New York State needs to end its reliance on non-recurring revenues, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a report on government finances for fiscal 2013.
While the state’s fiscal position was better than forecast following the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, DiNapoli said that the gain in revenue over what had been anticipated came from items that will not be repeated.
“New York State endured significant challenges last year, including the second most expensive storm in American history, but was able to close the books with a slightly higher balance than expected in the latest projections,” DiNapoli said. “The spending restraint shown in recent budgets has helped to keep the state in the black. Nevertheless, tax revenue has fallen short of initial projections for six years in a row. While we have benefitted in the short run from a number of non-recurring revenues, relying on such resources does not bode well for the long-run.”
In June 2012 ING Bank, through the Manhattan District Attorney, gave $150 million to New York in a one-time settlement, according to DiNapoli’s office. In September 2012 Standard Chartered Bank gave the state a $340 million settlement. The state general fund ended the year with a balance of $136 million over the latest projections.
“Without the two non-recurring settlements totaling more than $490 million, the state would have needed to take other actions, such as reducing or delaying spending, using reserves or available fund sweeps, or raising other revenues,” wrote Mark Johnson, DiNapoli’s deputy press secretary.
Tax collections ended the fiscal year on March 31 at $66.3 billion. This was $378 million higher than February’s projections but $70 million, or 0.1%, less than initial projections. Tax collections rose by 3.1% from fiscal year 2012.
The state’s general fund ended the fiscal year with a balance of $1.61 billion. This was $177 million or 9.9% less than its balance at the end of fiscal 2012. However, it was $136 million more than had been projected at the last financial plan update.
DiNapoli also reported that there was general fund spending (including transfers to other funds) of about $59 billion. This was 4.4% more than the same period last year.
By comparison, all funds spending, as compared to fiscal 2012, declined 0.3% to $133.1 billion. This was primarily due a $1.1 billion decline in local assistance.