DiNapoli: Other Factors Need to be Weighed for Surplus, Deficit Projections

One week after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on WCNY’s "The Capitol Pressroom" that a $2 billion surplus was possible if the next budget stays under a 2 percent spending cap, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli sounded cautious in his take on the extra cash.

“The governor’s assumption moving forward is spending will be capped to a lower level than is currently anticipated,” DiNapoli said on Thursday’s show. “Spending is projected at about 3.8 percent. He’s talking about keeping it at 2 percent. … If it happens--big if--that could in fact account for having more resources than we currently have.”

The comptroller was also asked whether a $2 billion surplus is possible when a $1.7 billion deficit is projected, even though the state has kept spending below 2 percent for three straight budgets.

“The arithmetic has to add up,” DiNapoli said. “There are other factors that will go into how we end this year, (and) whether or not there will be a surplus.”

Among the factors he cited are the Medicaid waiver pending at the federal level, the state of the economy and end revenues, which DiNapoli said are a touch lower than anticipated, though spending is also lower.

“I think there are still many more details we need to look at before we know what the hard numbers are, and see the specifics of which of those tax proposals that we were offered from the commission, which ones the governor will set as a priority.”