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January 22, 2014

Area leaders OK with Cuomo budget so far

Trying to maintain three-year streak of getting deal on time

PLATTSBURGH — Local government leaders are liking what they heard in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2015-15 budget address Tuesday.

“I think the most important parts are the (tax cut) packages he presented,” City of Plattsburgh Mayor James Calnon said. “That’s marvelous for all of Upstate, particularly us.”

The governor outlined a proposal that would keep spending increases in the $137.2 billion budget under the state tax-levy cap of 2 percent but would also increase funding for Medicaid and education.

As he mentioned in his State of the State address two weeks ago, Cuomo is proposing to reduce the state corporate tax from 7.1 to 6.5 percent, establish a 20 percent property-tax credit for manufacturers and eliminate the net income tax on Upstate manufacturers.

“Anything like that, that can strengthen that sector, is a boon to our economy,” Calnon said.

‘GET TO THE ROOT’

Aid to municipalities would remain about the same, at $715 million, if the governor’s budget passes.

Calnon said that getting more money from the state might help, but in the end, it all comes from the same place.

“The money comes from the taxpayer, whether it’s a state tax or local tax,” he said.

“We need to get at the root of the cause of expenditures if we want to help local governments.”

State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) said the governor’s plan looks like it would provide a boost.

“I think those tax cuts he proposed will help the economy, families and businesses,” she said.

CAUTION OVER PRE-K

Little was also encouraged to see the governor propose an increase in education funding but said it needs to be used wisely.

“I think full-day pre-K is laudable, but we have to make sure it is affordable,” she said.

“We still have schools that don’t even have full-day kindergarten.”

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