Cuomo Talks Specifics For State Budget

BY TRONE DOWD

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed the details on the New York State budget for the coming fiscal year, highlighting taxes and transportation as just a few of his focuses moving forward.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his 2018-19 Executive Budget Address at NYS Museum Clark Auditorium.  Photo courtesy of Darren McGee-Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his 2018-19 Executive Budget Address at NYS Museum Clark Auditorium. Photo courtesy of Darren McGee-Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The governor admitted that the state is facing an uphill battle, as severe cuts from the federal government begin to take effect.

“We have tremendous cuts, especially in healthcare,” Cuomo said, referencing President Donald Trump administration’s cuts to states such as New York. “But figuring that out is the easy part. The hard part is to ensure New York State’s structural economic viability in light of the federal tax plan.”

According to Cuomo, the tax plan will raise income and property taxes by 25 percent. He hopes that New York’s efforts to thwart the tax plan prove to be productive.

In the meantime, the state will introduce the New York State Taxpayer Protection Act, which will restructure the state tax code from top to bottom. One of the main aspects of the plan will offset wages lost through the new federal income tax by taxing the employer instead of the employee. This means that the state would tax the money made by the employer, instead of what is given to the employee after the federal government taxes its portion of a worker’s wage.

According to the governor, this will keep working families and individuals from feeling harsh effects of the Republican tax plan. The new employer state tax will be tax deductible for businesses as defined by the state’s new tax code.

Education institutions will receive a $26.4 billion allocation during the fiscal year, with more than 70 percent of that funding going to the state’s poorest districts. The state is also mandating that these districts pass the majority of those funds to the poorest schools.

The troubled Metropolitan Transit Authority also received some attention from the state, much to the delight of local advocacy groups. The current mobility tax that the state collects will be redirected to the MTA in the coming year, allowing it to build funds to use on improvements accordingly. Of the proposed $836 million needed for the MTA Emergency Action Plan, Cuomo said that the state has funded its 50 percent share of the needed funds.

“New York City needs to fund its 50 percent,” Cuomo said.

The governor also said that he is in favor of a fair and equitable congestion pricing plan. Transportation advocacy group the Riders Alliance praised Cuomo’s stance on congestion pricing and hoped to see him follow through on it.

“Gov. Cuomo today acknowledged a basic truth,” Riders Alliance Executive Direction John Raskin said. “Our transit system is in crisis and it’s his responsibility to fix it. If the governor passes a true congestion pricing plan that actually fixes the subway, he can be the leader who rescues transit for millions of suffering riders. If not, he’s just another politician making promises. Riders are waiting to find out.”

Reach reporter Trone Dowd via email at tdowd@queenspress.com or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 123.

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