The budget plan New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled Tuesday has drawn reaction from a variety of public officials and organizations. Here is a look at how the plusses and minuses are breaking down when it comes to spending policies and tax cuts.
Cuomo's $137 billion budget plan includes more money for schools, including a phase-in of funding for universal pre-kindergarten programs, and tax cuts. The 2014-15 package increases state spending by 1.7 percent.
New York State Association of Counties Deputy Director Mark LaVigne says county leaders share the governor’s vision of a re-imagined New York State: "...one that increases local job opportunities, reduces the cost of all levels of government, keeps our communities and roadways safe, offers and promotes a great quality of life, and provides care for community members in need." LaVigne says there's disagreement when it comes down to which level of government should fund which service. "For example, counties and county taxpayers fund more than $12 billion worth of state initiated, mandated programs and services."
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein sees Cuomo’s emphasis on property tax relief and containing the growth of mandates as keys to moving New York forward. Republican Senator Kathy Marchione of Halfmoon likes the idea of freezing property taxes, but wonders about all the proposed spending and billions in proposed new borrowing she says taxpayers will ultimately foot the bill for. "How are we gonna pay for all of this? I certainly oppose the millions on welfare for politicians, (taxpayer financed political campaigns) and I just don't think we should be going back to already overtaxed overburdened taxpayers and ask them to do even more. They've been carrying a crushing burden,, and then some."
Brian Sampson, Executive Director of the anti-tax group Unshackle Upstate, says the governor's spending proporal reflects much of what his group has long fought for – including limiting the growth of state spending and reducing taxes. "We're encouraged by what we see and hope that the legislature will follow through on his plan."
Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara of the 111th district says he is encouraged by Cuomo’s budget but still wants to see the upstate film tax credit expanded. "...and make sure that that type of industry can come to my district. That's a different type of industry that has been there before."
Republican Assemblyman Pete Lopez of the 127th district says the budget's main focus has to be the upstate economy. "Manufacturing, farming, small business, tourism. All those have to be right in center focus. Everything really flows from them. We have a lot of work ahead of us and I look forward to the process unfolding."
The legislature faces an April 1 deadline to come to an agreement before the next budget year begins. And if the budget is passed by that date, it will mark the first time since 1973 New York has had an on-time a budget for four consecutive years.