Cuomo’s executive budget is a step in the right direction

Alycia Bacon, Staff Writer

 

“We will make history,” was one of the opening lines of Wednesday’s executive budget address from Governor Cuomo and company. Following the address there seemed to be mixed emotions and reactions, but general support from the Capital Region.

“I applaud Governor Cuomo and the 2014-15 Executive Budget for making even further progress in moving the Empire State forward,” said Joanne Yepsen, mayor of Saratoga Springs.

“This budget will reduce the overall tax burden for our citizens and businesses while making welcomed investments in critical areas such as education, infrastructure, and housing,” said Yepsen.

One thing is for certain: it sounded great.

Cuomo made it clear that the goal of government is to “perform efficiently and effectively” and in doing so “support the community by lowering taxes, creating relief for low and middle income citizens and restoring economic opportunity.” This statement is in contrast to the inability of Congress to come together in accordance for a federal budget.

It could be that Cuomo has dreams of the oval office in his future, or maybe he is just looking forward to the upcoming election. Either way, there was no shortage of pride as he recounted all of his achievements since taking office.

Of his achievements, these include turning a $10 billion deficit into a projected $2 billion surplus, creation of 380,000 jobs and a decrease in unemployment. He boasts that he has been able to curtail spending to fit into the means of his constituents. In other words, not spending more than the incoming revenue. If only it were that easy for the rest of us.

If you were hoping to see income based tax hikes, you’ll be disappointed. I know that I would like to see that infamous top 1 percent of earners pay more in taxes. The truth is that any budget that penalized the rich would either not pass or would result in the wealthy taking refuge elsewhere — and that’s not good for New York State.

The New York Daily News agrees, stating, “Cuomo positioned himself to make this investment the smart, responsible way — by holding the overall growth of state spending to 2 percent or less per year, roughly the rate of inflation.”

Cuomo attempts to create a fair system that gives incentives to businesses to build and operate in New York while giving a break to the working class by providing a tax credit to renters and property tax relief to low and middle income homeowners. His budget is progressive in its simplicity. While not revolutionary it does at least attempt to move the state of New York forward in a positive way.

Hudson Valley students may find it interesting that the budget outlines plans to increase funding for higher education in New York. This includes $110 million in grants for SUNY and CUNY schools. In addition to funding, Cuomo enacted the Student Protection Unit to help protect students against misleading debt consolidation and lending companies. Much like the rest of the budget, it is far from a solution but it is at least a first step in the right direction.

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