State Leaders: Budget is Responsible, Lacks Mandate Relief
State lawmakers representing Cortland and surrounding counties say they generally support the Governor’s budget, but say the devil is in the details.
Republican State Senator Jim Seward and Republican Assemblyman Gary Finch both agreed that the proposed budget appears to be fiscally responsible, it holds the line on spending with no new taxes. The budget also includes funds for economic development and job creation.
Seward says he plans to work with the Governor to ensure that vital programs backing agriculture, tourism and small business are part of the final budget.
Cuomo also claims his budget will save businesses $900 million through changes to the state’s workers’ compensation insurance rules.
Finch complained that the Governors budget is light on mandate relief for local government and schools. Finch says this budget does not include the type of lasting relief that taxpayers are looking for.
State aid to municipalities will remain flat; however municipalities that look to streamline operations or consolidate can tap into a $79 million incentive fund based on performance and efficiencies.
The budget looks to offer some mandate relief in the state pension fund, municipalities and schools would be able to lock-in long-term pension contributions.
The budget also would grant more local authority in setting sales tax rates, and ease reporting requirements for local government potentially saving thousands of dollars.
The Governor is also promising to improve services at the Department of Motor Vehicles, making waits at local DMV offices 30 minutes or less by early 2014. Drivers who plead down speeding tickets would face higher court fees; Cuomo also proposes suspending the driver's licenses of New Yorkers who owe more than $10,000 in state taxes.