The coronavirus has disrupted our daily lives in ways large and small. New Yorkers continue to follow the latest updates on its impact and the precautions necessary to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities against the virus.
Circumstances and information about the virus change on a daily basis, but it is imperative that we continue to fund the services and programs all New Yorkers rely on. That is why my office has been at work assessing the coronavirus’ financial implications for the state budget.
This week, my office presented to the Governor, as he requested, an estimate of how the coronavirus is impacting tax revenues. We estimate that revenues could be $4 billion below the projections of the Executive Budget. We cannot rule out a more severe recession, however, or additional stock market declines, which could lower the outlook for tax revenues significantly more.
We have entered a new economic reality. No one knows how long the situation will last, but we must prepare to meet the financial challenges it poses for New York right now and in the future. We will need to maintain our vigilance over the state’s fiscal health just as we do over public health.
The state’s pension fund also faces challenges. Financial markets remain in turmoil as we near March 31, 2020, when we calculate the fund’s year end value. Fortunately, our state’s retirement system is well-funded. I want to assure the more than one million men and women, who rely on the state pension fund for retirement security, that we are well-positioned to weather the ongoing volatility. To our retirees, your pensions are safe and we will continue to pay your benefits as promised.
We take a conservative approach to investing, focused on sustained, long-term results. For some time, we have been making adjustments in expectation of a downturn in the economy. We are actively managing through these difficult times and are confident the markets will ultimately recover.
My staff continues to carry out the office’s responsibilities. We are expediting contracts and payments to ensure that purchases of emergency equipment and services can get to where they are needed quickly.
New Yorkers have a reputation for strength in times of crisis and that resilience has been on display in the last few weeks. The number of coronavirus cases may grow, but the better we all are at reducing opportunities for the coronavirus to spread, the sooner we will put it, and the changes it has forced into our lives, behind us.