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Gov. Cuomo delivering his fourth annual budget address in Albany Tuesday. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office.
Gov. Cuomo delivering his fourth annual budget address in Albany Tuesday. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office.

NY's Cuomo proposes $137.2B budget with tax cuts

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing an election year budget of $137.2 billion that he says keeps a tight leash on spending even as it provides business, property and estate tax relief.

It holds state operating costs to a 1.7% increase over last year. It relies heavily on expectations that the federal government will grant New York a $10 billion waiver on Medicaid spending.

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The activist governor is using the budget to push specific policy proposals, saying in his address, "This budget will enact a special action agenda... more policy  and more program development than in recent years..."

They range from strengthening anti-corruption laws for public officials to protecting medical patients from surprise out-of-network bills.

The budget proposes a two-year property tax freeze through state rebates to homeowners in local jurisdictions that stay within a 2 percent tax increase limit. It would "One, relieve struggling homeowners and two, to incentivize consolidation and shared services," the governor maintained.

The state’s 10,500 local jurisdictions lead to some of the highest property taxes in the country, Cuomo said, "It can’t be that everyone has to do everything in every government. It can’t be. It can be easier. It can be more politically advantageous, but it can’t be that there are not economies of scale. Find a way to save 1% of the levy per year for three years."

The Democratic governor's proposal kicks off months of negotiations in which he and state lawmakers will try reach a final budget deal by the start of the state fiscal year April 1.

Yesterday Cuomo gave lawmakers a bit of a pep talk. The last three years of on-time budgets, he said—turning a $10 billion deficit into what’s he’s calling a surplus—are rebuilding a sense of pride in New York.

"You go to the North Country that felt abandoned and isolated. They weren’t even part of New York. They weren’t even relating to Albany. And it is a different feel. It’s not just that we passed three budgets. And it’s not just that when you look at the statistics you turned the state around. You turned around the feeling. You turned around the energy. You turned around the culture," said Cuomo during his address.

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