DeStefano Comments on Beginning of State Budget Process with Passage of Debt Service Bill

Today, the Assembly took up the first of its 10 budget bills, the debt service bill, which is necessary to make legally required payments related to the sale and servicing of debt by the state as well as contractual debt agreements with public authorities and agencies.

The debt service bill, A.8802, passed today and authorizes a $3 billion payment towards the state’s outstanding debt, which is estimated to total $64.4 billion in FY25. The comptroller has projected debt service is going to consume an increasing share of state spending over the next five years, leaving fewer cash resources available for other spending needs.

“As per usual, the state budget deadline is being overlooked. Gov. Hochul preemptively extended it until April 4 (A.9668), citing the desire for New Yorkers to spend the holiday weekend with family. While I empathize with this sentiment, I maintain we could have met the April 1 deadline had the budget process been initiated much earlier.”

“Throughout the four-day extension period, our hard-working state employees will continue to receive their rightful compensation. Notably, the State Employee Payroll amounts to $213.5 million, whereas Unemployment Insurance Benefits stand at $180 million—this proximity in numbers highlights the deteriorating employment landscape in New York, an issue I hope to see addressed in the enacted state budget.”

“The budget process is undoubtedly flawed. It’s not a situation we should resign ourselves to; rather, it demands substantial reforms. Procrastination and delays are concerning enough, but it’s the absence of transparency and propensity for excessive spending that truly undermine our efforts to revitalize the state. If we aim to retain residents, attract workers and support families within our state, we must undertake a comprehensive overhaul of the budget process.”