What’s Wrong With Cuomo’s Budget

Assemblyman Curran’s 2018 budget priorities

Legislative Column from Assemblyman Brian Curran (Lynbrook-21st AD)
February 26, 2018

Recently, I wrote about my budget priorities for the residents of the 21st Assembly District before Gov. Cuomo unveiled his 2018-19 Executive Budget Proposal. Those priorities include increasing funding for our local school districts, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, opioid abuse prevention and recovery funding and tax reform.

Last month, the governor presented his executive budget and a review of his proposals reveals some glaring issues with not only his budget, but the ongoing fiscal policies of this state. This is not a partisan attack on the governor, who I believe did a good job handling the state’s $10 billion deficit in 2011. However, I believe he has strayed from sound conservative fiscal policies, like the tax cap he instituted back then, and that has led us back to the precarious predicament we are in once again.

Here are some of the issues with the governor’s proposals: $4.4 billion budget deficit or political straw man? In his proposals, the governor did not factor in the 2 percent spending cap that has been a factor in previous years. That alone would decrease the deficit to $1.7 billion. That is a pretty significant omission that seems aimed at misrepresenting our fiscal situation. The governor has also proposed an increase in spending despite the alleged budget deficit.

Another major issue with the executive budget proposal is that, despite the governor’s claims, the federal government did not cause structural budget problems and high taxes in New York state. He made that accusation along with the Assembly Majority, who refuse to reel in entitlement programs and the state’s $72.1 billion in Medicaid spending.

The reduction in the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT), which I opposed, and a cut in Medicaid reimbursement by the federal government, did not help the already-overwhelming tax burden faced by New Yorkers. However, this very recent action did not cause New York State to be 49th (worst) in the nation for Business Tax Climate, 49th (worst) in personal income tax and 1st (highest) in the rate of residents fleeing to other states.

Additionally, the governor’s budget proposal is disproportionate and puts Nassau County schools at a disadvantage. Our schools educate 8 percent of the state’s student population, but only receive about 4 percent of the governor’s proposed education funding increase. Furthermore, there is a decrease in library aid in the executive budget proposal – something of vital importance in Nassau County.

With regards to higher education, something many Long Island families struggle to pay for, Gov. Cuomo has allocated funds to provide tuition assistance for undocumented individuals instead of using that money to increase income limits so our middle-class families can qualify for his “free” SUNY/CUNY college tuition or TAP.

These are just some of the issues that must be addressed by the state Legislature and the governor. Playing the blame game is not helping anyone, and misrepresenting the facts is a disservice to our residents.

Please reach out to my District Office at 516-561-8216 with any specific concerns you may have regarding these or any other state issues.