In presenting his $137 billion proposed budget for fiscal 2015 to
lawmakers, Cuomo, a Democrat up for re-election this year, kept most
spending relatively flat. Limiting state spending would lead to a
projected $2.2 billion surplus within three years to help pay for
tax programs and universal day-long pre-kindergarten.
Spending increases should be capped at about 2 percent and tied to
personal income growth, Cuomo said.
"Staying within personal income means raising the state budget at
the same rate the people of the state were earning," Cuomo said
during his budget address.
Last week, the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonpartisan watchdog
group, said that limiting spending would lead to reductions in state
services on a scale that would be "challenging."
Spending on Medicaid and school aid, the two biggest items in the
budget, must each increase a certain amount by law every year. Next
year each is expected to grow by at least 4 percent, leaving the
rest of the programs in the state to bear the brunt of cuts, the CBC
When school aid and Medicaid are stripped out, spending on most
other programs would increase by only 0.2 percent annually in order
for Cuomo to meet his target of 2 percent growth in spending
Moody's Investors Service warned on Tuesday that the rest of the
state outside of New York City, particularly farther north, is
showing lackluster economic growth.
Total fourth-quarter sales tax growth for counties in the rest of
the state was only 1.4 percent from a year earlier. Moody's rates
New York Aa2 with a positive outlook.
TAX CUTS FOR FAMILIES, BUSINESSES
Cuomo proposed a property tax freeze for homeowners, but tied it to
the ability of local governments to save 1 percent each year for
three years, by sharing services and consolidating operations.
"We have too many levels of government, period," Cuomo said. Erie
County, for instance, has more than 1,000 local governmental units,
including drainage, lighting, sewer, fire and park districts, as
well as cities and towns. The county's total property tax levy is
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His tax relief proposals for homeowners, renters and families would
total $5.7 billion over five years.
Cuomo's proposed business tax incentives would cost $2 billion over
five years altogether. One component of that plan would slice the
top-tier corporate income tax rate to 6.5 percent from 7.1 percent.
That move alone would cut projected state revenue by about $900
million over the next three years, budget director Robert Megna
The governor's proposal for universal full-day pre-kindergarten
would cost about $1.5 billion over the next five years. It would
make New York the fourth state in the U.S. to implement such a
The plan proposed for New York City by Mayor Bill de Blasio would
hike taxes on those making more than $500,000 to pay for
De Blasio's tax plan, which would have to be approved by state
lawmakers, would begin providing funding for the program
immediately. But Cuomo's plan would take time to ramp up and would
not provide a recurring revenue stream, said Billy Easton, executive
director of the Alliance for Quality Education.
"Calling this a universal full-day pre-k program is far from
accurate, after five years we will be lucky if it covers even 20
percent of the state's 225,000 4-year-olds," Easton said in a
Cuomo also said, as he did last year, that the state should ask
voters in November to borrow $2 billion to improve technology and
facilities in schools.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ; editing by David Gregorio)
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