Local Finances in New York State

New York’s State Comptroller has issued a report on local government finances that sounds a strong alarm.

Local governments across New York State are collecting less in taxes, burning through their cash reserves and running up deficits.

Differing visions emerge of where this leaves local governments, and the state:

As he has in the past, [Comptroller] DiNapoli urged local governments on Wednesday to embrace multiyear financial planning and to resist fiscal trickery as they seek to balance their budgets in the short term. The report said that poor record-keeping and other questionable accounting practices were serving, in some cases, to mask the extent of the governments’ financial distress.

But Richard L. Brodsky, a former assemblyman who was a writer of a recent report on the troubled finances of Yonkers, said cities that had improved their financial planning and forsaken gimmicks found that within the next few years, they would be unable to close their projected budget gaps.

Mr. Brodsky predicted that “New York will see what California has already seen,” with localities simply unable to make the budget math work.

“You’ve got an unsolvable problem,” he said, “which logically takes you to the consequences of that, which are bankruptcy, bailout or control board. That’s where the mayors are. That’s the conversation they’re having.”

Read: N.Y. State Comptroller Warns of Perilous Local Finances – NYTimes.com.