Local News

March 30, 2014

Cuomo, leaders reach $140B budget deal

Ties tax relief to local government thrift

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have reached an agreement on a nearly $140 billion budget that would provide some tax relief for businesses, homeowners and renters and add $340 million for prekindergarten mainly in New York City.

Details for the budget covering the fiscal year beginning Tuesday were contained in legislation filed by staff overnight Friday. Lawmakers are expected to return Sunday to discuss the deal and vote Monday.

According to the governor’s office, the budget keeps spending growth below 2 percent and increases school aid overall by 5 percent. An estimated $1.5 billion in homeowner tax relief is tied to their local governments staying within a 2 percent tax cap the first year and then advancing consolidation or cost-saving plans the second year.

Cuomo called that “the single most transformative part” of the budget and one of the most difficult points to negotiate, facing pushback from local officials. “I do believe that will create pressure on local governments to find efficiencies,” he said.

The administration estimates the budget at almost $138 billion. An additional $5 billion in the budget is one-time federal aid for ongoing rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy and the rollout of the Affordable Care Act to extend health coverage to uninsured New Yorkers.

The agreement includes public campaign financing for the statewide comptroller’s race. It would authorize matching public funds of $6 for each dollar of eligible contributions with limits of $4 million each for the primary and general election. Good-government advocates are seeking that for all statewide and legislative races.

The deal would also establish a new independent enforcement officer at the board of elections to investigate violations of campaign finance laws and establish some new anti-bribery provisions.

Cuomo told reporters Saturday that if those reforms are approved, he will close the special anti-corruption commission he established last year.

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