual increases for individualized programs marbleized through the State's budget laws. In short, "deficit" meant the amount necessary to fund a 13 percent increase. The taxpayer didn't have a chance.

Our current tax system is also unfair.

I have posed the following question to Albany veterans, befuddling almost all: at what income level does the State's top personal income tax rate become effective? Answers range from about $100,000 to $1 million. Virtually no one guesses the correct answer: only $20,000 for an individual taxpayer; and only $40,000 for a two-earner family. So, in New York under the permanent tax code, an individual making a taxable income of only $20,000 pays the same marginal tax rate as an individual making $20 million. It's just not fair. While New York's earned income tax credit, child care credit, and high standard deduction help working poor families, New York has left the middle class with an undue burden which also hinders our economic recovery.

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The Empire

Cuomo's Evolution: Gov talks grand economic plans, but won't say 'No new taxes'

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Courtesy of the Governor's office.

On Fred Dicker’s show today, Governor Andrew Cuomo was aggressively questioned by Dicker on the details laid out in a Wall Street Journal article this morning about a possible grand tax code restructuring. Dicker tried every angle to get the Governor to say whether elements of a continuation of the so-called “millionaires’ tax” would be part of the restructuring.

Cuomo wouldn’t bite. He continued to argue that whatever plan he comes up with for closing the estimated $3.5 billion budget gap next year will be built on a broad economic program rather than a budget calculation.

“We're not going at this as a budget exercise," the Governor told Dicker. “In the past the exercise has been how do you close the gap--how do you fill the hole? This is an economic problem not a budget problem: How do you create jobs in the state, at a time when you have this national economy and the national current is running against you?"

As we’ve noted in the past, the Governor was reported to be looking for a way to “evolve” on the millionaires’ tax issue. Cuomo is a Big Idea guy. And this is one of those Rahm Emanuel-esque moments where a crisis can turn into an opportunity—at least for Cuomo.

That’s surely one of the reasons why Cuomo refused to say raising taxes was off the table. In a sense, it’d be pure Cuomoian genius: present a broad plan for improving the economy, partly through restructuring a (perceived) antiquated tax code, which will undoubtedly provide pro-business incentives, while “expanding” the tax base. This could mean many things, but most likely would incorporate some form of higher-income increase, without ever mentioning the words “millionaires’ tax.”

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The Empire

Regional Economic Council presentations continue today

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today is day two of presentations. The New York City council will be making it's pitch today at 2:30 pm.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011:

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council – 9 a.m.
Capital Region Regional Economic Development Council - 10:30 a.m.
Central New York Regional Economic Development Council - 12 p.m.
New York City Regional Economic Development Council - 2:30 p.m.
Mid Hudson Regional Economic Development Council – 4 p.m.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011:

Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council - 8:30 a.m.
North Country Regional Economic Development Council – 10 a.m.
Western New York Regional Economic Development Council - 11:30 a.m.

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The Empire

Cuomo talks tax cap in new video

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Governor's office released a video today of Andrew Cuomo speaking directly to New Yorkers about the tax cap enacted earlier this year in Albany.

In his message, the Governor touted the work he and state legislators did to enact the cap. The video below comes a week after business and government groups called on state government to pass a series of mandate reliefs to help ease the burden of a tax cap.

A number of local governments are trying to get budgets passed that override the cap. The governor appears to be pushing voters to directly engage local governments to justify their spending and to see the cap as a tool for voters.

If you want to raise taxes, you can raise taxes. If you want to lower taxes, you can lower the taxes. If you want to live within the cap, or be below the cap, it's all your choice; but you decide, the people decide, not the politicians, that's the way it's supposed to be. ... I urge you to be there when your local government's budget is being debated. Attend the school board meetings. Ask your elected officials about their spending choices, talk to them about the cost of the bureaucracy and inefficiencies, ask them if their community should consider consolidating with other communities or sharing services to find economies of scale.

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