As the coronavirus outbreak turns the world upside down, let’s take a closer look at our own corner of that world.

New York state halted collecting medical and student debt for 30 days Tuesday and next year’s proposed state budget is projected to have a $4 billion to $7 billion revenue shortfall. Good news for some, bad news for many others. This is a bad time to hit up debtors for money.

If you’re looking for a silver lining, don’t look at this. The outbreak will likely serve as the catalyst for a mild to deep recession, said state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. If it happens, there is no way now to predict how long it will last.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo does not expect lawmakers to delay passing the state’s proposed $178 billion budget by the April 1 deadline, DiNapoli added, or to sacrifice reaching an agreement on major issues such as the recreational legalization of marijuana, bail reform or Medicare.

Not so fast, said one economic expert.

“Given the growing uncertainty, limited information available in the middle of the unfolding crisis and need to support the response, the governor and Legislature should adopt a crisis-response ‘bare-bones’ budget for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2020, recognizing that changes will be needed in the coming months,” Citizens Budget Commission President Andrew Rein said Tuesday.

All of New York is facing an enemy the likes of which has not been seen in the state’s history. This is an unprecedented crisis on many levels, and the state should not pile undue stress on top of an already unpredictable situation or saddle New Yorkers with unnecessary financial burdens.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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