;

Crunching The Numbers: NYS Budget Proposal 2013-14

By Senator Patty Ritchie
It’s often said that any fiscally sound business, individual or household needs to have a budget in order to be successful and stay on track.  The same goes for New York State.

Just last week, Governor Cuomo unveiled his proposed spending plan. While a lot of the details are still being looked at, provisions of his Executive Budget proposal, such as his commitments to reining in spending and not implementing any new taxes or fees, will help us take a step in the right direction when it comes to continuing to get the Empire State back on track.

As I’ve said before, my top priority this term is job creation.

Contained in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal are significant investments in growing jobs in Central and Northern New York. Specifically, the Governor’s inclusion of $150 million for a third round of Regional Economic Development Council funding will help build on the recent success of this program, which just awarded $184 million to our region to be put towards 155 economy-boosting projects.

We all know that in recent years municipalities have had difficulties making ends meet.  That’s why I was pleased to hear the Governor pledge to do more when it comes to doing away with unfunded mandates.

While this is a start, I remain committed to helping communities cut costs. My Mandate Relief Working Group, made up of local leaders in Central and Northern New York, has already made a few dozen recommendations on how to save money by repealing unfunded mandates, and I look forward to working with them again in the coming year.

Farming is our state’s number one industry, and as chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I have been dedicated to helping our hardworking farmers.

Included in the Governor’s spending plan is funding for a number of critical agriculture programs.

The proposal also includes funding for an initiative that will increase the availability of locally grown hops; building upon legislation I sponsored which helps our state’s growing craft brewery industry through recognizing “Farm Breweries” and cutting taxes and red tape to give our state an edge in this industry.

I have already begun looking at Governor Cuomo’s spending plan in great detail, and will continue to do so in the weeks to come.

I am confident that by working alongside my colleagues, we will be able to pass a fair, on-time budget that supports job creation, strengthens our vital industries and makes New York State a better place to live and work.