New York's budget is balanced, and the way is finally clear for the state to sell $3.9 billion of notes so cash-trapped localities can receive badly needed aid, the state comptroller says.
After reviewing the state's fiscal 1992 budget, which included Gov. Mario M. Cuomo's $940 million in veto-imposed spending cuts, Comptroller Edward V. Regan announced on Monday evening that the spending plan was balanced.
The comptroller, however, did not ifficial certify the budget because he is still waiting for the governor to sign the Wein Statement, a document that states the governor believes the budget is balanced. Certification of the budget is expected to be completed when Gov. Cuomo delivers the signed document sometime this week, a spokeswoman for the governor said yesterday.
And lawmakers who disagree with the governor's actions are not expected to cause a ruckus and roil the market before the pricing of the tax and revenue anticipation notes, tentatively set for next week on Tuesday, June 18. The state's Local Government Assistance Corp. plans to sell $450 million of revenue bonds the same week.
The comptroller said he expects to close on the note borrowing on June 21 and send checks out the same day to local school districts.
"Our review was limited to determining overall balance soley for the purpose of conducting the annual borrowing, and we have determined that the plan, as submitted, has sufficient receipts to meet planned disbursements," Mr. Regan said in a statement. "In addition to our review, we will require the customary written certification as to balance from the governor and the director of the budget."
The announcement followed Gov. Cuomo's release of $940 million worth of vetoes in the $51.9 billion state budget for fiscal 1992 passed last week.
Lawmakers can try to override the vetoes, but a Senate source said they are more likely to try bargaining with the governor. In any case, he said, they plan to keep a low profile until after the note ssale.
"We don't want to put too much froth on this broth," he said.
Due on April 1, the budget was woefully delayed as legislators wrestled with the governor's proposed spending and revenue proposals.
The impasse also prevented the state from selling the notes, which in turn forced local governments and school districts to borrow money to cover cash-flow needs. Last week, a state budget official estimated that the delay cost the state and local governments and school districts $255 million.
After Mr. Cuomo released the revised budget, it was sent to Mr. Regan for review and for certification, a required step in preparing for the note sale.
Mr. Cuomo Said, "We're pleased that the comptroller, who had previously indicated that the budget adopted by the Legislatur had a 'significant' deficit of 'up to $1 billion' finds the state budget to be balanced following the exercise of my vetoes.
"We will now work with the comptroller to speed the spring borrowing so that we can make state aid payments to school districts and local governments," he added.
Proceeds from the $3.9 billion Trans sale, which will be sold through a negotiated offering with Merrill, Lynch & Co. as senior manager and book runner, will be distributed as local aid. About $2.8 billion of note proceeds will be sent to upstate school districts and $1.1. billion in school aid to New York City.
The city will also receive an additional $400 million in school aid on June 28 from the proceeds of the Local Government Assistance Corp. bond sale. The corporation was created in 1990 to eliminate the need for a "spring borrowing" by gradually bonding out the notes. As a result of the bond sale, the state will authorized to sell only $3.5 billion of notes next year. If there is another corporation bond sale, the volume of notes would be reduced again.
With the state's note borrowing schedule now in place, the city will probably not have to sell $2.5 billion in revenue anticipation notes, as it said it might have to in order to roll over $2.5 billion of revenue anticipation notes coming due on June 28.
"Assuming the state transaction goes smoothly" the city will cancel the note same said Philip R. Michael, director of the city's Office of Management and Budget. Although a bill was submitted to the Legislature two weeks ago calling for amendments to state laws barring the city from rolling over short-term debt into the next fiscal year, no action has been taken on it yet.
And the city is not out of the woods yet. Gov. Cuomo's vetoed about $328 million in gap-closing measures that the city had included in a $3.5 billion fiscal 1992 gap closing plan.
With three weeks to go before the end of the city's fiscal year and the deadline for a city budget, city officials are reviewing alternative gap-closing plans and are also watching to see if any money comes from the state Legislature and the governor resolving their differences over the budget.