This summer, I have spent most of August traveling with my family to many parts of New York State, and beyond, visiting with friends and family, including the grandparents’ in Pawlet, Vermont. I have been traveling to small towns Upstate New York for many years, and it’s pretty frightening to see the changes that have taken place in just the last three years. Many of those small towns are spiraling down in a really bad way. Once busy retail strips are now deserted. For sale signs have cropped up all over the place, for both residential homes and businesss. When I speak with people in those towns, they express a lot of fear as jobs and friends are disappearing.
I mention this because the New York State Budget Division says that unless the Legislature acts, New York State’s budget gap will reach $4.6 billion by the 2010-2011 fiscal year, more than double the $2.2 billion gap officials predicted in April. With revenues from personal income taxes down 35% from last year and sales tax collections down 6% for the state, this does not paint a pretty picture going forward. It will be interesting to see how our elected in Albany plan on fixing this mess after the elections. Whatever happens it’s not going to be pretty. Many upstate residents I spoke with all seem to have the same fear. That the jobs will continue to disappear and that they may lose the homes that they cherish. Despite the recent claims that the recession is ending, it seems in NY State, it’s just beginning.