Governor Andrew Cuomo is once again pledging his $137 billion state budget proposal will not have new taxes. YNN's Nick Reisman has more on just how he plans to make that happen.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A $136.4 billion budget that also closes a $1.35 billion deficit without raising new taxes. It’s Governor Andrew Cuomo's third budget proposal since taking office, which he says has both a fiscal and social bent that includes an increase in the state's minimum wage.
“This is a state of fiscal responsibility and a state of social progress and those are the two main drivers for government,” said Governor Cuomo.
Cuomo's budget ultimately includes federal funding for both Sandy aid and the implementation of the federal health care law of 2010, which makes the final total closer to $142 billion. Still without counting those funds, the governor is staying within a self-imposed spending cap of under two percent.
“The answer couldn't be every year that to close a hole in the budget the government was going to put its hand back in the pocket of the taxpayer. The taxpayer's pocket is not a bottomless piggybank,” said Cuomo.
For local governments, Cuomo also is pushing a plan that would allow local governments to have lower pension rates in the near-term against savings in out-years. And he proposed a slew of infrastructure upgrades and rebuilding plans for communities affected not just by Superstorm Sandy, but also storms Irene and Lee in the upstate region.
“The concept of community and helping people rebuild. We have people all across this state who have been hurt and it is our obligation as a community to help them rebuild,” said Cuomo.
As expected, Cuomo's budget increases education aid by 4.4 percent, or $889 million, with some money set aside to implement full day pre-kindergarten or an extended school day if districts can meet certain criteria. For upstate economic development, the governor is pushing $165 million fund for advertising and job creation. To pay for much of it, Cuomo is seeking savings in government consolidations and mergers as well as efficiencies as well as closing tax loopholes.
“The governor has been very effective in the past, in doing more with less, stop giving state agencies a blank check, consolidation I think proved very effective. I think there's an efficiency in saving the taxpayers money and hopefully he'll be able to do it again,” said Jeff Klein, (D) Senate IDC leader.
Cuomo also inserted his plan to increase the state's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75, a proposal that has been blocked by Senate Republicans in the past.
“Anything can be in the budget and anything can be taken out of the budget. We will analyze it, we will see if this is the right year to raise the minimum wage but also critically important are business tax credits I think are very effective in creating jobs,” said Dean Skelos, (R) Senate Republican leader.
The budget is due March 31st. The first two years of Cuomo's time in office have all seen on-time budgets.