Last Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo outlined his 2015-16 Executive Budget proposal, which he is calling his 2015 Opportunity Agenda.
Like most Executive Budgets, it is a mix of good and bad proposals. We generally pleased that the Governor has again proposed a budget that limits spending increases. But we do have problems with some of what has been proposed. We will be working to try to fix those shortcomings before the budget is enacted into law. (Read Unshackle Upstate’s statement on the budget presentation here.)
Some of the highest profile parts of the Executive Budget proposal include:
- A $1.5 billion Upstate Economic Revitalization Competition, under which seven upstate regions will compete for $500 million in state support, and three will win;
- A real property tax circuit breaker and a tax credit for some renters;
- Various education reforms ;
- A new Education Tax Credit to support private investments from individuals and businesses in educational programs;
- Increasing the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour, and $11.50 per hour in New York City, effective in 2016;
- Providing funding to the Thruway Authority to support construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement and to avoid a toll increase in 2015;
- Creating a $500 million Broadband Program to incentivize private sector providers to expand high-speed broadband access in underserved and unserved communities;
- A $50 million Farm Preservation Trust Fund for the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley;
- A $20 million clean energy business for the Southern Tier; and
- A $35 million Global NY Development Program to assist New York-based companies in exporting their products.