Under Governor Cuomo, New York State has taken some important steps towards making the state budget more transparent, perhaps among the most transparent anywhere. The governor’s Division of the Budget’s NY Open Budget website includes detailed, downloadable spreadsheets of enacted budgets going back until the early 1990’s. (By comparison, the New York City budget is not available in a machine readable format.)
Importantly, the Division of Budget has also taken the welcome step of including a downloadable spreadsheet of all but one of the 200 tables included in the governor’s proposed 428 page Executive Budget. Kudos to DOB for doing this – including machine-readable versions of the tabular data powering PDF narrative documents is a transparency best practice that we rarely see.
This said, the one data set missing from the 200 machine readable tables is a really important one. The Executive Budget should really include machine-readable School Aid Runs. This is a detailed list of the $21B in state aid the governor proposes giving to each school district, and amounts to about 15% of the entire $141B state budget.
We emailed the State Education Department, and they immediately emailed back the FY 14/15 proposed School Aid Runs in an excel format, which you can download here. We’ve asked the governor’s office to include School Aid Runs with the rest of the Executive Budget Data, and we’re optimistic they’ll do so in future budgets.