DOB History

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The History of the Executive Budget

From New York State’s inception following the Constitutional Convention of 1777 and into the 20th century, budget requests were sent directly from agencies to the legislature. These requests were reviewed by Legislative Finance Committees, independent from one another, and without an overall statewide financial plan. The role of the governor was limited to using political power to influence decision making and to exercise veto power.

One hundred and fifty years later the Executive Budget process would come to serve as the governor’s policy agenda.


Charles Evans Hughes may be most well known as the 11th chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, but as the 36th governor of New York State he started the conversation about the need for a strategic, enterprise-wide Executive Budget process. In 1909 he expressed that “there should … be provided some permanent method for comparative examination of departmental budgets and proposals for appropriations in advance of the legislative session so that the legislature may be aided by preliminary investigation and report in determining, with just proportion, the amounts that can properly be allowed.”


In 1910, the federal government established the Commission on Economy and Efficiency, focused on budgeting, and the advantages of analysis, planning and management. Many the concepts publicized by the Commission drove proposed changes to New York State government during the Constitutional Convention of 1915. The proposed changes were rejected by the voters, however many proposals related to the reorganization of the State’s government were accepted by voter referendum in 1925.


Governor Alfred E. Smith succeeded in achieving further reforms when voters passed revisions to the New York State Constitution that required the governor to coordinate agency budget requests, develop a balanced budget containing a financial plan of proposed expenditures and revenues to support them, and to submit the budget to the legislature along with appropriation bills necessary to execute the budget. Additionally, the governor is charged with managing the budget throughout the fiscal year. The Division of the Budget was created in 1927 and charged with developing and implementing the Executive Budget.


Governor Smith submitted the first budget prepared under the Executive Budget process a full year earlier than required by the New York State Constitution.


Revisions to Article VII of the State Constitution became effective in 1929. Franklin D. Roosevelt began his tenure as New York’s governor and submitted the budget prepared by Alfred E. Smith.


The legislature approves Governor Thomas E. Dewey’s request to advance the start of the fiscal year from July 1 to April 1 to line with more sound financial planning, avoiding short-term borrowing and reducing the uncertainties in estimating revenue. Dewey also expanded the scope and function of the Division of the Budget.


In his budget message, Governor W. Averell Harriman stressed the importance of the submission of an Executive Budget to unite the governor and the legislature in their obligation to New Yorkers when he said “it is our duty together to find common ground for the many different concerns and points of view inherent in a free society.”


Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller cemented the strong role of New York’s governor as architect of the State’s policy agenda by stressing the need for New York State to balance the priorities of social programs and economic growth.


Governor Mario M. Cuomo believed in the power of the government to improve people’s lives, and emphasized the State’s commitment to serving New Yorkers, even in times of fiscal strain. As governor, he dramatically lowered income tax rates, and made investments education, infrastructure, transportation and public safety.


Governor Kathy Hochul, New York State’s first woman governor, introduces an Executive Budget and Financial Plan notable for many other firsts ultimately included in that year’s Enacted Budget, including a record 15% of State Operating Funds put into reserves for future economic uncertainties, and record levels of funding for education, healthcare, environmental conservation, housing, and human services such as child care.

Directors of the Budget

Directors of the Budget
Number Governor Director of the Budget Appointment Date Years Served
1. Alfred E. Smith/
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Joseph H. Wilson January 01, 1927 4.4
2. Franklin D. Roosevelt Abraham S. Weber June 01, 1931 0.3
3. Franklin D. Roosevelt Mark Graves September 09, 1931 2
4. Herbert H. Lehman Abraham S. Weber August 29, 1933 8.1
5. Herbert H. Lehman/
Charles Poletti
J. Buckley Bryan October 20, 1941 1.2
6. Thomas E. Dewey John E. Burton January 01, 1943 7.3
7. Thomas E. Dewey William R. McWilliams May 06, 1950 0.4
8. Thomas E. Dewey T. Norman Hurd October 01, 1950 4.3
9. W. Averell Harriman Paul H. Appleby January 01, 1955 2.8
10. W. Averell Harriman Clark D. Ahlberg October 03, 1957 1.2
11. Nelson A. Rockefeller T. Norman Hurd January 01, 1959 12
12. Nelson A. Rockefeller/
Malcolm Wilson
Richard Dunham January 01, 1971 4
13. Hugh L. Carey Howard F. Miller* January 01, 1975 0.1
14. Hugh L. Carey Peter C. Goldmark January 27, 1975 2.5
15. Hugh L. Carey Philip L. Toia August 04, 1977 0.4
16. Hugh L. Carey Howard F. Miller* January 01, 1978 0.9
17. Hugh L. Carey Howard F. Miller December 11, 1978 2.5
18. Hugh L. Carey C. Mark Lawton June 18, 1981 1.5
19. Mario M. Cuomo Michael Finnerty January 01, 1983 1.7
20. Mario M. Cuomo R. Wayne Diesel September 01, 1984 3.7
21. Mario M. Cuomo Dall W. Forsythe May 16, 1988 3.3
22. Mario M. Cuomo Patrick J. Bulgaro September 02, 1991 2.1
23. Mario M. Cuomo Rudy F. Runko October 01, 1993 1.3
24. George E. Pataki Patricia A. Woodworth January 01, 1995 3.1
25. George E. Pataki Robert L. King February 10, 1998 1.9
26. George E. Pataki Carole E. Stone* January 03, 2000 0.5
27. George E. Pataki Carole E. Stone June 26, 2000 4.3
28. George E. Pataki John F. Cape* October 15, 2004 0.4
29. George E. Pataki John F. Cape February 23, 2005 1.9
30. Eliot L. Spitzer Paul E. Francis January 01, 2007 1
31. Eliot L. Spitzer/
David A. Paterson
Laura L. Anglin January 01, 2008 1
32. David A. Paterson/
Andrew M. Cuomo
Robert L. Megna May 28, 2009 5.6
33. Andrew M. Cuomo Mary B. Labate January 16, 2015 1
34. Andrew M. Cuomo/
Kathy Hochul
Robert F. Mujica Jr. January 14, 2016 7
35. Kathy Hochul Sandra L. Beattie* January 1, 2023 0.2
36. Kathy Hochul Robert L. Megna February 28, 2023 0.6
37. Kathy Hochul Blake G. Washington Present  

* Acting Director