Cuomo, Legislature reach deal on balanced, on-time state budget

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For the second year in a row Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have reached an agreement on an on-time, balanced budget.
For the second year in a row Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have reached an agreement on an on-time, balanced budget.

For the second straight year, state politicians have reached an agreement on an on-time balanced budget.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the $132.6 billion budget in a joint statement with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Tuesday, March 27.

“For the second straight year, New York State has worked and created a balanced budget based on fiscal responsibility, job creation, government efficiency and the premise that we must invest in our communities,” Cuomo said.

This is the second consecutive year with an overall cut in spending, the first time this has happened in the last 30 year, the governor’s office said.

The Legislature is expected to pass the budget by Friday, two days before the state’s fiscal year begins on Sunday, April 1.

Skelos said that Albany has “turned the corner” and “puts [the Legislature] in a position to deliver another early budget that controls spending and taxes.”

Last year’s budget was the first on-time spending plan since 2006.

“This budget includes much needed increases in education spending, including an increase in base aid for community colleges for the first time in five years, and vital restorations to programs that protect our state’s neediest citizens,” said Silver.

The budget also established the New York Works Task Force which will “invest billions of dollars to rebuild the state’s roads, bridges, parks and other infrastructure and create tens of thousands of jobs.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg hailed the budget as the best for the city in a decade.

“Finally, an almost unprecedented accomplishment: it appears that the budget includes no new unfunded mandates for New York City. We are hopeful this commitment to fiscal responsibility continues throughout the rest of the legislative session,” the mayor said.

Bloomberg also praised Cuomo’s “bold leadership in “making Albany work for the people – and for the City of New York.”

Other budget highlights include:

- Maintaining a 2 percent growth in year to year state spending.

- An $805 million increase in education spending to approximately $20.4 billion.

- A 5 percent increase in June to the welfare grant followed by another 5 percent in October.

- An additional $31.3 million in support for community colleges.

- Providing $14.3 million for urban and rural community-based organizations that help create home ownership opportunities and assist with the development and management of affordable rental housing.

- Supplying $9 million for the continuation of mortgage foreclosure counseling services.