Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his proposed 2013-14 Executive Budget and Management Plan on Tuesday that includes expanded funding for economic development, education reform and rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy but no new taxes or fees.
"By making difficult decisions over the past two years we have brought stability, predictability, and common sense to the state's budget process," Gov. Cuomo said. "For the third consecutive year we are closing the deficit with no new taxes or fees and putting forward a budget that holds spending growth under two percent. Two consecutive fiscally responsible budgets have drastically reduced the deficit we face in this fiscal year and those we will face in years to come. As a result, we are able to make critical investments to build a world-class education system, support job creating projects in all corners of the state, provide assistance to local governments, and rebuild communities that were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy."
Highlights of the Executive Budget:
- Eliminates $1.3 billion budget gap with no new taxes or fees. The expected gap for 2013-14 was projected to be $17.4 billion prior to the last two responsible budgets.
- Holds spending increases below 2 percent for third consecutive year.
- Increases education aid by $889 million, or 4.4 percent, driving an average increase of more than $300/student per year.
- Targets economic development spending to accelerate the commercialization of new technology, launches a third round of the Regional Economic Development Councils, and markets the state’s tourism assets to bolster economic growth, especially Upstate.
- Reforms the Workers' Compensation system to save employers, local governments, and school districts more than $900 million.
- Includes nearly $974 million in savings from government redesign and cost control efforts.
- Builds on the significant mandate relief enacted in 2012-13 by providing a Stable Rate Pension Contribution Option to allow local governments and school districts to immediately realize Tier VI savings.
- Raises the minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $8.75/hour.
Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) applauded the budget presentation and pledge to not raise taxes and provide additional mandate relief to local governments dealing with escalating pension costs.
"The Governor's budget proposal lays out a fiscally responsible budget blueprint that closes a $1.3 billion dollar budget gap without raising taxes or fees,” said Carlucci. “Through greater cost efficiencies and consolidation, we will be able to cap spending increases below 2 percent for a third consecutive year in a row, protect commuters from toll hike increases, and provide local governments additional mandate relief when tackling their growing pension costs.”
Carlucci expressed hope that the state legislature would pass another on-time budget.
Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D-New City) said the plan would aid Rockland County families.
First, the budget will follow through on our pledge to increase education aid by 4 percent and will provide much needed assistance to our local schools,” said Zebrowski. “In addition, the Governor proposed several new initiatives designed to foster new businesses and create jobs. Lastly, I am encouraged that the Governor announced that the budget will contain several mandate relief proposals to assist local governments and taxpayers.”