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New York’s budget basics
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), New York’s total expenditures in fiscal year (FY) 2021 were $186.6 billion, including general funds, other state funds, bonds, and federal funds. NASBO reported that total expenditures across all states in FY 2021 were $2.7 trillion, ranging from $4.7 billion in Wyoming to $512.8 billion in California.
Each state allocates spending and taxes differently among different levels of governments, and local governments often administer programs with state funds, so combined state and local government data show a more complete picture of individual benefits and contributions when comparing states.
Per the US Census Bureau, New York’s combined state and local direct general expenditures were $304.9 billion in FY 2019 (the most recent year census data were available), or $15,667 per capita. (Census data exclude “business-like” activities such as utilities and transfers between state and local governments.) National per capita direct general expenditures were $10,161.
New York’s largest spending areas per capita were public welfare ($4,067) and elementary and secondary education ($3,845). The Census Bureau includes most Medicaid spending in public welfare but also allocates some of it to public hospitals. Per capita spending is useful for state comparisons but is an incomplete metric because it doesn’t provide any information about a state’s demographics, policy decisions, administrative procedures, or residents’ choices.
New York’s combined state and local general revenues were $327.9 billion in FY 2019, or $16,848 per capita. National per capita general revenues were $10,563. New York uses all major state and local taxes. After federal transfers, New York’s largest sources of per capita revenue were individual income taxes ($3,509) and property taxes ($3,178).
New York’s politics
Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, assumed the office in August 2021, following the resignation of former Governor Andrew Cuomo. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo was elected in 2018 with 60 percent of the vote. The next gubernatorial election is in 2022.
Democrats control both the Assembly (105 Democrats to 43 Republicans and 1 independent) and Senate (43 Democrats to 20 Republicans), with veto-proof majorities in both houses. Control of the governor’s mansion and each house of the legislature gives Democrats a trifecta in New York. The entire legislature is up for election in 2022 because both members and senators serve two-year terms.
New York’s budget institutions, rules, and constraints
New York uses an annual budget. The legislature must pass a balanced budget, but it can carry a deficit over into the following year. There are no further tax and expenditure limits in New York. There are limits on total authorized debt and debt service incurred by the state.
(Note: Some states have informal budget institutions that constrain overall spending growth or a specific expenditure’s growth.)
New York’s current budget
New York enacted its FY 2022 budget in April 2021. The enacted budget included $208.9 billion in total spending and $112.2 billion in state operating spending. (New York’s general fund includes spending that NASBO categorizes as “other state funds,” so the historical totals reported below are lower. See NASBO’s report for more detail.)
Under the American Rescue Plan, New York will receive $12.7 billion in direct state fiscal aid and $9.9 billion in local government aid from the federal government. As of January 2022, New York had spent part of its ARP funds on revenue replacement.
According to NASBO, New York’s recent expenditure totals (general fund spending/total spending, including federal transfers) were:
FY 2021: $74.1 billion/$186.6 billion
FY 2020: $77.5 billion/$173.0 billion
FY 2019: $72.8 billion/$170.9 billion
For more on New York’s budget, see
New York’s economic trends
New York’s per capita income (per the Bureau of Economic Analysis) was $76,415 in 2021, ranking third among the states. It was above both the national average of $63,444 and the Mideast regional average of $71,946. The state’s median household income (five-year estimate) was $71,117 in 2020, ranking 14th among the states and above the national average of $64,994. New York’s poverty rate was 13.6 percent in 2020 (five-year estimate), above the national rate of 12.8 percent.
Although New York’s averages tell a story about the entire state, New York is composed of diverse localities. For example, the city of Jamestown’s median household income was $34,767, and its poverty rate was 28.5 percent; the city of Garden City’s median household income was $186,607, and its poverty rate was 2.9 percent.
New York’s unemployment rate historically tracks the national average. (See how COVID-19 is affecting state employment and earnings data.)
Unemployment rates (like other economic indicators) often vary significantly by race and ethnicity. In New York, the average unemployment rate in 2021 was 6 percent for white residents, 10.1 percent for Black residents, and 9.5 percent for Hispanic or Latino residents. (This is preliminary data. See the 2020 data for a more detailed breakdown of state unemployment rates by race and ethnicity.)