posted on February 01, 2011 17:03
Governor Andrew Cuomo has unveiled his proposed budget for New York State. The governor today presented a spending plan that cuts across-the-board spending by nearly three-percent.
The proposal includes a $2.85-billion cut to education. Combined with Medicaid cuts, that measure will slash the state deficit in half. The bad news is that state schools will lose out on important funding.
At the same time, the governor is trying to impose a two-percent property tax cap on the state, something that local Senator Mike Ranzenhofer supports. But area school districts are worried that a tax cap combined with sweeping education cuts will mean disaster for educational programs.
Ranzenhofer says, not so.
"You have to look at the difference between trying to help the kids...and the teachers," said Ranzenhofer. "They are different interests."
Ranzenhofer was referring to the cushy jobs and salaries afforded to public servants, such as school superintendents.
"You have to make adjustments to health insurance," Ranzenhofer said, explaining how schools might balance their budgets with less state funding. "Right now, people in the public sector don't pay what people in the private sector pay.
"People in the public sector have very, very generous pensions - that their neighbors in the private sector are paying for. There needs to be some reality check on that."
Steep Medicaid cuts will be fostered in by a task force Cuomo assembled last month. The governor expects to be able to cut another $2.85-billion from Medicaid spending.
Overall Ranzenhofer says the budget is agreeable.
"(My) first impression is: it's a good first step," he said.
The state legislature returns to Albany next week for more work on the budget.