Mon March 31, 2014
Legislators will vote on state budget today
Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders have finalized the details on a $138 billion state budget and say they are on track to meet tonight's deadline. The budget includes a multi-step plan that could lower property taxes and $340 million for schools to start pre-K programs.
Governor Cuomo, speaking one day after the budget was finally closed down at near midnight on Friday, says he’s pleased that he convinced the legislature to adopt his multi-step plan that could lead to reduced property taxes. He calls it “the single most transformative component of the budget”.
The plan requires local governments to hold the line on spending, and consolidate services. If the localities and school districts cooperate, then homeowners would receive a rebate check in mail, shortly before Election Day.
Schools will see a $1.1 billion increase in state aid, and $340 million will be devoted to starting pre-kindergarten programs, with a commitment to keep that level of funding for five years. New York City will receive $300 million, upstate and Long Island will split the remaining $40 million.
Senate Independent Democrat Conference Leader Jeff Klein, who rules the Senate in a coalition with the Republicans, spoke as the final agreement was being reached.
“We’re looking forward to having a fully funded universal pre-K program in the state of New York ,” Klein said.
Charter schools will get more money and help with paying for classroom space. And there will be a two year moratorium on the effects of the new Common Core tests on students.
The governor and lawmakers also agreed on an ethics package. It will increase investigations of campaign finance violations, and strenghten penalties for bribery and corruption. In exchange, Cuomo says he’s agreed to disband his Moreland Act Commission that was in the midst of investigating alleged wrong doing by lawmakers.
“If this package is adopted, then I would end the Moreland Commission,” Cuomo said.