Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has created a new website that is intended to be New Yorkers’ one-stop site for information about the $136 billion state budget he proposed today. The website includes charts and graphics, historical budget information, comparisons of budgeted and actual spending and other features.
The budget plan, which now goes to the Legislature, would increase spending by 1.9 percent, close a $1.3 billion budget gap without imposing any new taxes or fees, and boost education spending by $889 million — 4.4 percent. The 2013-14 budget year begins April 1.
The governor also wants to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.75 an hour; implement changes to the workers’ compensation system to save $900 million; and save $974 million through government consolidation.
The budget has received mixed reactions. Mike Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business/New York, said the budget plan “maintains the theme of fiscal responsibility, continues to right-size state government and closes the current budget gap while rejecting any new tax increases.” The group also likes the proposal to reform the workers compensation and unemployment systems. It is not in favor of a minimum-wage hike.
Danny Donohue, president of the Civil Service Employees Association, said a flat budget would negatively impact state operations, “especially considering the cuts, closures, downsizing and upheaval in that area over the past several years.” The union also opposes the governor’s pension refinancing plan that would allow local governments and school districts to “lock in” long-term, stable pension contribution rates for a period of years so the pensions become fully financed.
This is what Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said about Cuomo’s budget:
“We have to analyze the proposals Governor Cuomo made today, but clearly they are a major step in the right direction, especially the proposed pension relief, and the reform of the arbitration law to consider the public’s ability to pay in determining raises. The Governor clearly understands the health of the cities is the key to the health of New York, and his budget contains some major steps in the right direction.”