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Cuomo, Lawmakers Agree to Tentative $133 Billion Budget

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders agreed to a budget plan that cuts spending by nearly $10 billion dollars, and does not raise any new taxes, scrapping proposals for a continued tax on the state’s millionaires.

Cuomo announced the deal, along with legislative leaders, after days of behind the scenes negotiations. Calling it "the people’s budget," Cuomo proclaimed a "new day" at a State Capitol infamous for its dysfunction.

"This is a budget that's not about the special interests, it's not about the lobbyists," Cuomo said.

The $132.5 billion dollar budget, if approved, represents a win for Cuomo, who made passing a budget that included spending cuts but no new taxes one of his top two priorities for his first legislative session. The plan spends 2 percent less than last year's budget.

The agreement contains most of the $2 billion dollars in health care cuts recommended by the governor's Medicaid redesign panel, which
included many health care stakeholders, like hospitals and unions. It does not include a proposed $250,000 cap on medical malpractice pain and suffering awards.

Lawmakers also agreed to cut all but $272 million dollars of $1.5 billion dollars that Cuomo recommended in school aid reductions. And they agreed to shrink the state's prison system by 3,700 beds.

Assembly Speaker says the spending plan is "firmly grounded in reality" and is "fiscally responsible," but does contain real pain.

"This is a sobering budget," Silver said.

The announcement comes a full five days before the spending plan is due, and Senate majority Leader Dean Skelos, who said he's been
"delighted" with the process, says the budget "sends a message to the business community that New York State is prepared to work with you."

The spending plan does not include extension of an income tax surcharge on millionaires to close the deficit, something many Democrats and advocacy groups had sought. A spokesman for the Alliance of Quality Education, a pro school funding group, said the budget makes "heartlessly large cuts to schools to finance tax cuts for millionaires."

Kathryn Wylde, with the business group the Partnership for New York City, called the budget deal "a dramatic reversal in the tax and spend habits of Albany that drove this state to the brink of financial disaster."

Cuomo held significant power over the legislature in the form of a new budget device first used by former Governor David Paterson. Cuomo had threatened that if lawmakers did not agree to a budget by the April 1 deadline, he would jam his entire spending plan through in the very first budget extender. It would have left lawmakers little choice — they would either have to pass Cuomo's budget, or be blamed for shutting down the government.

Through negotiations, lawmakers were able to achieve some of what they wanted in the budget: some school funding restorations, likely
to key areas in rural upstate regions and on Long Island, as well as $86 million dollars restored to public colleges and universities and
$91 million dollars for unspecified human service needs.

Assembly Democrats supported the tax on the rich but failed in efforts to include in the final deal. They were successful in pushing back on the medical malpractice cap, which many also opposed. And Senate Republicans were able to achieve some control over the
closing of prisons, many of them in upstate districts represented by GOP Senators. Cuomo has now agreed to consult with the legislature before he orders prison closures later this year.

Lawmakers also signed off on Cuomo’s plan to create 10 regional economic development councils to try to create jobs and improve the
economy. And they agreed to merge the state’s banking and insurance departments into one financial services agency.

Not all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed in the budget deal, Cuomo calls it a "definitive framework," but said he hopes the legislature
can start passing bills as early as Tuesday.

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Comments [9]

Paul J. Bosco from Manhattan

I feel the timidity of Obama and the DC Democrats, in not ending the Bush-era tax cuts on the top 2% of income earners, made it almost mandatory that the States capture some of that Federal largesse for themselves. A NYS tax on income --not persons, but INCOME-- in excess of $1,000,000,or even $350,000, was very much in order.

NONETHELESS, if Andy was heartless, with this near-miracle deal he has led NYS out of the desert of its dysfunctionality. Almost instantly, our State government has stopped being a joke. Also, Dems and Republicans worked together, a phenemenon not much in evidence in other States, with bad results, like the trainwreck known as Wisconsin.

An irony of this is that a successful, popular Dem governor may lead his party to gain a glitch-proof majority in the State Senate. That will make for much more progressive politics in our State, and then Cuomo will most likely feel he can switch gears.

I hope so. In the meantime....lots of pain.

Mar. 28 2011 08:24 PM
Jacob

NO mention of withdrawal from Advantage program? This effects nearly 100,000 people and it's withdrawal can make them or keep them homeless. I guess they don't vote so their lives are unimportant

Mar. 28 2011 12:10 PM
wgalison from manhattan

Judge Luis Gonzalez is the presiding judge over all State Supreme courts in Manhattan and the Bronx. He has admitted committing fraud-specifically lying on a credit application to a federally insured institution or for a federally insured loan. This type of fraud is punishable by up to 30 years' prison and a maximum $1 million fine.

Judge Gonzalez replaced Jonathan Lippman as PJ of the First Appellate division after Lippman became Chief judge through documented election fraud.

This is not mere;y an allegation- Gonzalez has ADMITTED committing this crime. Why does WNYC refuse to cover this important story?

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/judge_out_of_order_zjNxsoucPbgBsUGbHjIglK#ixzz1HuL2HpTv

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/judge_out_of_order_zjNxsoucPbgBsUGbHjIglK

Mar. 28 2011 11:22 AM
Maggie from Port Washington

This unbelievable. Cutting school to the poorest districts and giving cuts to millionaires. Where do we have to go get some honest legislators? Or is it hopeless?

Mar. 28 2011 11:07 AM
RoseAnn from NYC

In addition to the devastating impact this budget has on the homeless, please, PLEASE, when you report about other items on the governor and the legislature's agenda, use the correct term, marriage equality bill, not gay marriage! It's marriage, the same for everyone!

Mar. 28 2011 11:03 AM
Jeff from Dobbs Ferry

I would ask how we stop the absolute train wreck of unseemly power of the wealthy in destroying our great state of New York via the proposed budget . Governor Cuomo and legislature and their wealthy supporters to simultaneously end the the tax surcharge on the wealthy while they cut social benefit programs for those in need, the working families of all stripes those least able to afford cuts in education, housing and health care. Bad for New York and an ominous harbinger for this country's future. If a democratic governor does this in the great state of New York and slices, cuts, and eviscerates its basket of programs for those not millionaires what then....? Will we end up like Indiana and Wisconsin or worse because of how far we have fallen? And the outrageous give-away to allow BlackRock, which earned a record profit of more than $2 billion last year, to be taxed by the state as a general business corporation rather than as a bank, saving it at least $3.5 million — and possibly several times that much — in city taxes each year....Maybe we begin with a focused recall of legislators, including the governor, to stop this inevitably-aimed return to robber barons the local corrupt machines in perfecto,

Jeff Weinstein

Mar. 28 2011 11:00 AM
Jeff from Dobbs Ferry

I would ask how we stop the absolute train wreck of unseemly power of the wealthy in destroying our great state of New York via the proposed budget . Governor Cuomo and legislature and their wealthy supporters to simultaneously end the the tax surcharge on the wealthy while they cut social benefit programs for those in need, the working families of all stripes those least able to afford cuts in education, housing and health care. Bad for New York and an ominous harbinger for this country's future. If a democratic governor does this in the great state of New York and slices, cuts, and eviscerates its basket of programs for those not millionaires what then....? Will we end up like Indiana and Wisconsin or worse because of how far we have fallen? And the outrageous give-away to allow BlackRock, which earned a record profit of more than $2 billion last year, to be taxed by the state as a general business corporation rather than as a bank, saving it at least $3.5 million — and possibly several times that much — in city taxes each year....Maybe we begin with a focused recall of legislators, including the governor, to stop this inevitably-aimed return to robber barons the local corrupt machines in perfecto,

Jeff Weinstein
914-400-9870 Cell

Mar. 28 2011 10:41 AM
Jeffrey from Manhattan

Why is a man who cuts vital services and refuses to extend already-existent taxes on millionaires so popular? I agree with Mark wholeheartedly. David Patterson was by no means smooth, and yeah, he enjoyed a perk or two of office (seats at a baseball game for goodness sake!), but he cared about the people of this state, and while fiscally prudent was morally upright. Cuomo is just angling for national prominence by being cruel and pro-rich in the era of union-bashing and the rise of the gentry class.

Mar. 28 2011 08:58 AM
Mark

This is "The People's Budget"? Not about special interests? It cuts education and healthcare in order to give a tax cut to millionaires! Is this guy serious?

It's too bad the New York Times decided to destroy David Patterson so Cuomo the Second could take his rightful place as ruler of New York. Pfft, they call this democracy?

Mar. 28 2011 07:44 AM

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