Municipal analysts and raters of bonds are waiting with "bated breath" for the revised New York fiscal 1992 financial plan, which may already be $155 million out of balance.
That plan for fiscal 1992, which began April 1, is scheduled for release on Oct. 30 by the state's Division of the Budget. Budget officials have declined to speculate on what those numbers may be.
But last week, state Comptroller Edward V. Regan released a report showing a $155 million shortfall in a roughly $29 billion general fund budget.
After adjustments and transfers with other funds, the comptroller's report says the state spent $88 million more than budgeted -- primarily for Medicaid expenses -- and took in $55 million less than expected in tax collections, with the personal income tax showing the greatest falloff.
"We have all been waiting with bated breath on" the midyear report, said Nicole D. Anderes, a vice president with Roosevelt & Cross Inc. "Basically, this midyear plan is an important milestone to look for" because it usually indicates how the fiscal year will end.
Last October, the comptroller released a report saying the state faced a $246 million budget shortfall. Later that same month, the division of the budget announced the state's projected budget gap was $824 million. That projected gap was closed by a series of cost-cutting measures in a special legislative session last December. However, the gap was pried open again in January.
The latest news from the comptroller's office is further compounded by the continuing economic recession in the region. For example, the New York State Department of Labor last week released a revised review of employment figures for the state and New York City. The revised statewide and New York City Numbers are 79,200 and 53,800 lower, respectively, the report said.
"These revisions indicate that the recession in New York and most other large states has been more severe than previously believed," the report says, adding that against last year, nonfarm employment was lower by 276,200 or 3.4%.
Referring to when the state's budget was finally passed in June, Ms. Anderes said, "We have had a four-month hiatus, and my sense is that the budget problems are going to start all over again."
Offering a more cautious review of the comptroller's numbers, Mark Tenenhaus, vice president in Dean Witter Reynolds Inc.'s municipal research department, said: "If $155 million is what the deficit is, that is not actually earth-shattering." But he added there is still not enough information to make a clear assessment of the state's budget.
George Leung, vice president and managing director with Moody's Investors Service, said, "We are going to have to look very closely at the mid-year update and the assumptions in the budget." He noted the rating agency will closely study any further job losses and their impact on personal income tax collections.
Hyman Grossman, managing director with Standard & Poor's Corp., said, "We continue to be disappointed with the economy." He noted that as he has traveled around the country, he has noticed many states continue to see tax revenues -- especially taxes sensitive to the recession -- slump.
He said the state's revised plan due next week "is not going to make or break a rating, but it is an update of where the economy is going and how difficult the fiscal 1993 budget will be."