Here's how it works. This year it is widely accepted and often reported that the state has a $10 billion "deficit" (I myself have often repeated this number). What does that mean? It is the difference between state revenues and the state's growth in spending in next year's budget.
The next question is: who is responsible for setting the growth in the state's budget? The answer is shockingly, no one. It is dictated by hundreds of rates and formulas that are marbleized throughout New York State laws that govern different programs -- formulas that have been built into the law over decades, without regard to fiscal realities, performance or accountability.