Albany Round-up

January 23, 2013

No tax increases, layoffs in Cuomo's $143B budget

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is sending a nearly $143 billion budget without tax increases or layoffs to the state Legislature.

The 2013-14 budget proposal introduced Tuesday would be a 5 percent increase over the current spending plan when federal aid for recovery from Superstorm Sandy is included. Without the anticipated federal disaster aid, however, Cuomo's budget proposal increases by less than 2 percent. It includes several increased fees and other small revenue raisers.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, however, is already warning that tax revenues in the current $134 billion budget are failing to meet expectations in a slow economic recovery with high unemployment.

Cuomo's proposal would increase school aid by 4.4 percent and include funding for longer school days while closing a $1.3 billion deficit.

He also wants to fund marketing programs, duty-free shops for New York products and jobs programs aimed at economically struggling upstate communities. Colleges would provide training needed by local businesses while helping to develop new industries.

Cuomo included ways to use a total of $30 billion over several years in anticipated federal funding to restore communities in New York City and on Long Island devastated by Sandy. In a plea to salve a traditional upstate-downstate rift, he plans to use some aid for upstate communities still recovering from the remnants of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.

Cuomo described the state far differently than in his rousing State of the State pep talk Jan. 9. On Tuesday, he said the state has dug itself out of fiscal and political crisis, only to face another one after Sandy hit amid a slow economic recovery.

"The bad news is we have a lot of work to do," the Democratic governor said Tuesday in Albany. "The good news is we have shown in the past two years an amazing ability to do what they said we couldn't do."

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