ALBANY — The coronavirus pandemic could blow a $7 billion hole in New York’s expected tax revenues, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli warned Tuesday.
DiNapoli estimated that there would be between $4 billion and $7 billion in lost revenue, considering the worsening economy and potential for a recession in the coming fiscal year.
The tax-revenue projection calculated in January was $87.9 billion, but DiNapoli said that given the stock market’s volatility and sharp declines, even the $7 billion loss estimate could be higher.
He said new restrictions on such things as businesses will contribute to the ongoing economic nosedive.
The state’s budget director, Robert Mujica, said he wants to do a “flexible” budget, allowing for revision later in the year.
“You’ll have to do a budget that has flexibility,” Mujica told reporters in Albany at a press conference.
“We need a budget that’s in place that gives us the ability to hold payments back,” he said.
Gov. Cuomo acknowledged, “Right now, our revenue projection is so bad.”
The Big Apple estimates a $3.2 billion drop in its own take by October.
Meanwhile, state lawmakers are packing to return to Albany on Wednesday, after a last-minute cancellation of the legislative session Monday.
Two lawmakers tested positive for the virus over the weekend, causing the closure of the state Capitol to the public. Most legislative staff have been told to work from home.
But the pols are operating under a time crunch, given the state’s April 1 budget deadline.
Fiscal watchdogs, including the Citizens Budget Commission, warned Cuomo and lawmakers, who are eager to pass an early state budget, that they should shy away from raising taxes and nix all controversial policy items.
“It doesn’t make sense to bog down the budget document with extraneous things right now,” said CBC top researcher David Friedfel.
He said the lawmakers should wait a week before solidifying a document for the next fiscal year.
“There’s an advantage to waiting another week or so, just to get a better sense of what the impact will be, and also to get a better sense of what the federal package will be,” he added, as New York expects federal relief.