Morning Read: Historic state budget passes, questions remain

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s rise to power in Albany — and his uncompromising approach to state budget talks — culminated late last night in a budget vote that afforded him almost complete victory.

Democrats in the Assembly accepted Cuomo’s austerity budget, one that cuts schools, healthcare, prisons, and other programs without raising taxes or prolonging a tax on the state’s wealthiest citizens that most New Yorkers favor.

This from the Wall Street Journal.

Passage of the budget, which won broad, bipartisan support in both chambers, marked the first time since 2006 that Albany completed the task by the April 1 due date.

“Tonight the legislature not only passed an on-time budget, but a historic and transformational budget,” Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat and former attorney general, said in a statement.

The North Country’s delegation largely praised the spending plan, though state Senator Betty Little continued to raise concerns about possible state prison closures.  Her office released this statement:

“The final budget includes a prison system capacity reduction plan.  I’ve spoken with the governor about this issue, he has acknowledged the economic impact of closing a facility on rural areas and he is committed to working with us to ensure that we approach this in a rational and fair way.

“Although not included in the final plan, I have also offered numerous ideas for administrative savings.  Savings are needed, but we can’t compromise on prison safety.”

Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, meanwhile, released this statement:

“This year’s budget process was a step in the right direction when it comes to providing the spending restraint necessary to put our state back on the right track.

“It featured the compromise and transparency that has been sorely lacking in past years, while providing tax credits and incentives that will help revitalize the economy and bring the private sector back to life.

“It is my hope that by enacting a budget that is fiscally responsible and does not introduce new broad-base tax increases, we will be able to attract jobs to the North Country while closing the majority of our out-year budget gap.”

So what do you think?  A big step toward fiscal sanity?  Too much pain for the poor, and too little for the rich?  A historic sign that Albany can actually get things done?  Comments welcome.

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15 Comments on “Morning Read: Historic state budget passes, questions remain”

  1. Bret4207 says:

    A small step in the right direction. I have a feeling this summer will be interesting. Cuomo will have a fight on his hands if he thinks he’s actually in charge. Stand by for Silver bullets!

  2. erb says:

    Telling that Little is willing to speak against prison closures, but not school aid cuts.

  3. Pete Klein says:

    Both Senator Betty Little and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward need to be concerned about the situation of our local schools. If we lose them, we are dead in the water.
    If you think the population in Hamilton County suffered a major drop in population over the past ten years, that drop will be considered moderate if the schools in Long Lake, Indian Lake, Speculator and Wells are lost and kids are then sent out to schools outside the county.
    No parent in their right mind would stay here or consider moving to Hamilton County if their kids had to be bused to school as much as 50 miles.
    Lose those parents and their kids and it’s curtains for everyone. Everyone would leave. Even the part-timers would leave because there would be no one left to cut their grass, shovel their snow or provide fire protection and ambulance service.
    The fantasy of consolidation needs to stop!

  4. Paul says:

    Pete, the original plan for the Adirondack Park is starting to come to fruition. You will start to see it first in the parts of the Adirondacks with the highest amounts of Forest Preserve like Hamilton county. It will happen more slowly on the periphery and around the population centers. The loss of public sector jobs will accelerate it in those areas.

  5. Pete Klein says:

    Paul, what you suggest is popular but I don’t believe it is valid.
    The salvation for Hamilton County could come from an unlikely source. The part-time residents, seasonal if you prefer.
    The population figures tell only a portion of the story.
    The census also found that about 76% of the housing in Hamilton County is owned by part-time residents, leaving only 24% owner occupied year-round!
    I would presume those part-time residents would like to continue to receive the services provided by town and county governments, and the services provided by individuals such as cutting grass, plowing snow from driveways, not to mention what the small businesses provide.
    I don’t think it is a stretch to believe that once the part-timers look at the big picture, they will see it is in their best interest to save the schools.
    And let’s not forget it was the environmental groups that joined with local governments to make certain the state pays its taxes on the land it owns.
    I think it is high time to realize that not every anti APA, anti Adirondack Park group that claims to be for the locals really gives a hoot for the locals but is/are really special interest groups that have an agenda that does nothing for the year round residents.

  6. Walker says:

    Paul, I don’t think there is anything planned about the recent loss of public sector jobs in the Adirondacks. We’re talking mostly about prison jobs, and we got those in the first place as a result of the Rockefeller drug laws. The closing of prisons is a direct result of the repeal of the drug laws. Seems to me that Adirondack towns were indirect beneficiaries of the adoption and victims of the repeal.

    The other lost public sector jobs are due to the recession, which is largely over in Manhattan, which is where the bulk of our tax revenue comes from. State coffers should be in good shape within a year or two, and I’d be surprised if staffing cuts aren’t restored.

  7. Bret4207 says:

    That’s quite a crystal ball you have there Walker. I fervently pray you are right. My gut tells me you’re dead wrong.

  8. oa says:

    My gut tells me it’s way past breakfast.

  9. Walker says:

    Bret, I’m just going on multiple news stories of record corporate profits in banking and finance. Another recent sign– the ACR’s Foxman announcing that he expects sales of his great camp lots to do well because the housing slump is over for the high end real estate market. And I don’t know that high end Manhattan real estate ever did take much of a hit.

  10. Pete Klein says:

    Just for the record and I did check this recently, it is possible to get a nice two bedroom apartment for $700 in a decent neighborhood in both the Bronx and Manhattan.
    And just for the record, I forgot to mention this in my last post, I’m not sure if was in the past ten or twenty years but the percentage proportion of part-time homes in Hamilton County has risen from about 50% to the current 76%.
    I might also add those looking for a part-time home are no longer looking for just water front. Recently a house in the Village of Speculator was purchased (about $86,000) as a part-time resident. It was formerly owned by a full-time resident.
    And let’s remember the proposed ACR Great Camps are not water front.

  11. Walker says:

    Pete, you ought to grab that $700 two bedroom apartment in a good Manhattan neighborhood quick, and sublet it for $1500! I just did a quick search and the cheapest thing I could find was an $850 studio.

    But Pete, the bottom of any market doesn’t really tell you much about the top. How about an article talking about the terrible depression in the luxury housing market in the city.

  12. Pete Klein says:

    Walker,
    What is terrible about a depression in the luxury housing market anywhere?
    The housing mess was created by people who saw property as a way to make a buck rather than a place to live and raise of family.

  13. Walker says:

    Uh, Pete, the point is that there _is_no_ depression in the luxury housing market in NYC. That’s because, as ever, the wealthy have been relatively unscathed by the recession that rocked the rest of us.

    And remember, we were all _told_ that looking at your house as an investment was what the smart money was doing, and better still, we should maximize our investment in our homes by extracting as much equity from them as possible. This isn’t something we all just woke up one morning thinking was a really cool idea, this was something that was heavily marketed to us all. By the very people we should have taxed a bit more.

  14. Pete Klein says:

    Walker,
    Sorry but failed to notice you were joking.
    Speaking of marketing, we need to start selling the sizzle and forget about selling the stake.
    What I mean is all the gloom and doom, and us poor Adirondackers you hear here and everywhere.
    We also need to get beyond the upstate vs downstate mentality. We complain about our taxes but at least we don’t have a town or county income tax as they do have in NYC. Their taxes are higher than ours but they are growing. Even the Bronx with high unemployment is growing.

  15. Walker says:

    Well, Pete, it would be easier to get beyond the gloom and doom and the upstate/downstate thing if we had elected an actual Democrat.

    From the New York Times, regarding the Governor’s new budget, and its impact on school budgets:

    “Consider this comparison between the wealthy Syosset school district in Nassau County and the downtrodden district of Ilion, in economically distressed Herkimer County upstate. Under the new budget, Ilion, which runs its schools on little more than $25 million a year, will lose nearly $1 million. Syosset, with a budget of more than $188 million, will receive a smaller cut of about $760,000.”

    But hey, at least he protected our downtrodden hedge fund managers from further depredation by those greedy welfare recipients.

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