Cuomo: State Can’t Handle ‘Dramatic Increases’ In Spending
Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Tuesday in Albany the state cannot handle “dramatic” increases in spending in its budget given the uncertainty on the federal level and potential budget cuts.
At the same time, Cuomo insisted key issues in the spending plan have been largely agreed to, including allowing ride-hailing apps to operate outside of New York City and raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York.
However, the claim should be taken with a grain of salt: Cuomo also said negotiations continued at the Capitol over the budget.
The sticking point stems from, in part, spending over Medicaid and education, typically the two largest portions of the state budget.
Nevertheless, Cuomo insisted the state could handle “modest” increases in spending, such as his $160 million proposal to provide free tuition to SUNY and CUNY schools for families who earn less than $125,000 a year.
“That is certainly a manageable outlay,” Cuomo said of the plan.
“My position is we can handle modest adjustments in the budget,” he added. “We can handle modest increases. We have built in a certain amount of flexibility. We cannot handle dramatic increases.”
Cuomo is raising the potential, too, of an “extender” budget that largely keeps spending in place, though with some additional spending for education.
The federal budget, typically approved at the end of the calendar year, could force the state to open up its own spending plans again, Cuomo said.
“The Legislature loves to increase education,” Cuomo said. “The alternative would be to increase education now and then come back and reduce education. I don’t want to do that.”
Still, progress is being made, Cuomo reiterated.
Budget bills are being printed, possibly as soon as tonight, and the Senate was due to take up a debt service bill today.
“We will have bills tonight because we have agreement on the policy issues,” he said. “The big issue is anticipating the revenue or the revenue shortfall by possible revenue actions.”
The budget is expected to pass by March 31, the end of the state’s fiscal year.
Cuomo, however, raised the possibility of extender bills that fund state government for a short-term period in order to react to federal changes as they come.
But Cuomo also called a barebones style budget also an option.
“That is a possibility, but if we can get a financially reasonable budget that could handle cuts from the federal government, that would be my first option,” he said.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on March 28, 2017 at 2:05 pm, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|