New York State is poised to pass an on-time budget for the third year in a row.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the state Legislature emerged Wednesday night from their private negotiations to announce not only a budget deal for this year, but also the outlines of a budget for 2014.
Cuomo framed the budget as being “about creating jobs and cutting taxes.”
- A $350 check, sent in 2014 to every family with a child 18 or under at home and with an income of between $40,000 and $300,000;
- A continuation of the so-called Millionaires’ Tax;
- A business tax cut worth $300 million when fully phased in;
- Phasing out a tax on business utility bills, called the 18a surcharge, over several years;
- Tax credits for employers which hire young people or veterans;
- An increase in the minimum wage, starting next year, which grows in 2016 to $9 per hour;
- A plan to allow local governments to pay huge worker pension increases over 25 years;
- An increase in aid to schools of about $100 million more than the Governor’s original $900 million proposal. Exact numbers for local districts are not available yet.
The three-year streak of on-time budgets breaks a string of late budgets that reaches back several decades.
We’ve made a lot of good progress over the last two years,” said Cuomo. “Government can work well and people can put aside their political differences and come together.”
Legislative leaders praised the budget. Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos called the budget “outstanding”. Democratic Senator Jeff Klein, with whom Skelos shares power in the Republicans’ coalition with his Independent Democratic Caucus, said this was “the most family friendly budget I have seen.” Democratic leader of the Assembly Sheldon Silver said the budget “continues our effort to turn around the economy and create jobs in every corner of New York State.”
Budget votes could begin this weekend and will, unless there’s an unanticipated problem, be completed well before the April 1 deadline to deliver a budget.
Watch the leaders’ entire news conference here: