NY Leaders Agree to On-Time Budget
Now that New York’s state legislature has come to an agreement on a pension deal for new state employees and finally decided on a redistricting proposal, lawmakers are aiming to pass the second on-time state budget in a row (last year’s budget was the first on-time budget since 1983!) State Senate President Dean Skelos said, “Just as years of late budgets symbolized Albany’s dysfunction, on-time budgets show that state government is working again.” The next fiscal year begins on April 1, a deadline state legislators are eager to meet.
Governor Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and state Senate President Dean Skelos have prioritized key issues for New Yorkers in this state budget, including education, infrastructure and juvenile justice.
Some of the budget provisions that have gotten the most attention include:
- $20 billion for school spending (including $850 million in new school aid, partly in the form of competitive school grants)
- The creation of a seven-member gaming commission to oversee the state lottery, video lottery casinos and horse racing (Gov. Cuomo would appoint five members and the majority party of the state Assembly and Senate each receives 1 appointment)
- Reforms to the juvenile justice system (non-violent juvenile offenders from the five boroughs of New York City would be housed in the city rather than upstate)
- The creation of a 15-member transportation panel to determine the infrastructure needs of the state
- No funding for a hydrofracturing public health study
- No health insurance exchange will be set up, but Gov. Cuomo has indicated he could create one by Executive Order
Most notable perhaps is the closing of a $3.5 billion budget gap with the continuation of higher income taxes for wealthier New Yorkers and a slight decrease in income taxes for the middle class, per the tax deal agreed to in December.
The $132.5 billion budget will be up for a vote on Wednesday or Thursday, however legislators have until Saturday at midnight to deal with any unforeseen problems.
Reform Jewish Voice of New York State applauds the Governor’s office and the state legislature for reaching an on-time budget agreement. We look forward to pursuing our legislative priorities—ensuring reproductive rights, raising the minimum wage and enacting campaign finance reform—with state lawmakers at our annual Advocacy Day on May 7, 2012—register today!