Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has already outlined a number of potentially expensive priorities earlier this month, will unveil the blueprint for his budget for the upcoming fiscal year in a major address from Albany on Tuesday. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
It's a different economic time than it was just a few years ago. And while growth has been slow, the state is no longer hemorrhaging money.
"Well, we are in a bit of a turnaround situation. We came into a very difficult place a few years ago with the great recession and we were facing $10 billion gaps, $12 billion budget gaps, we have brought those gaps down," said Elizabeth Lynam of the Citizens Budget Commission.
While there is still a gap of about $1 billion, that's a relatively small number in a $132 billion state budget. In other words, Governor Cuomo is no longer just plugging holes. Instead, he has more room for bold proposals.
"When it comes to education, I say two words: More and better," said Cuomo during his State of the State address.
The governor wants to expand the school day for students and implement full day pre-kindergarten. These initiatives have been on parent wish lists for years. It's still not clear how the governor would propose paying for them, however.
Cuomo also wants public financing of political campaigns.
"Implement a public financing system based on New York City. It works well in New York City, it'll work well in New York State," Cuomo said.
How this would be paid for is also unclear. At least one study suggests that the cost to state government would be about $56 million per year.
"If it's a key agenda item, then state leaders should be willing to give up spending in other areas to try to make these new programs such as that fit in with an overall spending target that's limited," Lynam said.
Another big issue in New York State has been mandate relief. This is less of a concern for New York City, but municipalities that enacted a property tax cap at Cuomo's direction two years ago say they have had difficulty staying within that cap due to state spending mandates, as well as rising pension and health care costs. One solution is for towns to merge and share services, though it's something local governments have traditionally resisted.
The governor's budget address is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday. NY1 will air the address live.