The Executive Budget presented by Governor Cuomo reflects the tremendous fiscal problems of New York state that were created over the last few years by unsustainable spending and tax increases. To his credit, Governor Cuomoís budget cuts spending, rather than resorting to ever higher taxes and borrowing.
Unfortunately, the budget presents several extremely difficult cuts in state aid, including cuts to school districts to the tune of $1.5 billion, Medicaid by $982 million, SUNY by $46.3 million (about 10%), and aid to municipalities by $13.2 million (about 2%).
On the positive side, the governorís proposed budget includes $250 million to reward schools for improvements in school performance and another $250 million to encourage administrative improvements and consolidations. Chautauqua County schools would likely do well because of their excellent administration, innovation, and progressive focus on student performance.
It is vitally important that the state enact substantial mandate relief to give local school districts and local municipalities the flexibility and authority to cut local spending and operate efficiently. Otherwise, these cuts in state aid will translate into higher property taxes, which will further hurt local taxpayers.
During the next few weeks, I will be focused on promoting real cost-cutting measures in state government, while giving local governments the ability to operate in a more cost-effective manner.