Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that his administration is working closely with the Legislature on revenue forecasts and the upcoming state budget process. That’s the important thing—not that his office and the Assembly and Senate have missed deadlines for the state’s “Quick Start” budget process. Quick Start was adopted in 2007 to reform the process and help prevent more late budgets.
Cuomo’s Division of the Budget released its revenue forecast Monday, two weeks after it was due. The state has a mid-year budget gap of $350 million and could have a deficit of up to $3.5 billion for the 2012-14 fiscal year, which begins April 1. The Senate and Assembly majorities have not released their reports. A consensus revenue forecast for the governor and Legislature was due Tuesday, according to the Quick Start timeline.
Robert Megna, Cuomo’s budget director, said the administration is waiting for the legislative majorities to release their reports.
Cuomo said he is “amused” by reporters’ questions about not following Quick Start.
“The concept of working closely with the Legislature so that you can ‘facilitate’ a budget on time, that’s what we’re doing and that’s what we have been doing. One of the successes of last year was a productive working relationship with the Legislature, and that exists today,” he said.
He said Quick Start is “probably an oxymoron in the first place.”
“We are working very closely with the Senate and the Assembly. We’re talking almost on a daily basis about numbers, about projections, about possibilities,” the governor said.
This is a critical time for the state because Wall Street firms are starting to announce their bonuses, which the state relies heavily on for revenues.
Cuomo said the state’s problems are more economic than budgetary. How to close a gap is a “relatively easy question,” he said.
More difficult questions are, “How do you jump-start the state’s economy? How do you create thousands of jobs at a time when the national economy is against you?” he said.