Local News

January 24, 2013

Aspects of governor's budget raise concerns



“It’s just less bureaucracy,” she said.

Duprey also said that while there is some mandate relief in the budget, she would like to see more.

“It’s the beginning, but it’s better than the nothing that we’ve had,” she said.

“But overall it looks like a good package.”

Little said she believes the budget will be approved by the April 1 deadline, as it has the past two years.

“We’ve proven we can do it, so I don’t see why we can’t do it again,” she said.

Newly elected Assemblyman Dan Stec said his impression of Cuomo’s budget was also favorable.

“He’s under 2 percent with his tax increase. That’s a good sign. The devil is in the details, though. Overall, I wish I had seen more specifics on mandate relief.”

Stec said he is watching two budget items that can have a big impact on local municipalities: pension contributions and Cuomo’s proposal to flatten local contribution rates against future Tier 6 savings.

“The governor is saying that we can shift (pension contribution costs) from local municipalities so that it’s flatter, so local governments get immediate benefit. I like even better that he’s proposing making (payment structure) optional for municipalities. They can either pay as they have been or lock into the flatter rate.”


Both Stec and Maroun championed Cuomo’s burgeoning plan to cap binding-arbitration increases to 2 percent.

The provision would curtail police and fire personnel pay increases that have gone to arbitration for decision — a process that often results in costs beyond what taxpayers and local budgets can sustain.

“Binding-arbitration legislation is huge,” Maroun said. “I was happy to see his budget proposal that, whenever there is binding arbitration, the pay raises shouldn’t exceed 2 percent. An arbiter has the force of law when police and fire contracts go to arbitration — it’s not a mediation. It’s entirely out of the local government’s hands. But the problem for local governments is, how do you match that against the 2-percent tax cap?”

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