New York delays tax refunds after a long history of fiscal irresponsibility

From the article, “NY tax refund checks not in the mail” (The Business Review), with emphasis added:

New York state has temporarily stopped issuing income tax refund checks, hoarding money to help the state pay more than $14 billion of bills due this month.
Refund payments will not resume until April 1…
State law caps the amount of refunds paid from January through March every year at $1.75 billion.
This year, for the first time in a decade, Gov. David Paterson lowered the cap to $1.25 billion to preserve the state’s cash flow. The state hit that lower cap on March 12…[Governor David] Paterson has warned for a few weeks now that the state lacks the funds to pay all of its estimated $2.2 billion of bills due this month, which include everything from Medicaid reimbursements to benefits for state workers.

Happy days in Albany, for sure.
Albany’s fiscal irresponsibility
Since 1999, total government spending in New York State has risen from $62.2 billion to $112.5 billion — an 81% increase– as shown in the chart below.

Granted, due to inflation, a dollar in 1999 was worth more than a dollar in 2010. Despite that, even when counting inflation, state spending has increased by 47% in the past 11 years.
But state population has gone up since 1999; shouldn’t that make things look better? Sadly, no; spending per person in inflation-adjusted dollars has still gone up by 43% since 1999. (Source:
Final scary number: total public debt has gone from $76.56 billion in 1999 to $123.04 billion in 2010.(Source:
The verdict: New York State is spending 43% more per person today than it was in 1999, and has increased its total debt by 61% in the same time span. For those that have lived here in that time period, would you say that living conditions in New York State today are twice as good as they were in 1999, since our combined spending and debt obligation has roughly doubled? I doubt it.
In layman’s terms: Imagine you were earning $50,000, spending $50,000, and had a $40,000 mortgage. If, eleven years later, you were earning $90,000 a year, spending $90,000 a year, and had a $74,000 mortgage, would you say you were on the path to success?
Only someone from the Albany legislature could say “yes” to such a question.

Read More