Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
February 25, 2008

Assembly Minority Announces State Revenue Forecast
Call for shared sacrifice and bi-partisan cooperation to
close the state's looming $5.1 billion budget gap

Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today announced his Conference's projected state revenue forecast for the 2008-09 fiscal year. The aggregate two-year difference - for fiscal years 2007-08 and 2008-09 - between the Governor's and the Assembly Minority Conference's estimates totals $315 million less than the Governor: $113.8 million less for fiscal year 2007-08 and $201.5 million less for fiscal year 2008-09. This difference brings the Assembly Minority forecasted deficit to $5.1 billion, compared to the Governor's forecasted deficit of $4.8 billion.

"It's been said that New York State has a spending problem - and it does. But now, due to an economic slowdown that has especially impacted Wall Street, we can add a revenue problem to that equation, as we have projected that the state's budget deficit will be $5.1 billion. This is a troubling development that should concern every single New Yorker worried about our state's fiscal future," Tedisco said.

"Our Conference's revenue forecast is decidedly less optimistic than the Governor's.

While reasons for the differences between the Governor's forecast and ours are numerous and complex, the conclusion is relatively straightforward and simple: now, more than ever, state government needs to practice fiscal restraint and focus on the needs of the people and not the wants of elected officials. This means reducing spending, which is only possible when there is shared sacrifice and bi-partisan cooperation, never an easy thing during an election year, but New Yorkers deserve nothing less than our succeeding on this critical task," Tedisco stated.

This forecasted deficit of $5.1 billion, combined with nearly $54 billion in outstanding debt, represents a serious threat to New York's long-term fiscal stability.

As required by State Finance Law, if the Governor and the Legislative Leaders cannot reach a consensus on available revenue by March 1, then it falls to the State Comptroller to make this decision in the form of a binding revenue forecast by March 5.

"In November of last year, our Conference called it right when we predicted mid-year state revenues of approximately $4.8 billion. Even the Governor recognized this when he revised his forecast along the lines of what we had anticipated," Tedisco said.

"Going forward, our Conference is hopeful that when the other legislative conferences make public their respective forecasts, it will be along the lines of what we have projected, recognizing the centrality of fiscal restraint and resisting the perennial temptation to add more spending. It is incumbent upon all of us to reach a realistic consensus so the budget process can move forward in a bi-partisan manner that is reflective of New York's true fiscal situation," Tedisco concluded.

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