NEW YORK — The state is facing a potential $3,838 billion farm-bill crunch in the next two years and is considering a $1.9 billion relief bill, Gov.
Andrew Cuomo said Friday.
The state is on track to spend $1,094 billion in the coming fiscal year, but that would be only $821 million less than the state budget that was approved in the state’s second-largest city on Wednesday, according to a state audit released Friday.
The state would still face the state farm bill in 2019, and would have to pay off $818 million in debt in 2020, the audit said.
The governor said the state would be forced to make changes to pay for the projected shortfall in the 2019-2020 budget.
“I am not a fan of the $3 trillion, $3-billion bill,” Cuomo said.
“But this is the reality that we face.
And it’s going to require some real, structural changes, as it relates to our farm economy.”
The audit said the farm bill would cover about half of the state government’s budget.
Cuomo said the governor would be pushing for a farm-finance overhaul this year and hoped to be able to sign a bill into law by mid-year.
Cuomo, a Democrat, said the budget would be in a better position to absorb the $1 billion in projected farm-related tax increases, which would be a boon to farmers.
The budget has been estimated to be $1 trillion, including $400 billion for state and local governments.
Cuomo’s administration said the estimated farm bill will cover the cost of the next 10 years.
More than half of New York’s farms are in New Jersey, and the state has said it will seek to increase the share of farm revenue coming from state sales taxes, a move Cuomo said would help farmers who depend on state income taxes to pay the bills.
Cuomo has also said he would seek to limit tax breaks for agribusinesses that have moved operations offshore.
New York is among the few states with an export-focused agriculture industry.
New York is the largest exporter of pork, beef, eggs, poultry and hogs in the U.S., according to the Center for American Progress, which tracks the industry.