October 1, 2004
State spending rising at three times inflation, Comptroller Hevesi reports
State spending in New York rose 32 percent from 2000 to 2004, an increase that was three times the rate of inflation, Comptroller Alan Hevesi reported.
The state's debt is also increasing rapidly, the Comptroller said in releasing two reports on the state's finances and economic trends. Outstanding debt rose nearly 20 percent, to $47 billion, in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2004.
"New York State is missing the opportunity to responsibly plan for its financial future," Comptroller Hevesi said. Consequences include rising debt, job creation that lags many other states, and fiscal problems for local governments, he said.
Some of the spending increase since 2004 reflects new federal funding for redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, Medicaid and other programs. Spending from the state's own taxes and other revenues rose 23 percent from 2000 to 2004, more than twice the inflation rate.
Public health and education make up the largest areas of state spending. In fiscal 2004, the state spent an average of $1,893 per resident on public health, $1,530 on education, $471 on public welfare, $364 on government operations, $260 on transportation and $261 on public safety.
Taxpayer spending on Medicaid and the number of beneficiaries showed "significant growth" in 2003, the comptroller said. Medicaid costs rose 11.6 percent, or $3.3 billion.
Family Health Plus, the state's new program for adults who do not qualify for Medicaid, has also grown sharply. Some 400,000 residents were enrolled in the program at the end of 2003, with more than 70 percent of those in New York City.
Comptroller Hevesi's press release, with links to the new two reports, is available here.