Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 08 April 2011 00:00
After all the protests and disagreements, after all the proposals and changes, New York State has an on-time budget for the first time in 15 years and only the third on-time budget in 28 years.
New York State passed its $132.5 billion budget on March 31 around 1 a.m., just in time for the April 1 deadline. Overall spending will be cut $3.5 billion (2 percent) from the current year and closes a $10 billion deficit without raising taxes.
The budget included steep cuts in education aid ($1.3 billion or about 6 percent), Medicaid ($1 billion or about 2 percent) and state operations (10 percent).
Over $272 million in education aid was restored after Governor Andrew Cuomo’s initial budget proposal. The budget also called for eliminating numerous discrete cuts, such as making graduate students ineligible for the state’s Tuition Assistance Program.
Nassau County’s school aid in 2010-2011 totaled at $815,053,277. The county saw a $33.6 million decrease to $781,373,688 for 2011-2012.
In this version of the budget, funding for 4201 schools, such as the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, will not come out of the local schools’ pockets, which was slated to happen in Cuomo’s proposal.
One item that didn’t make it into this year’s budget discussions is the possible repeal of the MTA payroll tax. The tax accounts for approximately $1.4 billion of the MTA’s budget.
Concerning Long Island Bus (LIB), which has a budget between $120-$130 million, $53 million of which comes from the state, over $300,000 has been added to the State’s contribution to LIB. LIB has been at the forefront of controversy recently concerning Nassau County and the MTA. The county is looking to privatize LIB. Over $8.6 million in MTA allocations, made available by the Senate, will be utilized to run the bus service through the end of the year. This is in addition to the funds appropriated in the 2011-2012 state budget for Long Island Bus.