State spending decreased 1 percent $1.3 billion— in 2012 compared to 2011, but it has grown 15 percent since 2008—double the rate of inflation, according a report released today on New York’s financial condition. All told, spending for 2011-12 fiscal year, which ended March 31, was $6,859 per New Yorker, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office found.
But the state has made progress in aligning spending and revenue, DiNapoli said in the report. The state has taken steps to curb spending and growth in the three most costly areas—Medicaid, school aid and agency operations—and implemented an annual cap on the property-tax levy, but challenges still remain, he said. The state faces projected budget gaps of $982 million in the 2013-14 fiscal year, $3.6 billion in the 2014-15 fiscal year and $4.4 billion in the 2015-16 fiscal year.
“State policy decisions in the past two years have made budgetary balance a primary goal, but challenges still remain,” he said in a statement. “The challenge is to build on the progress made and put New York State on a truly sustainable fiscal path.”
The state has borrowed $17.2 billion since 2008, which includes $3.8 billion in the 2011-12 fiscal year, the report said. As of March 31, 2012, outstanding state-funded debt was $3,253—6.4 percent of personal income—and New York was fifth among all states in debt per person. In 2011, New York was the second most indebted state after California and had almost twice as much debt as the third most indebted state, the report said.
Other findings in the report are:
—Medicaid costs increased to $41.4 billion in fiscal year 2011-12, up from $32.8 billion four yeras ago.
—New York spent the most on public elementary and secondary education per student—$18,618—for the 2009-10 school year.
—Public health and education spending total 68 percent of all state spending.
—New York relies more heavily on the personal income tax for revenue than most other states. In 2011, the income tax as a percentage of total taxes was 53.3 percent in the state compared to the national average of 33.9 percent.