New York state budget

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The state’s mayors are moving away from a state aid program for localities that they say has not been well-funded in recent years and trying a new way to get the governor’s and the Legislature’s attention as the 2019 state budget season approaches. 

For decades, mayors have received state aid for their cities through the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities program, or AIM. But funding has been flat in recent years, even though cities’ expenses have been steadily growing, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to hold the line on state spending increases.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has been crossing the state talking about some of the items in the recently passed state budget. During a stop in Syracuse recently, Hochul highlighted parts of the $168 budget that New York lawmakers passed last month. She followed many of the budget themes the governor emphasized during budget negotiations - the impact of the new federal tax plan on state spending, the importance of an on-time budget and a focus on sexual harassment policies.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office / Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers struck a $168.3 billion state budget deal late Friday night that includes surcharges on Uber and taxi rides in Manhattan, a tax on opioid makers and a new sexual harassment policy crafted following the launch of the #MeToo movement.

New York State Senate

State lawmakers started passing budget bills late Thursday night into Friday morning, even though some major issues related to the spending plan are still not resolved. They need to finish by mid-day Friday so legislators and staff can get home for the Passover and Easter holidays.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Budget talks are stalled shortly before a self-imposed deadline of March 30 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature. Meanwhile, groups left out of the deal expressed their dismay.

Calling themselves the “coalition of the shafted,” the groups – including advocates for access to birth control, bail reform and better voter access – stood on the “Million Dollar Staircase” to criticize the direction of the budget talks.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Talks on the state budget were stalled just days before the April 1 deadline, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers continued negotiations. Groups pressing for additional issues that are in the governor’s budget plan still have not given up hope.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It’s the final stretch in Albany as lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo try to cobble together a new budget before the April 1 deadline.

State Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (D-Syracuse) expects all parties to come to agreement on a $168 billion budget before the deadline. But he said coming up with the money to pay for state spending could derail negotiations between Gov. Cuomo and leaders of the Senate and Assembly.

formulanone / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are negotiating a new anti-sexual harassment policy for state and local government officials as part of the state budget. But several victims of sexual abuse and harassment in the Legislature have come forward with a letter asking that the issue be taken out of the budget.

The letter is signed by sexual harassment victims of former Assembly members Vito Lopez and Micah Kellner, as well as a woman who accuses Senate Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeff Klein of forcibly kissing her, something Klein denies.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

It’s just over a week until the state budget is due, and there’s no resolution on an array of proposed new taxes and spending proposals, as well as several unrelated items that are tied to the budget.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is putting $7 million into his 30-day budget amendments to fund poll sites for early voting in New York by the 2020 presidential race.

The funds would be used to set up at least one polling site in every county 12 days before Election Day so that voters can have several weekdays and two full weekends before elections to cast their ballot early.

Cuomo’s budget director, Robert Mujica, made the announcement on Monday.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will detail his proposals to help New Yorkers affected by changes to the federal tax law. But Republicans who rule the state Senate are cool to the ideas, including one that creates a payroll tax instead of a state income tax.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget director said 30-day amendments to the governor’s spending plan, which is due out later this week, will include an overhaul of the state’s tax code. It will include plans to ease the effects of the loss of the state and local tax deductions in the new federal tax overhaul.

Robert Mujica said the governor will propose a payroll tax credit program that businesses could use instead of the state and local income tax system.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a $168 billion budget plan that would close an over $4 billion gap by reducing some spending and imposing tax increases on health insurers, big businesses and prescription opioid users, among others. Cuomo said he also wants to look into legalizing marijuana in New York.

“This is going to be challenging, my friends,” Cuomo told lawmakers gathered at the state museum for the budget presentation.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his budget Tuesday, and the news is not expected to be good.

The state faces an over $4.4 billion budget gap, as well as funding cuts and policy changes from Washington that could cost New York and some of its taxpayers billions of dollars.

The governor set the tone in his State of the State speech earlier this month, saying, “2018 may be the toughest year New York has faced in modern history.”

“We have unprecedented challenges ahead on every level,” Cuomo said. 

New York State Senate

Republicans in the State Senate say that, despite the over  $4 billion structural deficit, taxes need to be cut further and a property tax cap must be made permanent.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

With a projected multibillion-dollar deficit and looming federal changes that could cost the state billions more, the biggest obstacle in the upcoming 2018 legislative session will be balancing the state budget.

The second-highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, John DeFrancisco, said the budget will be “horrible” and the worst in at least seven years.

“I think it’s going to be very, very difficult,” DeFrancisco said. “Probably the most difficult budget year the governor has had since he’s been governor.” 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The deputy leader of the state Senate said 2018 will be a difficult year for balancing the state budget.

Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, predicted cutbacks in health care spending to help close a multibillion-dollar deficit.

DeFrancisco said the state’s $4.4 billion projected deficit, combined with potential effects of the federal tax overhaul on New York, will make the next state budget the most difficult one in at least seven years.

“It’s going to be a horrible budget,” DeFrancisco said.

Catherine Loper / WRVO News (file photo)

Two reports issued in recent days indicate that Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be facing his most difficult budget in seven years.

The midyear financial report by the governor’s budget office has lowered revenue estimates by $850 million for the current budget year and the next two years. And it finds that next year’s projected deficit is now at $4.4 billion, if spending growth continues unchecked.

Cuomo began sounding the alarm weeks before the report was released.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News file photo

The state’s comptroller is siding with Gov. Andrew Cuomo over concerns that federal health care cuts will damage New York’s budget, but he said the governor’s budget experts should have saved more money in rainy day funds.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said Cuomo is right to draw attention to over a billion dollars in potential health care cuts to the state, now that Congress and President Donald Trump have postponed acting on a new federal budget.

stgermh / Flickr

New York could be facing its first major shortfall in several years, partly due to falling tax collections and federal health care and other policy changes. That could leave the state with billions less in state aid.

Lately, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s been sharing some bad news with New Yorkers. Twice in recent days he’s said there could be a multibillion-dollar shortfall in the budget next year.

The first time was at a briefing on how the state would be affected by potential federal Medicaid cuts. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

There’s some good news and some bad news from the state comptroller’s office. The state’s nearly $200 billion pension fund is doing well, thanks in part to the booming stock market, but there are some worrisome signs for the future of New York’s finances.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said the pension fund is up this quarter by 2.9 percent, and has increased 11.5 percent from last year. DiNapoli said he likes to think that he and his staff have invested wisely, but he said a major factor is the booming stock market.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr

The state budget’s been in place for just less than two months, and already there are signs that tax revenues may be significantly lower than expected. Anticipated federal tax reductions later this year may be one of the reasons.

Late on the Friday before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget division released its financial analysis of the new state budget approved in early April.

If you look closely at the numbers, they show that tax revenues reported in May declined by just over $600 million from projections made as recently as February.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act into law in Auburn this week, and a big chunk is going to help officials along Owasco Lake clean drinking water threatened by algae blooms.

Auburn Mayor Michael Quill is pleased that the state will pony up about $2 million to help pay for filtration systems meant eliminate toxins produced by the blue-green algae blooms that plague Owasco Lake.

“It’s like having Christmas come early this year," Quill said. 

Catherine Loper / WRVO News (file photo)

State legislators are due back at the Capitol Monday, following a break for Easter and Passover after they passed the new state budget. It contained numerous non-spending items -- like free public college tuition for some middle class students and an expansion of ride-hailing services. So what, if anything, do lawmakers still need to do before adjourning in June?

The Senate and Assembly are scheduled to meet for around two more months this year, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking a week after the budget was approved, told reporters that there isn’t much left to do.

SUNY Oswego / Facebook

After a week of criticism from the left and the right of the political spectrum, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget director is among those defending the state’s new free public college tuition program for some middle-class students.

Conservatives say Cuomo was just trying to win a headline for a potential 2020 presidential campaign by convincing the state Legislature to enact a plan to offer free tuition to middle-class students attending public colleges and universities.

Utica College

Some New York lawmakers and college administrators are worried about what the state's new free tuition policy at SUNY and CUNY could mean for private schools, including those at Utica College. The private college just cut its tuition rate by 42 percent last fall.

Onasill ~ Bill Badzo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the recently enacted state budget included the majority of the priorities that he named in his January State of the State message, including raising the age for adult criminal responsibility from 16 to 18, providing free public college tuition for some middle-class families and allowing ride-hailing services to operate upstate.

Topics such as ethics reform were left out of the final budget package for a reason, the governor said.

Vipal / Creative Commons

Gov. Andrew Cuomo got a lot of what he wanted in the state budget passed earlier this month. But the governor didn't get his way when it came to funding for K-12 education.

He wanted to scrap the basic formula for determining how much funding schools will get – called foundation aid. Lawmakers decided to keep that in place. They also added more than a billion dollars to the funding pot, which comes after years of financial cuts at the K-12 level.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Central New York legislators are split on the recent state budget process. While some see significant gains, others see missed opportunities and purely political motivations.

State Sen. David Valesky with the Independent Democratic Conference said there is a lot to be pleased about in the state's new spending plan.

“By and large I think this was a tremendously successful state budget,” Valesky said.

The budget includes infrastructure investments, college affordability and raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old.

Katie Keier / Flickr

Several central and northern New York legislators are praising the state's new budget as a win for the region's schools, but they say it was a hard-fought battle that is not over yet.

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