2013-14 State Budget Address Liveblog
3:06 p.m. Cuomo wraps it up.
And…Unsurprisingly, the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) is not at all happy with the governor’s proposals to close more prisons. Here’s part of President Dan Rowe’s statement:
“Governor Cuomo has, once again, decided to balance the budget on the backs on some of the hardest working New Yorkers.”
“It is a profoundly disappointing decision. New York’s Correction Officers have some of the most dangerous jobs in the state; jobs that were made more dangerous by the budgetary decisions of this administration just two years ago.”
“Now, the Governor is looking for even more sacrifice from a group that has already given more than their fair share.”
3:04 p.m. Cuomo calling out the “cynics” and “naysayers” who didn’t believe he and the Legislature couldn’t get things done. “We showed them wrong, and we showed them wrong in an incredibly profound way.”
Legislature and state has gone from being a dysfunctional joke to breaking ground at the national level, the governor says.
“The best news is we are New Yorkers….when the situation is darkest, that’s when we shine the brightest.”
3:03 p.m. Cuomo: The federal relief package doesn’t just help people impacted by Sandy, but also those still struggling to rebuild after Irene and Lee.
“This will give us an ability that we didn’t have last year to go back and make a difference.” Showing maps of areas eligible to get cash: “This map just so happens to go around Tom Libous’ house.”
2:59 p.m. Cuomo tells story of homeowner whose house was on stilts and didn’t get flooded out. “I would rather invest more, make the right design change, do the mitigation, and rebuild that house once, rather than us rebuilding every year”…pay more, do it right, and save money in the long term.
2:56 p.m. For Sandy rebuilding effort, the administration will ask the Legislature to expand the design-build legislation that allowed the administration to do the Tappan Zee fast.
2:53 p.m. Hurricane Sandy focus. 300,000 properties, 2,000 miles of roads, massive infrastructure rebuilding…”this is going to be years and years and years, and it has to happen fast…it’s a massive situation that’s going to be protracted for a long period of time that requires immediate assistance on a grand scale; we have not done any of this in this government possibly ever.”
Shout-outs to Sen. Chuck Schumer, Reps. Pete King and Michael Grimm for pushing Sandy relief measures in Congress.
New York will get about half of $60B approved.
Rebuilding plans executed on state and community levels. State will do basic infrastructure, housing economic, development programs…at the same time, want individual communities to come up with their own individualized reconstruction, redevelopment plan.
“We can’t sit here in Albany” and tell the Rockaways or Bayside what to do. The process of them coming together and healing themselves is important.
2:48 p.m. Proposed Tier 6 Savings Financing Plan – basically financing against the savings in the out years. Rates higher in out years when the new tier kicks in, but lower now “when local governments are truly feeling fiscal stress.”
Example: $12M savings for Syracuse, 4 percent of the budget. (The city is in major fiscal distress, BTW. Mayor Miner has said if Albany doesn’t provide help soon, the city could be bankrupt within a year or two).
Cuomo reiterates creation of Financial Restructuring Assistance Task Force – as proposed in the State of the State – to help cities like Syracuse and other local governments facing financial trouble.
2:45 p.m. Mandate relief. This year we want to continue to give Medicaid assistance, last year we started by taking over the growth. This year we’ll assume another $111M.
Binding arbitration will expire on July 1, 2013. Current statute directs arbitrators to consider “ability to pay,” which is not defined. Change to say if government is “under fiscal distress” – with formula to come – ability to pay limited to 2 percent increase for that contract, like the property tax cap.
2:43 p.m. Propose to close two “least efficient” prison facilities. Bayview in Manhattan, now vacant, $74K to keep an inmate there, per year. Beacon in Dutchess County, 53 percent vacancy.
“Not right,” Cuomo says. “We can’t afford it.”
Extend the “close to Home” model for juvenile justice, closing four additional non-secure institutions, 88 beds, save $1.4M annually.
2:42 p.m. $1B housing initiative, $100M of that for Hurricane Sandy recovery. (Cash for this does NOT come from the budget).
2:41 p.m. Add $15M to EPF and strengthen bottle bill enforcement, generate estimated $4M to $8M, also this year, would boost fund by $19M.
2:37 p.m. Economic development. Keeps the regional grant competition running at the same amount. Round III.
$5m performance grant to incentivize community colleges to place students in “high demand” jobs. “A different orientation for the community college system.”
The “Buffalo Billion” – $100M for the second installment this tear. $60M for stadium renovation to get the Bills to stay in WNY.
“For $60 million, the Bills better win this year, my friends,” Cuomo says. “Talk about performance funding.”
$5 M for competitive upstate regional tourism marking campaign.
$110 M for another round of NY SUNY2020 and NY CUNY2020.
Film production tax credit, has worked well, but has been year to year. Continuation for five years, under Cuomo’s plan.
Historic preservation tax credit (vetoed last year because it wasn’t in the budget). Cuomo wants it funded. Big win for Sen. Mark Grisanti.
Upstate casions: Estimated $150 M revenue for schools and property tax relief starting in 2016. (10 percent of revenue to education, 10 percent to local governments hosting the casinos).
Minimum wage increase 7.25 to 8.72. Total wage increase: $1B a year, workers will spend and sales tax will increase, the governor says.
2:35 p.m. Teacher evaluation system is “a success,” the governor says, and only a “handful” of districts (6) haven’t complied – not said: That includes the state’s largest district, NYC, which actually saves the state $240 million for its deficit reduction goal.
The increase in education aid is again linked to teacher evaluation plan approval by SED because most districts have only one year plans.
2:33 p.m. On education: 3 percent increase, as per index established last year $611 million. On top of that, Cuomo proposes pension and fiscal stabilization adjustment, adds $203 million “recognition of the pressure of pensions and the current economy.”
Also: State of the State education initiatives: $75 million. So, all told $889 million – 4.4 percent – INCREASE in education spending. $300 per student over last year.
A “significant” increase, Cuomo says, and “I am happy to propose it.”
over two years we will have increased education spending $1.7 B. (This apparently does not include the major cut in Cuomo’s first budget).
2:31 p.m. Spending overview: 1.6 percent state operating funds, all funds – without Hurricane Sandy and without Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) under 2 percent – up to 2.6 with those two and 5.2 percent with Sandy.
2:29 p.m. So, how to close the gap? Largely through efficiencies in state government operations, Cuomo says.
“Better debt management” saves $128 million, workers comp reform allows release of reserves $250 million, efficiencies in Tax and Finance $35 million.
This includes $533 million worth of THIS YEAR spending laid out in State of the State, including, but not limited to: Community schools, full day K, pre-K and longer school days and year.
Also: Expand NYSUNY2020 to NY CUNY2020, affordable housing ($1B over five years, funding comes from Sunnie Mae and HFA restructuring).
Innovation hot spots funded by ESDC.
Truly significant spending this budget anticipates is the proposed budget for Hurricane Sandy clean-up. $3.6B in spending over the next year – all federal aid.
Also: Chief judge, AG and state comptroller have come in with “flat spending.” Cuomo asks for a round of applause. And the audience complies.
2:26 p.m. Cuomo: “If the government is working, and the government is working well, the budget is supposed to be simple…a relatively simple exercise”(assuming you take politics out of the process).
The 2013-24 budget gap is…$13 billion. WOOPS! They put the decimal point in the wrong place – such a prankster, our governor. It’s actually $1.3 billion.
Cuomo jokes to the Senate GOP leader: “Dean, you can start breathing again, Dean.”
So, how to close that? What we don’t do: No new taxes.
2:21 p.m. Cuomo: “This is not just about a budget. It’s about producing result for people.”
2:19 p.m. And…the of the first negative reaction to Cuomo’s budget proposal is already out, and he his budget address is barely underway.
Mental health advocates are railing against a change in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal Tuesday that gives prescribing authority to health plan managers rather than doctors.
The move would cut costs, if approved, as managers will be able to prescribe less expensive medications. While lower-cost medicine might not cause problems for patients with routine ailments, advocates warn the effects of this policy on the seriously mentally ill could be disastrous.
The change would reverse a provision in last year’s budget known as the “prescriber prevails” policy. It had guaranteed that doctors would have final say.
“This decision should not be left to health plans,” Glenn Liebman, CEO of the state Mental Health Association, said in a statement. “In these difficult times, we must have strong protections for people with psychiatric disabilities.”
2:16 p.m. The governor starts off with a litany of successes from budgets past.
He notes “the taxpayer’s pocket is not a bottomless piggyback,” and also says “entrepreneurial government is not an oxymoron” – in other words, according to Cuomo, partners with the business community.”
That’s the definition of “New New York,” Cuomo says, adding: “You think you knew New York? Come take a second look.”
2:13 p.m. Cuomo: “This is a day of births and expectant births.”
Notes Silver’s absence and explains that his daughter, Michelle, “who goes by the nickname of ‘Rookie,’ has had a boy after five girls. The speaker is literally at this bris today, so as we would say in Italian, Mazel Tov to the Speaker.”
“And Bob, if you need a mohel recommendation, I know where you can get one.”
(For those of you who are not aware, here’s a link that will explain the definition of “mohel”).
2:12 p.m. Cuomo takes the stage and says: “Mr. Robert Megna, 20 years in the budget division. I remember that when it started, it was an alternative to incarceration program at the time…Megna’s the definition of stamina, I want you to know. Bob Megna, give him a round of applause.”
Also, a shout-out to Duffy: “You couldn’t ask for a better public servant.”
2:10 p.m. Megna: The Cuomo administration has established “a fiscally responsible blueprint for New York.”
The reforms enacted by the governor and the Legislature has moved our state past the era of perpetual budget crisis.
Megna says he has an unusually personal reason for wanting an on-time budget this year (remember: it’s due April 1) – he’s going to become a father again for the first time in 27 years – “the due date is in March; we need to get done.”
An audible “WOW” could be heard in the crowd.
2:05 p.m.(ish) We are kicking things off almost right on time at The Egg, where LG Bob Duffy has already started his introductory remarks for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2013-14 executive budget address.
This is a nice change from the State of the State address, which started quite late.
All the usual suspects are in the room, with the exception of state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is attending the bris of his latest grandson.
Duffy has introduced state Budget Director Bob Megna, who says New York is “worlds away from where we were 10 years ago.”
And he should know, noting: “I have taken part in 20 budgets – and saying that out loud makes me want to cry – this used to be a process mired in partisan gridlock…the major difference between then and now is that we have taken politics out of the budget process, and put professionalism into the budget process.”
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