Last minute rallies and chants for more education funding echoed through the halls of the Capitol Thursday afternoon.
While big issues like education funding are still being worked out, Assemblyman John McDonald said overall, things are moving along pretty well as elected officials work the $175 billion dollar spending plan.
“This is the seventh budget that I have been involved with,” explained McDonald. “What’s been very interesting to me is we are actually spending time negotiating and talking about the fiscal items— the items that actually cost money. Not spending our time on policy items that can be dealt with towards the end of the legislative session.”
McDonald said aid to municipal governments, known as AIM, will likely be restored in this year’s budget.
“It was gonna be cut to local governments which would have meant an increase of taxes to the tax payers. And just as importantly, I think that we are going to see permanently the local government tax cap,” McDonald stated.
Although the property tax cap has already been passed in the senate, Governor Andrew Cuomo is making it a budget priority. Senator George Amadore is in favor and would like to see more done.
“The property tax cap is a good step, marking the property tax cap permanent, but it does not bring property tax relief. I’m talking about reducing the property tax bill. Having the state take over a potion of the county’s Medicaid bill portion will bring significant property tax relief and that should be in this year’s budget. I hope to see it,” he said.
The lawmakers are hopeful that the budget will pass on time Sunday night.