New York State is drowning in debt – with a tax burden among the very highest in the nation. The cost of living is driving young people out of the state. Real economic growth has been lacking and policymakers have relied on corporate welfare under the guise of ‘economic development’ that ends up doing more to encourage corruption than growth.
A Debt Free New York in 15 Years
New York State has nearly $70 billion in debt — that’s more than every state in the union except California. The average debt per person is $3,100 — nearly three times the median of all states. The massive sum of interest paid on this debt doesn’t benefit taxpayers. It’s not used to repair one road or pay one state trooper. It is time to right the trajectory of this State’s finances, and put this government on a path to retire all state funded debt within 15 years — an extraordinary task, given the magnitude of our infrastructure needs.
Zero Based Budgeting
We will implement Zero Based Budgeting, a method in which all expenses must be justified each new fiscal year. Zero-based budgeting starts from a “zero base,” and every function within the State will be analyzed for its needs and costs. This will not only serve to reduce costs, but will also allow for real innovation within various service delivery agencies.
Truth in Borrowing
For half a century, Governors and legislators in both parties have been guilty of using public authorities to hide debt. State authorities are not accountable to the public. We will prohibit their borrowing without voter approval at the ballot box.
Transparent, Focused Budget Making
For years the State’s budget process has been used to strong arm passage of controversial policy riders. The budget process should be about taxes and spending – not about forcing legislators into approving policy prerogatives in exchange for a lawmaker’s particular spending priorities.
An End to Unfunded Mandates
Albany forces the costs of the most generous Medicaid program in America onto counties, who impose it on local property taxpayers. That’s the reason we have the highest property tax rates in the nation. As a management principle, as a budget principle — hopefully as a constitutional principle — we need to put an end to all unfunded mandates. The State should allocate resources to counties for providing State-mandated services, or should provide those services directly.
No other State administers its Medicaid program as haphazardly as ours. In nearly every other State, the Federal government pays half of the bill for Medicaid and the respective State pays the other half. But in New York, the State shift half of its share of the program costs onto counties. In many counties, more than 3⁄4ths of our property tax revenue is used to pay for Medicaid. Albany must liberate local property tax payers of these untenable burdens.