The $137.9 billion budget keeps growth in all spending levels
below 2 percent and provides funding for statewide pre-kindergarten
programs. It also cuts business taxes and introduces property tax
relief for homeowners, Cuomo said on Saturday.
The agreement came after budget bills were printed late on Friday,
allowing state lawmakers to vote on the plan on Monday, the last day
of the state's financial year. If passed, the budget would mark
Cuomo's fourth on-time budget in a row.
"It has to be passed and we don't want to get ahead of ourselves,
but it was a good piece of work," Cuomo told reporters on a
The new budget earmarks $1.5 billion in property tax relief for
homeowners. It also includes an increase of more than 5 percent in
school aid, $300 million of which will go to pre-kindergarten in New
York City and provides new protections for charter schools.
Lawmakers rejected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's request for
a tax hike on the city's wealthy to help fund classes for
preschoolers and to pay for after-school programs.
Mayor de Blasio said in a statement that with Saturday's announced
investments, the state made a powerful and historic decision that
will change the lives of tens of thousands of children.
"We set out down this road nearly 18 months ago. Through ups and
downs, we never wavered from our promise to the people of this city
to expand full-day pre-K and after-school for our children starting
this September," he said.
The budget also looks to cut state taxes and create jobs by
establishing a 20 percent real estate property tax credit for
manufacturers who own or lease property. Beginning in 2014, it will
slash the tax rate on income for all manufacturers from the current
5.9 percent to zero.
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Through budget initiatives, tougher bribery and anti-corruption laws
will be implemented, and about $162 million will go to New York's
Environmental Protection Fund, an increase of $9 million over the
Young people and new drivers will also face stricter laws governing
texting while driving. Licenses will be suspended for 120 days for
first-time offenders, and a year's suspension will be imposed for
those convicted twice.
At the same time, the state's budget will fund a New York Commission
on Youth, Public Safety and Justice. The commission will be
entrusted to develop recommendations on ways to help raise the age
at which juveniles are tried.
New York is one of only two states that prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds through the adult criminal justice system.
(Reporting by Theopolis Waters in Chicago and Edward Krudy in New
York; editing by Gunna Dickson and G. Crosse)
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