Local officials have already chimed in on the
budget address given by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Tuesday.
"In a few short years, the Governor has taken concrete steps that have changed the perception of New York as a place to do business in a dramatic and positive way,” White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach said in statement. “The Governor's commitment to improving the business climate in the state, supporting the education of our young people from pre-kindergarten through college and protecting the environment will provide real benefits now and for generations to come."
Highlights of the $137 billion spending plan include:
- Increasing education aid by $807 million, or about 4 percent.
- Allocating $1.5 billion over a five year period to fund a statewide universal full day pre-K program.
- Allocating $720 million during a five-year period to expand after school programs.
- A $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act to ensure that all students have access to the latest technology needed to compete on the global stage.
- Providing $1.2 billion in capital funding to help hospitals, nursing homes and long term care facilities restructure to provide quality community based care.
Other highlights of the budget, which can be found here, include $157 million for the EPF, an increase of $4 million from this year’s budget; an additional $100 to continue the state Superfund cleanup program; and a two-year freeze on property taxes for homeowners in school districts and local governments that stay within the property tax cap.
“In the past, budgets in New York State have meant little more than out of control spending that catered to special interests and created a fiscally dilapidated and unhealthy New York,” Cuomo said in a statement. “But over the last three years, with fiscal discipline and responsible policymaking, New York State has turned a $10 billion deficit into a $2 billion surplus and made the government work again. This year, our budget is more than numbers: it is an innovative action plan building on the progress of the last three years by restoring the public’s trust and making New York a state that is smarter, cleaner, healthier and reimagined for the future.”
Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, who has expressed interest in running as the Republican candidate against Cuomo in November, commented on the budget with this Tweet: “Gov. Cuomo must live in another state. NY falling farther behind under his band aid approach. Need bold solutions, not empty checklists.”
Astorino then pointed to a Moody’s report released Tuesday that said retail activity in the state appears to be slowing outside the New York City metro area based on fourth quarter sales tax revenue.
Westchester County Board of Legislators Majority Leader Catherine Borgia, D-Ossining, said this in response to the budget proposal: “Governor Cuomo’s budget proposals offer an opportunity for us to work with New York State on important issues like shared services and property tax relief for county taxpayers. These are initiatives which Westchester has taken a leading role in already, and so we look forward to their further expansion and implementation.”
County Legislator Ken Jenkins, D-Yonkers, said he is heartened by Cuomo’s proposal for the funding of full-day kindergarten, after school programs and scholarships for high school students who plan to study science, technology, engineering and math related fields at SUNY and CUNY schools.
“Gov. Cuomo also continues to help taxpayers and business owners with his proposals to freeze tax increases, fund shared services and provide mandate relief to local municipalities,” said Jenkins, who chairs the Board of Legislators’ Federal and State Affairs Committee. “Once again, we applaud the Governor’s leadership, vision and persistence in ensuring a healthy and prosperous future for all New Yorkers.”
The budget, which must now be approved by the state Legislature, would go into effect on April 1.