At City & State‘s “State of Emergency” event Thursday, former Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch gave a keynote address outlining the problems facing the state’s local governments. It was a sobering assessment, as Ravitch blamed both state officials and the private sector for extending a long game of “kick the can” by borrowing money from unsustainable sources.
“[New York] continues to borrow money, whether we borrow from the pension funds to make pension contributions, whether we borrow from our state insurance funds rather than raise taxes, whether we go to all kinds of steps to avoid dealing with the fact that the fundamental problem, in my view, is we have a revenue insufficiency problem,” Ravitch said.
Ravitch added that in order to continue to provide essential services, the state and private sector will have to start making some tough choices.
“If we want to keep all the promises that we made, and if we want to continue to provide the level of services that this society has decided through its political process that it wishes to provide over a long period of time…we’re just not ready to pay for it,” he said. “And we have devised ways of deferring those obligations with the full complicity of all the professional and financial groups and institutions that benefit from these actions that enable us to kick the can.”