It's a message state Comptroller H. Carl McCall voiced in Albany all through the legislative session. Now he's taking it on the road.
The Wall Street boom fueling plans for future tax cuts will someday fizzle, he said here Friday, and tax reductions may fizzle with it.
"We may be facing a very bleak revenue situation, and we might have promises that are not fulfilled," McCall told editors and reporters of The Buffalo News.
The comptroller said the fluctuations in the stock market this week point to the time when the booming economy will taper off, reducing the tax revenues now flooding state coffers.
The result, he said, could be similar to 1987 when tax cuts planned two and three years earlier could not be sustained in the face of the stock market crash and an economic slowdown.
"The stock market activity confirms this ride is not going to continue forever," he said. "The state budget plan says the money will be there from Wall Street, but it might not."
In fact, McCall said, while plans call for a cut of $51 million in taxes this year, that figure balloons to $4.8 billion by 2001. But if the Wall Street boom deflates, the revenues Albany foresees to supplant the tax cuts won't be there.
"If the revenues don't continue to grow, you're talking significant service cuts to offset this $4.8 billion," McCall said.
A moderate recession, he warned, could inflate the gap to as much as $12 billion.
McCall acknowledged that reform measures designed to trim the welfare rolls could produce some relief. But even with a booming economy, he's not sure that those excluded from welfare will fare well in the job market.
He noted that New York City now has a 9.5 percent unemployment rate and that some of the jobs on Wall Street could be eliminated with more mergers.
"What happens to 100,000 people moved off the welfare rolls into an economy with excessively high unemployment?" he asked. "I don't know that we can absorb that number of people into our economy. Where are the jobs?"