The Legislature’s budget subcommittees began meeting last week to resolve differences between the Senate and Assembly one-house budget bills. This is a critical step toward having a budget in place before the 2014-15 state fiscal year begins on April 1st.
The budget subcommittees held their first meetings on Monday, and a second round of meetings on Thursday. Also on Thursday, the two houses announced “table targets” for each budget subcommittee. Legislative leaders indicated that they will seek to add $500 million in spending to the 2014-15 state budget, nearly half of which ($240 million) would go toward extra aid for education.
According the budget schedule released in January, the two houses are to pass agreed-to budget bills by this coming Thursday.
Governor Pushes His Property Tax Freeze Proposal
Gov. Cuomo held an event in Albany highlighting local elected official support for his property tax freeze plan from County Executives throughout the state. The Governor was joined by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, a Republican, and Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, both Democrats. (Watch video of the event here.)
Under Gov. Cuomo’s plan, the state would provide a subsidy for two years to offset any local property tax increase, but only to local governments and schools that keep spending increases below 2% and only if they agree to share services, consolidate or make other permanent spending cuts of 1% per year for three years.
The Senate and Assembly modified Gov. Cuomo’s proposal in their respective one-house budget bills. The Assembly proposes to just give taxpayers the rebate check without imposing any requirements on local governments, while the Senate plan would allow any consolidation efforts since 2012 to count toward the eligibility for the rebate.