I don't know how NJ is doing but NYS is in financial trouble.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — One of the biggest fallouts from Superstorm Sandy could hit New York state taxpayers hard.
Tax collections were $170.8 million below expectations in October before the storm hit New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley on Oct. 28, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's review of tax revenues showed.
That gap is based on estimate revisions made in July. October's revenues were more than $259.8 million below the estimate in the budget adopted in April.
The storm disrupted businesses for weeks, and many could take months recover while others may never reopen. That saps tax revenue from businesses and incomes. At the same time, the state's costs are increasing for unemployment insurance payments for 50,000 workers put out of work by Sandy and for rising social services for victims.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the overall cost of property and economic loss will be $30 billion from Sandy in New York. Cuomo has asked for full reimbursement of that cost from the federal government, but that's more than the Federal Emergency Management Agency has for the whole country. Congress could also cut FEMA funding as it seeks a budget deal in Washington.
For New York taxpayers, it will likely mean further strain on taxes and fees and reduced spending on some programs. A year ago, Cuomo and the Legislature raised income taxes $1.9 billion to balance the current budget.
This week, DiNapoli called for action now in the budget due April 1.
"Tax revenue estimates should be revised downward," DiNapoli said. "Adjustments should also factor in the additional costs from Hurricane Sandy. As recovery efforts continue, realistic projections are critically important for the state to effectively manage its available resources."
In other findings, DiNapoli reported:
— Tax revenue growth was estimated to be 3.1 percent for the year, while October's tax growth was just 1.5 percent.
— Spending by the Cuomo administration, however, was also down. It was $612.3 million lower than anticipated.
— This year, at least before Sandy hit Oct. 28, was trending better than a year ago. General fund receipts were up 3.4 percent in October over the same month last year.
One question, What party runs the state?
NYS Implication: Pretty interesting development in Albany. Even Democrats don't trust themselves with responsibility at the statewide level. Governor Andrew Cuomo is pretty-much on record saying that he would rather have a Republican controlled state senate because Republicans know how to get things done.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/28/ny....html?hpw&_r=0
Top Breakaway Democrat Favors G.O.P. Coalition in State Senate
By THOMAS KAPLAN
November 27, 2012
Jeffrey D. Klein has been taking calls from labor leaders and rank-and-file state senators. He ate pasta with the Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, a Republican from Long Island. And he sat down, he said, to “clear the air” with the minority leader, John L. Sampson, a Brooklyn Democrat.
For three weeks, Senator Klein has been at once a sought-after and resented man in Albany. When the State Legislature reconvenes in January, he could hold the Senate’s fate in his hands: he leads a breakaway faction of four fellow Democrats who are poised to negotiate a power-sharing agreement with the Senate Republicans.
The exact makeup of the Senate will not be known until the last ballots are counted in two still-unresolved races. But regardless of the outcomes, only a seat or two will separate the two parties, and Mr. Klein is pushing for what he described as a “bipartisan coalition,” made up of his breakaway foursome and the Senate Republican caucus, to control the Senate.
“I think we can actually show that our democracy in New York State does not have to be chaotic,” Mr. Klein said in an interview in his district office in the Bronx on Tuesday. “It could work, Democrats and Republicans working together to get things done.”
Democrats emerged from Election Day claiming to have won a majority in the Senate — which had been controlled by Republicans — but their chances at running the chamber have diminished.
The Democratic candidate is leading in one of the two unresolved races. But the other Democratic candidate who held a narrow lead on Election Day, Cecilia F. Tkaczyk of Schenectady County, has been overtaken by the Republican during ballot counting that is not yet complete, leaving the outcome in doubt.
One Democratic senator-elect, Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, has already said that he would support Republican control of the chamber.
Mr. Klein has largely stayed out of the public eye since the Nov. 6 election left control of the Senate in dispute. But in the interview, he made clear that the independent Democrats were not interested in reuniting with their colleagues behind a Democratic Senate leader. Democrats had a majority in the Senate in 2009 and 2010, when Mr. Klein was deputy leader, but their control of the chamber was hampered by an embarrassing coup and infighting.
“We can’t go back to the days of dysfunction,” Mr. Klein said. “We can’t go back to the days of relying on every single Democrat to get things done, ignoring the other side completely, jamming through a legislative agenda which doesn’t have bipartisan support.”
Mr. Klein formed his Independent Democratic Conference in January 2011 with three others: David Carlucci of Rockland County, who at 31 is the youngest member of the Senate; Diane J. Savino, a former labor activist who represents parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn; and David J. Valesky of the Syracuse area.
Mr. Klein outlined a system in which the leaders of the Republican caucus and the Independent Democratic Conference would work together to run the Senate, with joint control over committee agendas, the bills that are taken up on the floor and state budget negotiations.
The “time has come for coalition government,” Mr. Klein said. “On the political end, it’s always going to be close in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans. So it just makes sense to have some type of coalition government to remove the politics — the constant hyperpartisan bickering — and get things done in a bipartisan fashion.”
Democrats and some liberal leaders have accused Mr. Klein of wanting nothing more than to amass power for himself.
But Mr. Klein said that was not his motivation. He wants his group “to be influential, yes, but influential on policy,” he said — and he rejected the suggestion that he was somehow betraying Democrats. “We’re not empowering a Republican majority; we’re talking about a coalition government,” he said, adding, “I consider myself a very good Democrat.”
Mr. Klein, noting that same-sex marriage was defeated when Democrats controlled the Senate and then approved under Republican control, said he believed that a coalition government would also have a better chance of passing legislation sought by liberals, like an increase in the minimum wage, an overhaul of campaign-finance laws and reproductive-health measures.
Senator Michael N. Gianaris, a Queens Democrat who led his party’s campaign effort, disagreed.“The only way that the truly progressive agenda can be enacted is with a real Democratic majority,” Mr. Gianaris said.
“Senator Klein’s career has been one that has been true to Democratic values, and I would hope that we would find a way to come together in the best interest of the people of the state, because on issue after issue, it’s the Senate Republicans that have stood in the way of progress, and that’s not going to change,” he added.
But Republicans, who are eager to retain control of the Senate in a state where Democratic voters dominate the electorate, have embraced the independent Democrats. Senator Skelos described Mr. Klein as a “serious and effective legislator.”
“Together, we’ve ended the dysfunction in the Senate,” Mr. Skelos said, adding, “I expect to continue working with him to deliver the bipartisan results New Yorkers need and deserve.”
National Implication: I've always felt that conservative Republicans are more competent at the local/state level of government than Democrats. It should be the Republican Party's goal to win control of as many state legislatures, state attorneys general, and state governorships as possible. They should keep the each state collectively a wide sea of Republican office holders in every elected position possible.
It's the Republicans strength. It's the Republicans advantage over Democrats.
Republicans already have control of the US House and they should easily be able to have control of the US Senate. Just look at the 2012 Presidential election results by county. And when they get control of all of these offices they need to keep them!
The voting in urban area swing states means the every-four-years Presidential election Electoral College is lost cause for Republicans.
Albany is corrupt through and through, and knows no party lines.
Businesses continue to leave NY in droves due to heavy taxation and massive beauracratic waste and delays.
I don't know that I have seen enough of Cuomo v2.0 to conclude if he is fiscally conservative but I am hopeful.
I always thought I would retire in NY, but I highly doubt that now.
The Electoral College is a lost cause for Republicans.
Republicans need to expand their control nationally by having majorities in state legislatures, state attorneys general, and state governors. They already have control of the US House and they should target control of the US Senate.
All very easily doable for Republicans since the country on a whole is fiscally conservative (states have to balance their budgets-can't print money like the Fed can) and very effective to coutneract a likely Democrat in the White House.
CA dumazz, Taxes are to high, cost of living and no jobs. Who did you vote for Gov, and Prez? Napolitano and Obama! Me SMFH and walking away!!!!
And things here might be changing. Democrat run cities in NYS like Yonkers and Syracuse are in financial trouble so they come to the Capitol requesting assistance. Unlike his fiscal liberal father former Gov Mario Cuomo, fiscal conservative Gov Andrew Cuomo turns the cities requests down.
Which underscores the political point that fiscal conservatives thrive at the local and state level. Voters respond positively to Governors who balance budgets and lower taxes and Republicans are much more fiscally conservative than Democrats. If Republicans run on a fiscal conservative message in their respective states they win elections. And if fiscal conservative Republicans occupy most elected positions across the country (below Pres/VP) they have won the national political debate as to the size and role of government in our lives. Long before the every four year Presidential election happens.
In 1997 when former Democrat President Bill Clinton stated "The era of big government is over." he did so because Republicans forced him - they had him cornered. Republicans had control of the US House and the US Senate. I believe they also had a majority of state legislatures and governors at the time.
It should be the permanent goal of the Republican National Committee to win and keep as many state level elected positions as possible using a fiscal conservative campaign message. It's there for the taking, Democrats can't compete.
Another NYS Democrat state senator is leaving his own party to join the Republicans. More proof that Democrats just don't trust Democrats when it comes to responsible government. And even more proof that Republicans should focus on occupying every elected state level position in every state in the Union. Democrats just can't compete.
State Senator Defects, Joining Group of Dissenting Democrats
By THOMAS KAPLAN
December 4, 2012
A Democratic state senator from Queens defected from his caucus on Tuesday and joined a group of dissenting Democrats who are seeking to reach a power-sharing agreement with the Senate’s Republican majority.
The move by the senator, Malcolm A. Smith, a former leader of the Senate Democrats who has sought support from Republicans for a possible run for mayor of New York City, further diminishes the chances that Democrats will be able to assume control of the Senate in January, despite appearing to have won a numerical majority in last month’s elections.
Mr. Smith will become the fifth member of the Independent Democratic Conference, which is led by Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, a Bronx Democrat. The conference is pushing to form a coalition with the Republicans, who have held a narrow majority for the past two years, that would give the Republicans and the independent Democrats joint control of the chamber.
A spokesman for Mr. Smith, Hank Sheinkopf, said the senator had decided to join Mr. Klein’s group in an aim “to create coalition government which will get things done.” The senator’s decision was first reported on Tuesday by The New York Post.
“Senator Klein and Senator Smith are both interested in policy issues, and they hope to be part of organizing the Senate in a way that deals with significant issues that the state faces,” Mr. Sheinkopf said. “But Malcolm Smith will not become a Republican.”
The Senate Democrats released a statement criticizing Mr. Smith’s decision, although without mentioning him by name.
“Those elected as Democrats should respect voters’ clearly expressed intent and sit with the Democratic Conference to implement important progressive goals like standing up for women’s health, passing real campaign finance reform, raising the minimum wage and enacting common sense gun laws,” a spokesman for the Senate Democrats, Mike Murphy, said. “Anything less would be a disservice to the people of our state.”
Mr. Smith and Mr. Klein previously served together in the Senate Democrats’ leadership. When Democrats took control of the Senate in 2009, Mr. Smith was elected majority leader and Mr. Klein served as his deputy, although Mr. Smith lost his position as part of a coup that paralyzed the chamber later that year.
Mr. Klein formed his breakaway group of Democrats at the start of 2011 in part because of what he decried as chaos when the Democrats were in the majority. Mr. Sheinkopf cited the tumultuous period in explaining Mr. Smith’s decision.
“Senator Smith certainly understands what can happen when the Senate doesn’t function, because he lived through the coup in 2009,” Mr. Sheinkopf said, “and he wants to make sure that nothing like that ever happens again.”
Mr. Smith’s defection is the second from the Senate Democrats since Election Day. Senator-elect Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat, said last month that he would align himself with the Senate’s Republican caucus upon taking office in January.
...more disappointing NYS news.
Superintendents say many school districts will be insolvent in 4 years
Superintendents offer bleak outlook for state
BY: Barbara O'Brien
Half of New York State’s school superintendents think their school districts will run out of money within four years, and 70 percent believe they will not be able to fund required programs within the same period, according to a new survey.
“The only thing that surprised me is that districts thought they could last four years,” said Sloan Superintendent James P. Mazgajewski. “Where that money is coming from, I don’t know. I know the situation we’re in.”
The recent survey of the state’s school chiefs by the New York State Council of School Superintendents rings true.
Sloan is one of only two school districts in the state to operate on a contingency budget this year. That was good news for taxpayers, because instead of the proposed 1.5 percent increase in the tax levy, new state rules demanded taxes remain the same.
But school officials are worried that with runaway pension increases and other costs, the Sloan district won’t be able to continue operating much longer without raising revenues.
If nothing changes, it is just a matter of time before every school district is faced with gut-wrenching decisions on what to cut, the superintendents said.
Superintendents also are talking about educational insolvency: the inability to fund all the instructional and other student services required by state and federal laws and regulations. Nineteen percent believe their districts will reach educational insolvency within two years, and 54 percent believe that point will come in four years. Another 5 percent say they cannot fund state and federal mandates today.
The survey is representative of superintendents throughout the state, according to Robert Lowry Jr., deputy director of the superintendent’s council. If accurate, that would mean about 60 school districts could be financially insolvent by 2015.
This is the second year the council has surveyed superintendents, and 40 percent, or 249 superintendents, submitted complete responses to the lengthy questionnaire. Another 47 completed some, but not all, of the questions. Big city superintendents and BOCES superintendents were not included.
Lowry said state policymakers need to either properly fund districts so they can follow the rules, or change the rules.
“We haven’t seen significant mandate relief,” he said.
That may not be likely soon, particularly in light of state resources devoted to recovering from Superstorm Sandy, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s rant this fall about local officials complaining about mandates.
“You know what I want? Mandate relief from the federal government, and when I get it, I’ll pass it along,” Cuomo told reporters in October.
Then there is the Mayor Bloomberg. Another douchebag!