For my home state, Governor David Paterson's budget is a window into the future. Simply put, we are witnessing what happens when New York State ceases to be the financial capital of the world. At the moment the world doesn't really have one as the global economy sorts through massive wreckage. Truthfully, the era of financial centers concentrated in western port cities such as New York or London is a relic.
This had long been been predicted because information technology makes it possible to outsource back office functions remotely and utilize cheap labor. Why pay for New York City real estate and labor when a trader can just as easily play with other people's money from a computer in Dubai? However, until the recent economic catastrophe Wall Street stubbornly hung onto its symbolic trappings as the center of the universe.
As a result, Albany could count on revenues generated from Wall Street to finance union pensions, government services, medicaid spending, corporate welfare, our prison industrial complex and so forth. The financial services industry also generated millions of jobs in our region from stock brokers to janitors. Hence, Wall Street's titans were able to leverage their influence with power brokers such as New York State's senior Senator Charles Schumer.