The 2012-13 New York State Budget was passed today, before the April 1st deadline, after the legislative joint-budget committees had concluded their work and an agreement between both legislative houses and the governor had been reached. This is the second year in a row the legislature has passed an on-time budget. The $132.6 billion spending plan reflects the needs of the state and the constituents of the 90th Assembly District while staying within a 2% state tax cap.
“This budget reflects the economic situation of the state, closes the $3.5 billion budget deficit, stays within a 2% self-imposed cap on spending, brings new financial resources to our schools and our communities, and increases support for businesses,” said Assemblywoman Galef. “There were also no new member items in the budget, something I have strongly advocated for. This budget is a win/win for the people of New York.”
The largest increases in the budget are a 4% increase in state aid to our school districts, which equates to an $805 million increase for a total of $20 billion in education spending, and a 4% increase in Medicaid spending. The state has committed to a takeover of the administrative costs currently paid by counties for the Medicaid program by 2016, saving local governments $1.2 billion over the next five years.
Changes in state aid to education in the 90th Assembly District vary from a high of 8.33% increase to a low of -.54%. The fluctuations occur due to changes in school attendance, cost of transportation, and other expense driven factors. The budget also increases funding for libraries, adding $3.9 million in state funding.
In addition to the $805 million increase in education aid, $30.6 million was restored to the EPIC prescription drug program. This will create co-payments for eligible seniors of no more than $20 per prescription starting in January 2013.
“There was a large outpouring of support from my constituents for more aid to education, an increase in funding for the EPIC prescription drug program, and aid to libraries, as well as support for other groups and services, and I worked hard to promote these programs in the state budget,” Assemblywoman Galef said.
The budget also included $500,000 for a state veteran’s cemetery in Putnam County. The federal government will have to approve the cemetery proposal and Putnam County will have to determine whether it is willing to operate the cemetery.
Other programs local community members expressed support for also received additional funding. The final budget included an increase of $22.1 million for SUNY community colleges, an important option for individuals seeking higher education at an affordable price. In addition, the state budget appropriates $6.5 billion for unemployment insurance benefits. The Tobacco Prevention and Control Program received $5 million dollars, to help New Yorkers stop smoking and dissuade others from starting.
The 2012-13 final budget provides $794.6 million to various Empire State Development Corporation projects to help promote business growth, leading to job creation and revitalized communities throughout the state. The final budget also includes funding for capital projects to help rebuild New York’s infrastructure. This includes $1.6 billion for a New York Works fund to repair and rebuild parks, roads and bridges in the state, and $5.1 billion, a 2.8% increase from last year, for the NY Department of Transportation for the agency to accelerate bridge and road construction and repair.
In addition, the final state budget includes $250 million for the MTA Mobility Tax Account to fully offset revenue reductions resulting from the elimination of the MTA Payroll tax for schools and most local organizations and businesses. In December 2011 the legislature eliminated this payroll tax for both qualifying small businesses with annual payrolls of $1.25 million or less and those who are self-employed and earn less than $50,000 per year, and exempted both public and private schools.
“The final budget is fair for New York and constituents of the 90th Assembly District. This is the second year in a row the legislature has passed an on-time budget, without raising taxes or creating hidden fees for New Yorkers. The state is living within its means, by falling within the self-imposed 2% state tax cap. I am pleased we were able to restore funding for many worthy programs and services,” concluded Assemblywoman Galef.