BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — A state budget crisis is looming, and taxpayers will be seeing red.
New York State is facing the largest budget deficit in years of more than $6 billion.
7 Eyewitness News senior reporter Eileen Buckley met members of the Western New York delegation to find out why it’s so high and what’s at stake.
“This affects everybody, and it matters to everybody. The gap needs to be closed,” said Patrick Gallivan, state Senator.
The state issued a mid-year financial report and Governor Cuomo is blaming the rising cost of Medicaid for putting the state in red.
Republican Senator Gallivan says the state spends $60-billion a year of state taxpayer money on Medicaid.
But the senator also blames the cost of raising the minimum wage for the deficit.
“If that was paused, that would address it in some way shape or formal,” Gallivan noted.
“I think this is coming home to roost for the governor,” remarked Chris Jacobs, state senator.
Fellow republican senator Jacobs calls the deficit a "crisis" and says the governor's budget is irresponsible.
“There’s some things that the governor's done as far as giving sweeteners to certain public groups that have supported him, passing a minimum wage increase and not realizing as wages go up - it's going to impact health care,” Jacobs remarked.
The president of the Citizens Budget Commission, Andrew Rein, is highly critical of how the state plans to try to stop the budget bleeding.
“The governor’s proposal is one-part gimmick – which is basically just keep rolling two billion dollars – paying those bills late, so it looks like things are solved, but it really just papers over the problem. And one-part delay – saying well the other half of the problem – we’ll tell you later how we are going to solve it,” Rein said.
We also reached out to democratic state Senator Tim Kennedy’s office, but as of Wednesday, we did not receive a response.
The Cuomo Administration implemented a global cap on Medicaid in 2012.
The state's budget office issued the following statement:
“When this administration implemented the Medicaid Global Cap in 2012 to rein in years of unsustainable spending, we curbed costs to meet it. With increased utilization and medical inflation nationally creating a structural imbalance, the Division of the Budget and the Department of Health are once again developing a cost-curbing plan that will be described in the Executive Budget to be introduced in January and continue high-quality care for more than six million New Yorkers.” –Freeman Klopott, spokesman, New York State Division of the Budget.
You can access the mid-year budget update at this link.