$168 billion state budget deal reached

Elias Hubbard
March 31, 2018

Tusk / Montgomery Philanthropies today commended the New York State legislature for passing the Breakfast After the Bell proposal as part of the state budget bill.

The budget is due on Sunday, but lawmakers hope to complete their work on Friday in time to get home for the Jewish Passover, which begins Friday at sunset, and the Christian Easter on Sunday.

"I don't know why you guys look so exhausted", Cuomo quipped at the start of his press conference in the state Capitol.

On a more serious note, the governor called it the "most hard budget we've ever done", due to a projected $4.4 billion budget gap as well as attacks from Washington, in particular the reduction of the state and local tax deduction.

Here are some takeaways from the spending plan.

To avoid a new federal cap on state and local tax deductions, NY will make those payments charitable contributions, similar to measures working their way through other high-tax states.

In response, Cuomo said the state budget would do several things to blunt the impact. First, it creates two new state "charitable contribution funds" for health care and education.

Also included: new money for public schools and water quality and several tax changes meant to help New Yorkers negatively impacted by the new federal tax law. Local governments and school districts will be authorized to take the same steps. An additional $16 million program to have alternatives for at-risk youth. The state also will allow companies to pay a payroll tax in lieu of their employee's income taxes.

The money will go to efforts to fix and upgrade New York City subways. A $2.50 fee on yellow cabs would also go into effect.

A new fee on for-hire vehicles in Manhattan below 96th Street would raise $415 million annually for the state's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the city's decaying subway system and has been the subject of repeated squabbles between Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

This budget will help put New York's students on a path to achievement from pre-k to adulthood. Total spending on higher education is set at $7.6 billion.

"This budget is a bold blueprint for progressive action that builds on seven years of success and helps NY continue to lead amid a concerted and sustained assault from Washington", Cuomo said in a tweet late Friday evening. The Cuomo administration instead emphasized the need for more transparency.

The budget is expected to include new surcharges for taxis, Uber rides and other ride-hailing services in Manhattan, as well as a tax on opioid manufacturers.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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