Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb’s (R,C,I-Canandaigua) Comments on Final 2013-14 State Budget:
I think the best way to summarize the proposed 2013-14 Budget is, it is a budget that contains on-target choices for New Yorkers across the state including increases to education which will help our community colleges for example.
Certainly there are off-target choices that were negotiated in this budget as well. The fact that we are making a $90 million cut to the developmentally disabled in this state is unacceptable, and should never have been part of this budget agreement. We are giving millions of dollars of tax credits to Beverly Hills and Hollywood entertainers versus taking care of our most needy.
This is just one example where budgets that are negotiated behind closed doors don’t necessarily bring the best outcomes for the people that were supposed to serve in New York State. We need to have a better budget process; we need to have a better budget outcome.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s Statement:
I commend Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for the enactment of an on-time budget for the third consecutive year. This reflects an improved, more efficient process between the Governor and the Legislature. Its passage demonstrates a willingness to address issues of keen importance to New Yorkers, including the minimum wage and education and health care funding.
New York faces an ongoing challenge maintaining budget balance amid slow economic growth and tax revenue that persistently lags projections. The year ahead won’t be an easy road.
This budget does rely on significant non-recurring actions now and in the future. It also includes several new provisions that extend the state’s reliance on public authority debt to meet the state’s spending needs. New York’s debt burden is among the highest in the nation, making the goals of meeting critical infrastructure needs while remaining within the state’s debt caps more difficult.
An agreement was reached on a program that gives local governments another option to contend with the recent spikes in pension costs. Building off the existing program, this new option will give local governments additional flexibility in budgeting and paying for pension costs without undermining the health of the pension fund.
Necessary steps were taken to address some of the problems my auditors found with the STAR program which should help eliminate abuse and errors. Unfortunately, not enough was done to increase oversight of the $2 billion special education program after a probe by my office uncovered widespread misuse of taxpayer monies by special education providers. This program remains ripe for continued abuse.
Several provisions of this budget will have fiscal implications that will be felt well into the future. An honest and accurate accounting of the costs associated with the actions taken, along with realistic projections for revenue, is essential. My office has begun its detailed analysis of the 2013-14 Enacted Budget and will release its report soon.
New York State Association of Counties:
The New York State Assembly’s approval of the 2013-14 State Budget is a vote to help New York’s local governments and their residents.
NYSAC applauds Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the Members of the New York State Assembly for taking action to help local governments increase efficiencies and protect the public tax dollars. Local officials welcome state assistance at a time when state mandates are consuming the vast majority of available local resources.
NYSAC and its members appreciate the State Assembly’s commitment to providing mandate relief and we look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers to achieve that relief throughout the remainder of this session.
Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), CSEA President Danny Donohue:
Lawmakers understand there’s a moral and an economic impact when the state abandons people with mental health challenges and fails to reinvest in community care – it’s an unfunded mandate when localities have to pick up the pieces of broken lives simply because the state has abandoned its responsibilities. It’s also clear that most lawmakers recognize we need real reform, not lip service in juvenile justice.
These are just a couple of areas where the final budget shows a much better approach than what Governor Andrew Cuomo originally proposed.
Something’s not right when Governor Cuomo and lawmakers can give a politically motivated tax rebate to people earning up to $300,000, but still threaten the very existence of essential services that people with developmental disabilities need and hit the lowest paid workers delivering those services with the brunt of the impact. It’s shocking that there hasn’t been more outcry over this harmful action given the governor’s public statements about improving the quality of care in this field.
It is outrageous that the budget includes a sweetheart deal to NBC to lure the Tonight show back to New York and a luxury suite for Cuomo administration use as part of the taxpayer financed renovation of the Buffalo Bills’ stadium – all at the same time he leaves an essential hospital, like Downstate Medical Center at significant risk of closure and struggling localities without relief.