Budget Bluster

The Story

New York State has passed its budget nearly on time, thanks in part to a pay raise promised to legislators if they met the statutory deadline. The budget process was no less opaque than in the past, and it resulted in a $175 billion package of the usual pork and favors. But traditional Albany obstruction and log-rolling served at least one key purpose: it prevented progressives from enacting the most radical parts of their agenda.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Cars: Congestion pricing will be coming to Manhattan, but the plan’s details, including state control of the city’s streets, don’t indicate a slam-dunk win for New Yorkers. Read more.

  2. Pot: Marijuana-legalization efforts foundered on the demands of minority legislators for a cut of the profits—and the desire of suburban legislators to opt out. Read more.

  3. Crime: Thanks to bail reform, people arrested for nonviolent crimes will almost always be released, with a promise to return to court. Read more.

“The Legislature got in under the legal deadline for a new state budget—a $175.6 billion double whopper with extra cheese that leaves New York the second most profligate state spender in America, behind California.”

Bob McManus, City Journal contributing editor

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

“Budget gimmicks have become more prevalent in recent years, but they’re nothing new; rather, they’re one side of an ongoing tug-of-war between politicians trying to keep the spending spigot open and voters trying to impose fiscal discipline on them.”

And in other news...

“While the New York real-estate industry fretted about the potential impact of new state taxes on expensive real estate, the Manhattan residential market deteriorated further in the first quarter of 2019, as sales slumped to the slowest pace in six years.”