Local leader questions state budget

By Jillian Marshall

Local leader questions state budget

March 21, 2013 Updated Mar 22, 2013 at 12:37 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A local leader questions rebates and the lack of mandate relief in the proposed 2013-2014 state budget.

The agreement -- announced Wednesday night -- closes the state's $1.3 billion budget gap.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers say their goal is to grow the economy by cutting taxes and creating jobs throughout the state. Cuomo said Wednesday this will be established through tax cuts to small businesses, $350 tax credit to middle class families, and raising the minimum wage to $9 dollars an hour by the end of 2015.

The President of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce Lou Santoni says there are more questions than answers.

"If we're facing such a large deficit, why would you give a rebate? Why not use that money for education? Why not use it to reduce the deficit? The $350 is going to be gone, but all of these other things are going to be on the table," Santoni said.

He also asked why lawmakers failed to include an increase for state mandate relief.

"It could be coming down the road, but if it doesn't happen, you're going to see school districts, governments - they're going to be in extreme financial difficulties," Santoni said.

The state hopes to pass the budget before the April 1 deadline, making it the third consecutive on-time budget.