Budget Call Letter Asks for Zero Growth from State Agencies

Dear Agency Commissioners:




September 17, 2012

Robert L. Megna

Director of the Budget

Over the past 21 months and with your help, Governor Cuomo eliminated a cumulative budget gap of $77 billion without raising taxes. He accomplished this by taking a series of difficult but necessary actions that have kept spending growth under strict control while delivering the quality core services that New York’s citizens demand. The Governor is committed to keeping spending growth to two percent or less over the course of his Administration as we continue the difficult task of eliminating our remaining structural deficit and providing the strong fiscal framework that will return New York to economic preeminence.

Continuing efficiencies in government operations will be achieved through ongoing measures, originally recommended by the SAGE Commission, to streamline and consolidate government operations through a range of Enterprise Shared Services initiatives including the Business Services Center, strategic sourcing procurement reform, consolidation of information technology services, and the restacking of our real estate assets. Significant programmatic improvement will be accomplished through initiatives like the Justice Center, enacted this year, to implement uniform safeguards for people with special needs and to prosecute cases of abuse and neglect.

As we begin the important work of developing the 2013-14 Executive Budget, Governor Cuomo remains committed to holding the line on State spending while maintaining his pledge to increase support for schools and health care in a sustainable manner. Accordingly, your 2013-14 budget request for State Operations and Aid to Localities (excluding School Aid and Medicaid, which are subject to different growth caps) must assume zero growth from your 2012-13 cash ceiling for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 fiscal years for both General Fund and State Operating funds spending. In other words, 2013-14 budget requests cannot achieve zero growth through fiscal gimmicks or one-time actions. Funding requests for new initiatives must be offset by corresponding reductions elsewhere in your budget. Maximization of your agency’s use of Enterprise Shared Services will assist in achieving this objective.

We must approach next year’s Budget as we have the past two years: as a means of achieving the Governor’s vision of making government work better for the people of this State. Agencies must work together across functional areas and adopt smarter, more efficient practices to achieve their core missions. Your budget request must reflect actions taken this year and continuing through next year to make government:

Work Better: Include metrics developed over the past two years on overall performance of significant core functions and make recommendations to improve performance. Identify additional metrics as appropriate.

Work Smarter: Take advantage of opportunities to share resources and reflect savings to be achieved through greater use of Enterprise Shared Services and other means of reducing or eliminating non-core functions. After conferring with Governor’s Counsel’s Office to identify any statutory barriers or issues, include recommendations to eliminate or merge functions that are not part of your agency’s core mission.

Operate More Efficiently: Include efforts to improve business processes, eliminate duplication, and reduce the risk of fraudulent behavior and abuse of State resources.

Serve Our Customers Better: Examine all operations to ensure that the services you provide and your hours of operation are geared to customer need and not agency convenience. This must include a serious review of regional operations where we interact with the public on an ongoing basis.

In addition to the agency capital components required by the Budget Request Manual, the New York Works Task Force will also be asking all State agencies and public authorities to submit capital program information to the Task Force in the form of a comprehensive capital program template. Capital entities will be asked to complete the template to display long-term capital plans and to categorize proposed capital investments in a uniform manner. Separate instructions for the capital template will be issued shortly by the Task Force and the Office of State Operations.

We ask that you submit your agency’s budget request no later than October 16, 2012. Your staff can contact an examiner from the Division of the Budget with any questions or concerns. You should also involve your respective Deputy Secretary within the Executive Chamber as soon as possible to ensure all requests are consistent with broader programmatic and policy objectives.

Thank you for your continued partnership as Governor Cuomo works to build a new New York.

Sincerely, Robert L. Megna

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