Budget highlights so far
Here's what's interesting so far:
Merging the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR), and Empire State Development (ESD). This is has been proposed before, by Governor Paterson, and we're not surprised that the Cuomo administration is bringing it up again. Here's what the administration says the move will accomplish (along with merging several other agencies):
... streamline and eliminate duplicative bureaucracy, better align State responsibilities with need and improve services through superior coordination.
Using a commission to eliminate commissions (and authorities, and agencies). A report from the Spending and Government Efficiency commission is due in May, and will inform long term cuts to the tune of 20 percent.
Creating the previously discussed (but not detailed) regional economic councils. These bodies will be "one stop shops" for economic development assistance, which, according to the release, amounts to somewhere around $340 million"
The Executive Budget reprograms more than $340 million in existing economic development capital resources for major regional initiatives. Besides assisting communities affected by state facility closures, these funds will be used to provide more than $130 million for competitively determined economic development projects put forward by the Regional Councils, $100 million for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's capital program and $10 million towards the State's existing commitment for the New York City Empowerment Zone. The Executive Budget also strengthens the Excelsior Jobs Program, which was created in 2010 to provide job creation and investment tax credit incentives to businesses in targeted industries.
To address the state's fiscal challenges, the Executive Budget proposes reductions in the State University and City University systems. The Executive Budget reduces base per-student operating aid for community colleges by 10 percent and SUNY and CUNY operating aid by 10 percent, and eliminates the subsidy for SUNY's three teaching hospitals in Syracuse, New York City and Long Island, which accounts for approximately eight percent of overall hospital revenue. The budget keeps TAP benefits at current year levels. Converting funding programs that are based on formulas (meet the requirements, get the cash) into competitive grants. Programs that will be affected include economic development and agriculture funding.
But also adopting some of the elements of the "SUNY empowerment" agenda, including easing procurement restrictions and allowing schools more flexibility in making public-private partnerships. Private institutions of higher education are also getting their state aid (Bundy aid) cut by a comparable 10 percent.
We'll be bringing you more details throughout the day as we learn them.