Avoiding Fiscal Reality In New York

You just can’t make this stuff up.

From the NYT:

Gov. David A. Paterson and legislative leaders have tentatively agreed to allow the state and municipalities to borrow nearly $6 billion to help them make their required annual payments to the state pension fund.

And, in classic budgetary sleight-of-hand, they will borrow the money to make the payments to the pension fund — from the same pension fund.

I’ve been straddling the fence between the austerity/don’t you dare do austerity now debate. The more of this I see, the more I believe that we can’t trust anyone at just about any level of government to ever commit to righting the fiscal ship.

They won’t even admit that they are borrowing money:

Those pushing the plan are taking pains to avoid describing it as “borrowing,” saying they are seeking to amortize or “smooth” pension contributions. That is in part because they have distanced themselves from a plan proposed by Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch that would have the state borrow as much as $6 billion for general operating expenses over the next three years in exchange for budget reforms.

“We’re not borrowing,” said Robert Megna, the state budget director and one of the governor’s top advisers.

Mr. DiNapoli, the comptroller, said: “We would view it more as an extended-payment plan.”

I know better than to ask this, but please, please don’t bail out these idiots with federal dollars when they finally come hat in hand.

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