Budget debate leaves some with a sour taste
Frank LeBrun at the Times Union says in a commentary about the budget process that "there was no dawdling over the inevitable." Meaning: legislators and the governor couldn't fight over money that wasn't there, so the fight never really geared up. He goes on to warn:
When the school tax bills arrive in September the real downside will become apparent. That will be after a summer of announced school closings, wholesale teacher firings across upstate and significant cuts in enrichment programs like music, theater and art for even the most affluent school districts. That's going to happen. It's already started. Check out how much school aid your district won't get in the next school year and you'll see why. Those school tax bills will go up anyway, because there is a cardinal rule in play: The money has to come from somewhere. Tag, you're it. And if a [property] tax cap is passed and districts have nowhere to turn to meet mandates still in play, not to mention maintain some semblance of the educational experience residents have come to expect, what happens? Good question.
Now that the budget debate is largely wrapped up, so is the Innovation Trail's series of guest commentaries offering "solutions" for the state's budget. You can read commentaries from Rochester Business Alliance CEO Sandy Parker, Republican strategist Michael Caputo, the Center for Governmental Research, the Tompkins County legislature's Martha Robertson, and more here. And you can still offer your feedback about how you think the budget should have gone down.
Also at TU, Rick Karlin sets out to compare Cuomo to roaring 20's era governor Al Smith. Both are boosters for consolidation, both reached across the aisle to broker compromise, and both struggle with a tough economy. Karlin notes it's fitting that one of Cuomo's early changes at the Capitol was to post Smith's portrait behind the podium in the press briefing room - dethroning Teddy Roosevelt.
At the Buffalo News, Tom Precious wonders if Cuomo's tough line on the budget may endanger other agenda items that the governor sought to tackle:
Cuomo emerged from the budget battles with his relations intact with the Republican-led Senate, but with considerable ill feelings among many members of his own party in the Assembly and the Senate, especially the more liberal Democratic base. Will that ill feeling affect the governor's efforts at success on nonbudget-related matters such as a property tax cap, relaxation of state mandates and legalization of gay marriage? Openly and privately, Democratic lawmakers criticized the governor for what they believe is his lack of institutional respect for the State Legislature and for budget choices that they say will hurt everyone from public school students to poor people and senior citizens who rely on human services programs.
To help you get a sense of the magnitude of the state budget, the Empire Center has created a clock that counts out the state's spending. You can see how much New York is spending per second, per day, per month and more (via Liz Benjamin, State of Politics).
Welcome to Albany
And finally, this isn't really budget related, but it's big news at the Capitol. The much cited (in this blog at least) Jimmy Vielkind of the Times Union is now a proud papa to Brooke Rose, reports Nick Reisman at State of Politics. Congratulations Jimmy and Katherine!
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