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Driscoll visits Caz Library, presents 2012-13 NYS budget

President of the Environmental Facilities Corporation Matt Driscoll presents Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2012-13 state budget to a crowd of more than 20 area residents and local officials, Feb. 3 in the Cazenovia Public Library.

President of the Environmental Facilities Corporation Matt Driscoll presents Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2012-13 state budget to a crowd of more than 20 area residents and local officials, Feb. 3 in the Cazenovia Public Library. Photo by Pierce Smith.

— Education is a priority for Cuomo, who aims to increase graduation rates and establish a statewide teacher evaluation system. Driscoll said regarding education, New York is currently No. 1 in spending and No. 38 in graduation rates nationwide. While a legal debate is pending between the State Education Department and New York State United Teachers, the state could stand to lose 700 million in federal funding. If an assessment system for instructors is not agreed upon within the next month, Cuomo said the state legislature will establish a system.

Reimagining the government entails the consolidation of state agencies and the elimination of hundreds of programs Cuomo believes to be redundant and obsolete. Driscoll said the government plans to cap administrative costs and focus on spending and efficiency as well as the enhancement of numerous job-training and housing programs.

In closing, Driscoll extended a plea to audience members and all state residents for their involvement and understanding moving forward. “The governor has asked me, as well as the other … cabinet members … to illicit your help,” he said. “It is important that people’s voices are heard, because people make a difference.”

Following the presentation, all audience members were given the opportunity to ask Driscoll questions. Inquiries included topics such as future regional economic development councils, alternatives energy sources, how new gaming regulations will affect the public and how to boost tourism and agriculture upstate.

As the budget continues to be presented and examined, Cuomo will look to adopt the plan in time for the start of the new fiscal year on April 1. For more information on the 2012-13 proposed budget, call (518) 474-8390 or visit ny.gov.

Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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