After appearing to be close to a budget agreement for most of last week, Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature reached agreement on the state’s 2014-15 fiscal plan late Friday night. The new state budget will spend, $137.9 billion, keeping budget growth below 2% for the 4th consecutive year.

 

Read Gov. Cuomo’s press release on the budget agreement.

 

Read Unshackle Upstate’s official statement on the 2014-15 budget agreement.

 

Some of the highlights of the 2014-2015 state budget agreement include:

 

–       a $1.5 billion property tax credit program that is intended to incentivize local governments to reduce their costs (and the burden on local property taxpayers);

–       tax relief for manufacturers;

–       expedited phase-out the 18-a energy surcharge;

–       reforming the state estate tax to align itself with federal standards;

–       a reduction in the state’s corporate income tax rate; and

–       authorizing a fourth round of Regional Economic Development (REDC) awards.

 

“This budget agreement takes meaningful steps toward making New York more affordable for both businesses and taxpayers, but additional tax relief measures are still needed to help struggling homeowners — especially in Upstate communities. We strongly encourage the Legislature and Governor Cuomo to finally address the laundry list of unfunded mandates that serve as the real cost driver of high property taxes in New York and continue to present significant challenges to its local governments.”

 

“The budget agreement also includes a “test program” for taxpayer-financed elections.  It would apply only in this fall’s election for Comptroller.  While we’d rather not see any taxpayer dollars spent for partisan political purposes, this is better than what was originally proposed.”

 

–       Statement from Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate

 

Lawmakers are expected to begin voting on budget bills later today, the last day of the state’s current fiscal year.