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Cuomo’s budget proposal brings ups, downs for CNY

— Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented a $132.5 billion budget on Tuesday, Jan. 17, earning praise from some and derision from others.

Cuomo’s proposal increases the state’s operating budget by 1.9 percent, bringing the total to $88.7 billion, an increase of $1.7 billion. State operating funds exclude federal funds and long-term capital spending. With those funds included, the state budget, according to Cuomo’s plan, is $132.5 billion for the fiscal year that begins April 1, 2012. The number actually represents a decrease of $225 million since 2011-12. It calls for several economic development initiatives, streamlining of the state government, mandate relief, educational reform and more – all of which will have an impact on Central New York.

The good

Several aspects of Cuomo’s budget proposal will provide significant benefits to local taxpayers, both in the short- and long-term. The New York Works Fund and Task Force is an economic development team that aims to spur growth in the state. Public funds will be used to start development, but they’ll be used to encourage private investment. The initiative calls for $1.3 billion in taxpayer money to invite up to $25 billion in investment from other sources, including private companies, the federal government and authorities, to allow major projects to move forward that will create jobs and improve the state’s infrastructure. Though no specific projects have yet been outlined in Central New York, Morgan Peters from the New York State Budget Office said they are planned.

In addition, Cuomo’s plans for mandate relief will, if implemented, relieve some of the burden placed on property taxpayers.

“I think people’s eyes kind of glaze over when you talk about mandate relief,” said Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. “But when you tell them that these mandates keep their property taxes from funding county programs because they’re all going to these state mandates, they stop and listen.”

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