Gov. Andrew Cuomo Unveils Budget And Vows To Fight ‘Status Quo’


andrew-cuomoNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his $130 billion budget proposal this afternoon, saying that keeping the “status quo” would spell failure.

“If you leave the status quo – if you do nothing – you won’t have the tension. But if we leave the status quo, then we will have failed also,” he said.

Cuomo’s budget proposal would increase state spending by 2 percent, or about $89 million. But the overall plan, including federal funding tied to state spending, is a fraction of 1 percent lower than the current budget, and it would eliminate a $2 billion deficit.

The plan calls for using $1.9 billion in revenue from a “millionaire tax” approved in December and making just over $1 billion in cuts. The proposal presented Tuesday would also merge some state agencies.

This year’s budget will not have the huge cuts in education and health care spending that were necessary last year as part of the effort to close a $10 billion budget gap.

“Last year was such a success – not becuase we did the easy thing, because we did the hard thing last year. When you look back, it seems easy. It wasn’t easy! Look at the bags and lines on my face, it wasn’t easy,” Cuomo said.

The budget proposal also received strong support from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In a statement, Bloomberg said the budget “demonstrates a bold commitment to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing our great state.”

Bloomberg lauded pension reform included in the plan, which the mayor said could “save the City billions in the long term.”

The governor plans to connect increases in school aid with new standards for teacher evaluations.

“When it comes to transforming education… we need to focus on education, and we need a real teacher evaluation system,” Cuomo has said.

Cuomo will reportedly give the teachers union 30 days to agree on an evaluation plan or he’ll serve up his own. The new standards would be drawn \up by the state Education Department. It would be attached to the budget so the legislature could vote on it.

Bloomberg applauded Cuomo’s stance on teacher evaluations, saying that “he will not allow the teachers’ union to drag its feet any longer on implementing new teacher evaluation systems across the state.”

New York state has been warned it could lose federal school aid if it doesn’t revamp its teacher evaluation process.

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