As the public finances of state governments have grown since the end of World War II, and especially since 1957, they have become increasingly complex and increasingly interdependent with those of the federal government, as well as with those of their own local governments. This growth of state fiscal operations has been due not only to an expansion in traditional activities, but also to the states' entry into new and very costly responsibilities. While each state government remains unique, there are important elements common to all, since each state is an integral part of the federal system and subject to the major economic and social forces within the society. This is as true of New York, a leading state, as it is for its smaller and less innovative sisters.
The development of an analysis of the finances of New York State that is meaningful to the intelligent layman as well as to those professionally concerned with the complex system of finances is a major challenge. Extensive studies of state finances have been carried out by large commissions, by numerous public and private advisory bodies, and by individual scholars, yet there is still no definitive statement as to the nature of the issues involved either on a national or state level. Although there are studies on New York State, they have been limited in their approach, insofar as they failed to recognize the interdependence of the state with the federal government and with its own local governmental systems.
Even when one recognizes the complexity and interdependent nature of state government finances, questions must still be considered with respect to the particular domains of finance to be studied and the