Albany Round-up

March 28, 2012

Cuomo, Legislature strike on-time NY budget deal

ALBANY — New York is poised to embark on a large economic development program, provide more assistance to the poor, and increase spending on public schools under a budget deal announced Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders.

The basic welfare grant for poor families would increase by 10 percent this year, Cuomo will have money to provide incentives for improved schools, and billions in state and federal dollars will be committed to economic development and rebuilding the state's infrastructure, guided in part by a "New York Works" task force to improve coordination of the spending.

"The cornerstone of this budget is the New York Works program," Cuomo said. He called it "a new and smarter strategy for putting New Yorkers back to work by rebuilding our aging infrastructure and helping put our state's economy back on track, just the way we have put our state government back on track."

The joint announcement says the budget deal "closes a multibillion-dollar deficit with no new taxes, fees or gimmicks." The deal would pay in part for a rare if modest tax break of $200 to $400 for most middle-class families. It does not mention a "millionaire tax" adopted in December that raised $2 billion to help subsidize the tax cuts and the annual $300 increases in tuition for five years now under way for the State University of New York and City University of New York.

The dealing on the $132.5 billion budget ended Tuesday after the latest in a string of overnight negotiations. The Legislature is expected to start passing the bills Wednesday and be finished by Friday at the latest. That would result in the second straight on-time budget in a state known for decades for being late.

"We have turned the corner in Albany," said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Nassau County Republican.

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