In order to address the $6.1 billion budget gap that looms over New York in 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t need to wait for the legislature.
He doesn’t even need to wait until January, some say.
“This governor has more authority under law now to control spending in a variety of ways, than any of his predecessors,” according to E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for State Policy. “He can unilaterally reduce payments to hospitals. He can impound aid in all forms.”
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It’s something David Friedfel of the Citizens Budget Commission refers to as “super powers.”
“The Department of Health and the Division of the Budget have something called 'super powers’ when it comes to Medicaid spending," he said. "They have the ability to cut reimbursement rates and make some other cuts without going to the Legislature."
While they didn’t use their super powers last year, it doesn’t mean they won’t. McMahon thinks the departments may act.
“To some extent, they’re going to have to,” he said. “They’ve kind of hinted at it, more than strongly, in this financial plan update. But even at this late point in the fiscal year with barely one quarter left in the fiscal year, they haven’t disclosed what exactly they’re going to do.”