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.