(WBNG Binghamton) For the fourth consecutive year, Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders passed an on-time state budget.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed on the dotted line after the simple majority in both the New York Senate and Assembly gave the budget a green light around 10:30 p.m. Monday.
The agreement took place before its deadline of 11:59 p.m., making it the forth consecutive on-time budget to be passed.
According to Gov. Cuomo, the 2014-2015 New York State budget is a $140 billion spending plan that falls below two percent for the fourth consecutive year.
$1.5 billion will be cut from property taxes to aid New York’s homeowners and address one of the primary drivers of the state’s high property taxes – the outsized number of local governments.
The budget agreement will lower the cost of doing business for manufacturers, making New York a more attractive place for firms to locate and create jobs. Tax rate on income for all manufacturers will be lowered from the current 5.9 percent to zero in 2014.
The budget also increases education funding across the state by 5.3 percent for the 2014-2015 school year.
In addition, the agreement will invest $1.5 billion over five years to support the phase-in of a statewide universal full-day pre-kindergarten program
The budget impacts the Common Core by banning standardized "bubble tests" for young children, ensures testing results of English and math Common Core testing for grades 3-8 will not appear on students' permanent records and puts a cap on the amount of time that can be used for testing.
"We were able to get a considerable increase in school aid which will really try and offset the gap elimination adjustment," said Clifford Crouch, R-NYS 122nd Assembly, "It was driven toward the neediest of schools and that's where it should go."
Cuomo said there were many difficult issues worked out to be included in the budget, but he adds that there are still some big issues that were left out.
"I would have liked to see the Dream Act passed," Cuomo said, "We need to do more in the area of public finance which has been an ongoing effort. We need to do more and come to a resolution on teacher evaluations and what we're going to do with teacher evaluations so we have more work to do but it's been a great moment of progress and the state has made great strides."
Assembly and Senate members joined Governor Cuomo as he signed the budget into legislation Tuesday morning.
They commented on how difficult it is to all agree on many of the details included in a budget, and commended the efforts that went into passing another on time budget.
"We have a moratorium and a reformed common core, property tax rebate checks for all the homeowners in the Southern Tier, business tax is going to be reduced, opportunities to create jobs, a whole host of great things here," said Thomas Libous, R-52nd Senate.
Further highlights include working to restore public trust by making sure elected officials are serving honestly and fairly.
Funding for the Environmental Protection Fund will be increased by $9 million to expand outdoor recreational opportunities and reduce harmful emissions.
The budget supports continued progress toward making New York more prepared for and resilient to future emergencies.
Under the agreement, investments will be made to improve health care in the state.
“This budget builds on the State’s progress over the past three years in order to grow the economy and create new opportunities for New Yorkers and their families,” Governor Cuomo said. “This budget maintains the fiscal discipline that has characterized the last three years of progress by holding the growth in spending below two percent, while also making broad tax cuts that will help homeowners and businesses thrive. It also contains targeted investments that will transform our schools, ensure safer, cleaner, and fairer communities, and restore the public’s trust in government. This budget contains the framework that will allow us to build a new New York, and I commend the members of the Senate and the Assembly who have joined us to continue that progress.”
Click here for additional information on the state budget.