Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his budget message today which outlined in broad spokes a blueprint for closing the 10 billion dollar deficit. Education will be reduced by 7.3% or 1.5 billion dollars, Medicaid to be reduced by 1.8% or 982 million dollars and there will be a work force reduction of 6% or 9,800 layoffs. Some speculate that his threat of laying off a total of 15,000 is being made to “soften up” the major labor unions (CSEA, PEF, and SEIU1199). State agencies are to be cut by 10% and aid to local governments cut by 2%. The budget also proposes to cap annual increase in the star exemption benefits to 2% per year. There were few revenue raisers noted.
Governor Cuomo called the standard budget process a “a special-interest protection program” due to the way it obscures the growth in spending on programs such as Medicaid and education. Governor Cuomo called this budget a “transformational budget” dealing not only with Medicaid and education, but government consolidation and downsizing. He noted that the state was suffering from a loss of federal stimulus fund and said we are now going to suffer through the withdrawal of that addiction. Mr. Cuomo finished his address with a campaign style rhetoric exhorting the legislature to support the reductions laid out in his budget. “The people get it, and the people are with you,” he said. ” … You can change the trajectory of the state this year.”
More specifics on the budget to follow.