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Lawmakers react to Cuomo's budget plan

Karen DeWitt
WRVO News (file photo)

Some state lawmakers are rejecting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal to extend a tax on millionaires.

The spending plan was outlined to some lawmakers at a lunch at the governor’s mansion, but won’t be available to the public until later this evening.

Senate Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan said he’s against a plan by Cuomo to once again extend the tax.

“I like cutting taxes,” Flanagan said.

The Senate leader said he does like Cuomo’s proposal to increase funding for schools by an additional billion dollars. Flanagan said he needs to see more details, though, on a proposal to offer free tuition at public colleges to families with annual incomes of up to $125,000.

“I want free tuition; who doesn’t?” Flanagan said. “But if it means we’re going to lose 10,000 jobs because companies are closing, then what’s the point?”

Flanagan also would like to see private colleges included in the free tuition plan.

The budget also includes middle-class tax cuts for New Yorkers making up to $300,000 a year.

Cuomo’s relationship with the state Legislature has been tense recently, and several senators skipped the briefing. One senator, Republican Tom Croci of Long Island, said he didn’t attend because he disagreed with the governor’s decision to tell lawmakers about the budget before informing the public about how taxpayers’ money would be spent.

The senators were not given a total number for Cuomo’s spending plan, and they received no written documents or bills to read.

Assembly Democrats received their own budget briefing over dinner at the governor’s mansion. The media got briefed after that.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.