Following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal for the 2012-2013 New York State budget on Tuesday, mostly praise came from both sides of the aisle.
“At first glance, Gov. Cuomo’s budget proposal effectively builds on the state’s successes of last year by continuing to control state spending and calling for long-term mandate relief. Public hearings on the budget proposal begin next week and, as the Ranking Minority Member of the Ways and Means Committee, I will be listening for input to build an even stronger budget for the legislature to consider. I have stated before that Gov. Cuomo’s success in his second year is even more important than his first year. The final enacted 2012-13 budget has the potential to put our state on a path to a stronger economic future,” stated 128th District Assemblyman Bob Oaks.
The Governor proposed a mostly flat $132.5 billion dollar budget that closed a $2 billion dollar deficit. Some of the funding for the proposed budget raised the rate on those earning $2 million dollars, or more and added $1.5 billion to state coffers.
The Governor kept his pledge to raise spending on Medicaid with more local government mandate relief on the horizon. The proposed budget would cap the amount counties contribute to Medicaid at 3% annually. Cuomo wants the state to absorb increases in local Medicaid costs by 2015 as the state takes over the cost of administering the program.
A boost in aid to education by about 4% would be tied to compliance to a statewide teacher-evaluation plan. If districts did not comply by January of 2013, they could lose the 4% increase in state spending. This move by the Governor has caused some ire by teachers and unions. The Governor also did not win points with the public employees unions when Cuomo proposed a new pension tier for new employees in order to control spiraling retirement costs.
CSEA (Civil Service Employees Association) President Danny Donohue issued a statement immediately following the Governor’s speach. “CSEA has no hesitation in saying that the proposal for a new public employee pension tier is an assault on the middle class and a cheap shot at public employees. It will provide no short-term savings and will mean people will have to work longer, pay more and gain less benefit. Simply put, the Tier VI provisions would be onerous on working people and undermine middle class security and the governor ought to be more concerned about that.”
In 2010, his first year in office, Cuomo erased a $10 billion deficit, got New York’s two biggest government-worker unions to agree to pay freezes and furloughs, instituted a property-tax cap.
Republican State Senator Mike Nozzolio also issued a statement following the Democrat Governor’s budget plan.
“Governor Cuomo’s proposed Executive Budget expands on the historic success of our partnership last year to provide further relief from taxes and unfunded mandates, ensure fiscal responsibility and create a pro-job growth environment in our State. It is greatly encouraging that, for the second straight year, the Governor has released an Executive Budget that cuts overall State spending and closes the State’s deficit with NO new or increased taxes or fees. I also strongly support Governor Cuomo’s plan to remove the burden of Medicaid costs from county governments, a measure that would eliminate the single largest unfunded mandate facing our municipalities and save taxpayers billions of dollars. As a co-sponsor of legislation that would implement a State takeover of Medicaid, I will work with the Governor to ensure that this proposal is adopted in the final budget.”
Wayne County Administrator James Marquette was optimistic about the medicaid relief portion of the proposed budget. “We need to know more about it. It looks that in the early years (of the plan) it is some help, but not what we expected Wayne County has budgeted $13.688 million dollars for Medicaid the 2012.” Marquette said he would have to wait for a full analysis that should be available in the coming weeks.
To the Marion School District, considered an “average needs” district, the Governor’s proposed increase will mean a 1.09% increase in state aid. Marion Superintendent, Kathy Wegman found the Governor’s proposal: “A little interesting” and was concerned competitive grants and the state aid in 2013 were tied to teacher evaluations. She said she has no problem with teacher evaluations and the District has been working with them for awhile, but that the law needs some tweaking to become workable.