Cuomo’s Budget Address: Slash State Deficit and Increase Education Aid - The Jewish Voice
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Friday, May 20, 2022

Cuomo’s Budget Address: Slash State Deficit and Increase Education Aid

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Last Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the 2013-2014 Executive Budget, revealing New York State’s budget for the next year.

The Governor’s newly proposed plan eliminates $1.3B from the deficit, and continues slight economic growth at less than two percent, which has been a trend over the past two years. The budget also focuses on pension reform, education, and improving critical infrastructure post Hurricane Sandy, which is likely to create jobs.

The budget also increases education aide by $889M, 4.4 percent, or 300 dollars per student per year.

After years of “dallying and opposition and lack of progress,” Mr. Cuomo said regarding the success of the education aid program, “we agreed on an evaluation system and then we said to the school districts across the state, we want you to adopt it, we want you to adopt it by the end of the year, and if you don’t, you’re not going to get the increase of 4% that we promised in the budget. Well my friends, the 4% agreement worked; 99% of the school districts have submitted a teacher evaluation test already ahead of the deadline.”

The 2013 Executive Budget also targets economic development spending to accelerate the commercialization of new technologies, such as energy efficiency. Additionally, the plan launches the third round of the regional economic development councils and bolsters tourism upstate.

“We have regional economic development partnerships that are a tremendous success and frankly working better than anyone could have anticipated,” Cuomo said Tuesday, “and they are the foundation of our economic development efforts.”

Gov. Cuomo also proposed a reform of the workers compensation system, which saves districts more than $900M. This also includes nearly $974M in savings from cost control efforts in government. Cuomo would also raise minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75 as of July 1.

“The bad news is we have a lot of work to do,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “The good news is we have shown in the past two years an amazing ability to do what they said we couldn’t do.”

Cuomo also took the stand Tuesday to announce the launch of OpenBudget.ny.gov, a new website that gives New York City residents unprecedented access as to how New York City spends its nearly $70B annual budget.

“Open Budget is bringing the people back into government by taking budget data out of government file cabinets and making it available to the public for the first time in an easy-to-access, downloadable form. This will facilitate research, analysis, and innovation,” Governor Cuomo said. “As a first step in my Open New York initiative, Open Budget provides a powerful tool for transparency and accountability, fostering citizen engagement and enhancing the public’s trust in government.”

With that, residents can check up on wasteful and improper spending of public money. Consequently, New York City further solidifies that it is the leader in the nation in financial transparency. Open Budget’s charts and information are available to the public in coordination with the Governor’s Executive Budget address.

“Checkpoint NYC 2.0 is probably the most powerful fiscal transparency website in the US, maybe the world. It’s a civic technology home run for New Yorkers,” said John Kaehny, Co-Chair of the NYC Transparency Working Group. “It allows the public to cast an independent eye on city spending, and will be an open source – which means governments and transparency groups across the country can reuse it to shine a light on their own city or state.”

Meanwhile, the Governor must submit a revised version of the budget to include additional details. The deadline for Cuomo and the Legislature to agree on revisions is April 1, however, since the Legislature is not in session between March 22 and April 7, indicating that the actual deadline may be tighter than the proposed deadline suggests.

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