Executive budget presented at Hudson Valley

Pat Gareau

Editor-in-Chief

“For the past several years, Hudson Valley has been very happy to host the presentation of the executive budget,” said Hudson Valley President Drew Matonak in his introductory remarks on Friday.

Governor Cuomo announced his executive budget on Jan. 23. As part of a series of regional presentations, local leaders came to campus for a presentation on the budget given by New York Civil Service Commissioner Jerry Boone.

Troy Mayor Lou Rosamillia said, “When I looked at the governor’s [budget], I said to myself, Wow, he is pursuing a very ambitious agenda.”

“There’s so many good opportunities within the governor’s proposed budget,” said New York Assemblymember John McDonald.

During the hourlong presentation, Commissioner Boone went through the highlights of this year’s executive budget. He noted that the Cuomo administration expects a fifth consecutive on-time budget, despite the recent arrest and indictment of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Highlights of the 2015-2016 executive budget:

  • Cuts small business tax from 6.5 percent to 2.5 percent.
  • Provides a property tax credit  for households with incomes below $250,000.
  • Infrastructure upgrades: The budget provides funding for upgrading New York City’s airports, the Tappan Zee Bridge, and expanding high speed broadband access across the state.
  • Proposes a $1.5 billion competition between the seven regions in Upstate NY, in which the three with the best economic development plans will receive $500 million each.
  • Accelerates the raising of the minimum wage.
  • Major reforms to K-12 education system that will increase funding for schools by $1.1 billion if passed.
    • Creates a pay-for-performance system for teachers, including a $20,000 bonus for those deemed highly effective.
    • Increases the standards for entering the teaching profession, including an exam and residency program.
    • Removes chronically ineffective teachers.
    • Increases the number of charter schools allowed in the state.
    • Mandates that failing schools be taken over by experts or another school district after three years of low performance.
  • Students who attend college in NY and live in the state after graduating will have their student debt payments paid by the state for two years if they make less than $50,000 annually.
  • Raises the maximum age of those considered a juvenile in the criminal justice system from 16 to 18.

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