Press-Republican

Local News

January 24, 2013

Aspects of governor's budget raise concerns

PLATTSBURGH — The idea of controlling spending in the state budget is welcome news for local officials, but they are hoping for more than that.

“It would have been nice to see some more mandate relief, but I’m not surprised,” Clinton County Legislature Chairman Jimmy Langley (R-Area 7, Peru) said.

This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled his 2013-14 budget plan, which calls for a spending increase of 2 percent, the same as the local property-tax cap that was imposed two years ago.

The $135 billion plan eliminates a budget shortfall of about $1.35 billion.

The governor has done many good things for the state since he took office in 2011, Langley said, but local governments are still struggling.

“What helps them (the state) usually winds up hurting us, and it’s the same people that wind up paying for everything.”

FEWER REPORTS

State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) said the number of reports to be filed with the state will be reduced for many agencies, which should bring some relief.

She also said waivers for some special-education programs that the state required beyond federal statutes will also help, as should improvements in the workers-compensation and unemployment-insurance programs.

“I think there are some things in this plan that will bring some relief and help local governments and employers,” Little said.

NO NEW TAXES

Plattsburgh/North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said he liked the idea that, for the third year in a row, the budget does not include tax or fee hikes.

“We welcome this historic and sustained shift from the past and also welcome commitments to workers-comp and unemployment-insurance reforms,” Douglas told the Press-Republican.

“And we also see several new economic-development tools that we can make work for the North Country, along with significant additional resources for the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) and other transit systems in the state, a positive opportunity for Bombardier, Nova Bus and our transportation-equipment companies.”

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