Lawmakers agree on $132.6 billion state budget
Governor Andrew Cuomo and the leaders of the state Senate and Assembly today announced an agreement on a $132.6 billion state budget for the fiscal year that starts Sunday.
The budget would increase spending by two percent while expanding economic development and jobs programs and providing some protections for the poorest New Yorkers and immigrants. The agreements include a 10 percent increase in the welfare grant in June. Cuomo wanted to delay half of the increase because of the state's slow economic recovery.
The budget closes a multi-billion dollar deficit with no new taxes, fees or gimmicks, limits spending growth to two percent or below for the second year in a row, according to the governor's office.
Voting on the 2012-2013 spending plan is expected to begin Wednesday.
One of the key points is the New York Works program to coordinate capital projects across the state, including the rebuilding of roads and bridges. $15 million are earmarked for Peace Bridge plaza expansion.
Numerous other expenditures are earmarked for Buffalo and Western New York, including $100 million for the first phase of the Buffalo Regional Innovative Cluster. That is the initial allocation in Governor Cuomo's January pledge that the state will provide $1 billion in state money to help revive Buffalo's economy.
The on-time agreement pleases 144th District Assemblyman Sean Ryan.
"This is good stuff. We're not doing midnight budgets. No one is hiding anything. It's all out in the public and it's going to be on time. It's a great example of the Senate and the Assembly and the Governor all working together," Ryan told WBFO and AM 970 News.
Ryan says lawmakers held the line on a four percent increase for education and there will no cuts to any K-12 education program.
You can see details of the new budget at http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/03272012budgetagreement.
Click on the play button above to hear a report from our Albany correspondent Karen Dewitt.
Information from Associated Press was used in this report.