Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cuomo's Budget will be "Good"

Following a press conference on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo answered questions about the ongoing budget process, concluding that he will deliver a good budget for the people of New York.
He argued that in all his campaigning to become governor, his argument was that the state needs a good budget. On Tuesday, Cuomo said the state will get a good budget, whether on-time or through budget extenders that he introduces after the April 1 deadline.
According to Cuomo, the three areas holding up the budget are prison closures, education funding and health care plans. Prison closures have become a major stumbling block for Senate Republicans, who are the majority and seem hesitant to blindly accept his prison closure task force. The governor acknowledged that he is concerned about the issue of prison closures holding up the budget process.
Cuomo went on to say that he was optimistic about passing a budget on time. “I’m optimistic because I have to be,” he said. “We’re going to do what hasn’t been done in decades.” He argued that it was policy holding up the budget this year, as there weren’t a lot of money issues to debate, considering “we don’t have any money.”
The governor also reiterated previous statement about his support for including rent control legislation and a property tax cap in the budget, but acknowledged that he was doubtful about this possibility. “I don’t think it will happen,” he concluded.
One area of contention going forward could be the SUNY five-year tuition plan, which was voted on by the SUNY honchos on Tuesday. They were adamant about retaining SUNY money in the system and not using it for other state projects, which the governor coldly suggested had "merit" and was worth further discussion. Cuomo's reluctance to commit to this sort of "lock box" most likely stems from the popularity of sweeping SUNY funds into other areas.
Cuomo als addressed the push back he was getting on his proposed regional economic development councils from the legislature and revealed that the leaders have mentioned their concerns. “We took money that was theirs,” he said about the leaders’ rationale for opposing his plan. When a reporter suggested not spending the capital investment money at all, Cuomo got very protective of his pet project and said that he needs money for economic development projects.

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