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January 24, 2013

Aspects of governor's budget raise concerns

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH —

COLLEGE SUPPORT

But local legislators are also watching closely where state cuts end up in this budget.

“The state’s funding support is down to 28 percent for community colleges, where it once was 33 percent,” Maroun said. “We can’t continue to make up the difference locally. My stance in the county and the village is going to be: Whenever the state reduces their share to a program, we are not, as local governments, going to pick up the difference.

“You can’t hold town, school or county budgets to the 2 percent (tax-cap) level and then make them look bad by seeking approval to go over that cap because you cut the money to local government.”

In Essex County, Moriah Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava, who is also chairman of the County Finance Committee, shared that concern.

“We’re under a 2-percent tax cap limit now. And that is more difficult to achieve if the state is cutting funding for, for instance, our mandated programs, especially in human-services agencies.

“In Moriah, we’ve been able to maintain the tax cap, as have most towns. But in the county, most of our services are mandated by the state,” Scozzafava said Wednesday.

ENVIRONMENTAL FUND

Maroun expressed some concern with Cuomo’s proposal to bring the Environmental Protection Fund up to $153 million, an increase of $19 million, most of which is coming from unclaimed bottle-deposit receipts.

“I was a little surprised he is kicking up the EPF fund. I think the Finch Pruyn land purchase is part of it. But if it’s adding monies so he can announce the state is buying Follensby (in Tupper Lake), then I’m concerned.

“We can’t keep buying state land,” Maroun said. “We can’t take care of the state lands and forests we’ve got.”

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