ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo is backing up the progressive agenda he shouted about in a rousing State of the State speech a week ago with a financial plan he presented in the measured tones of a CEO.
Cuomo included ways to use a total of $30 billion over several years in expected federal funding to restore communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy. He also plans to use some aid for upstate communities still recovering from tropical storms Irene and Lee in 2011.
Cuomo avoids calling for a tax increases while increasing school aid 4.4 percent. He also funds ways to implement his gun control measures from a week ago.
Cuomo says he also wants to fund marketing and jobs programs aimed at economically struggling upstate communities.
Highlights of the Executive Budget:
The Executive Budget includes:
A Continued Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility
Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget eliminates a budget gap of $1.3 billion in 2013-14 and further lowers the budget gaps projected in future years.
With state finances steadied, New York has the means to target new spending to grow the economy and create jobs and train students for the demands of the 21st Century workforce. The 2013-14 Executive Budget continues to invest in rebuilding New York's economy by funding new initiatives and targeting spending to focus on accelerating the commercialization of new technology to create new businesses, providing additional resources for regional economic strategies guided by the Regional Economic Development Councils, and marketing the state's tourism assets to bolster economic growth, especially Upstate. Major initiatives include:
The 2013-14 Executive Budget allows New York to take the next steps in reimagining state government, allow for even greater transparency and efficiencies, and improve citizen engagement. A new website – www.OpenBudget.NY.gov – has been launched to provide New Yorkers with unprecedented access to information and resources regarding the state budget.
Mandate Relief and Local Government Aid
Building on the significant mandate relief enacted in 2012-13, the Executive Budget provides local government officials with additional tools to manage their finances in a responsible manner. The 2013-14 Budget contains several new proposals to continue to assist localities during this difficult economic period.
The Executive Budget provides support for Superstorm Sandy recovery and rebuilding projects, programs, and other initiatives. Specifically, the Budget includes appropriations of $21 billion for disaster-related recovery, rebuilding and mitigation. An estimated $30 billion of Federal aid will flow through these appropriations or be directly administered by the Federal government, local governments and other entities.
The 2013-14 Executive Budget reflects a continued commitment to supporting improved student outcomes, sustainable cost growth, and equitable distribution of aid. It builds on the foundational work of prior years, and begins the implementation of key recommendations of the New NY Education Reform Commission. The total year-to-year increase in aid for education is $889 million, or 4.4 percent.
Environment and Energy: The Executive Budget increases support for critical environmental protection and energy programs. The Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) will be increased by $19 million to $153 million. The Cleaner, Greener Communities program, administered by NYSERDA to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, will be supplemented by a net $10 million in new state funding. To address a backlog of environmental capital needs, the Budget includes $135 million of new funding for DEC, OPRHP, the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the Olympic Regional Development Authority under the NY Works program. In addition, the Budget provides the financial platform to implement the Moreland Commission recommendations that will strengthen the oversight and enforcement mechanisms of the Public Service Commission.
Health Care: The Executive Budget maintains the Medicaid spending cap enacted in 2011-12 and recommends funding consistent with its provisions. The Budget achieves $125.3 million in savings from public health and aging programs through program reforms, enterprise-wide efficiency measures, and general cost-control efforts in public health and aging programs. In addition, the Executive Budget continues the state's implementation of the New York Health Benefit Exchange that will serve as a centralized marketplace for the purchase and sale of health insurance, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.
Higher Education: To ensure New York's students are prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow, the Executive Budget changes the approach to funding community college workforce and vocational programs. Instead of funding based solely on enrollment, in order to receive State support for these programs, community colleges will be expected to partner with local employers and the Regional Economic Development Councils to identify job training needs. In addition, the Budget provides new funding to community colleges based on performance in measures of student success, including job placement.
Human Services: The Executive Budget provides core supportive services for needy populations and expands upon the 2012-13 Close to Home initiative for youth from outside of New York City to be placed in facilities closer to their home communities. The Executive Budget authorizes the state to undertake up to $100 million over the next five years for "Pay for Success…#157; initiatives, also known as Social Impact Bonds. The program will attract private funding for preventative programming with repayment to investors made only if performance standards are achieved and savings exceed program costs.
Mental Hygiene: Proposed actions for the Mental Hygiene agencies include reforming and restructuring state and local programs and administrative practices, establishing regional centers of excellence for state-operated inpatient psychiatric facilities, enhancing community mental health services, utilizing less costly and more effective in-state community residences, placing aggressive cost controls on agency operations, and maximizing payments from third-party payers. The Executive Budget invests $10 million to ensure that individuals receiving court-ordered services and those being discharged from State psychiatric hospitals have access to services in the community to ensure continuity of care.
Public Safety: The Executive Budget helps to implement the NY SAFE Act, including creating a database for gun permits to allow the state to identify those with a firearms license who no longer legally qualify to possess a firearm. The Budget proposes that an existing $11.4 million in funding for Alternatives to Incarceration be restructured as a competitive grant program targeting the highest risk offenders. The Budget includes legislation to reform the traffic adjudication process will help improve public safety and help reduce the loss of $58 million annually in state revenue that is caused by the existing process.
Revenue Action and Tax Reform: There are no new taxes or fees in the Executive Budget. The Budget proposes to strengthen the state's already robust tax enforcement efforts to ensure all individuals pay their fair share. These provisions, as well as the extension of existing revenue sources, would generate an additional $403 million in collections on an All Funds basis.
Transportation: The Executive Budget includes $300 million of new transportation capital funding under the NY Works program. In addition, the Budget provides operating support totaling $4.7 billion to mass transit systems. The MTA will receive over $4.2 billion, an increase of more than $358 million from 2012-13, and other transit systems will receive over $454 million, which reflects an increase of $23.5 million. The Budget includes $307 million in General Fund support for the MTA to fully offset the revenue impact of the reform of the MTA payroll tax that the Governor signed into law in 2011. The Executive Budget includes approximately $85 million in funding assistance for the Thruway Authority, including the state takeover of costs of the Division of State Police Troop T, that helped eliminate the need for a substantial commercial toll increase.