Gov. Andrew Cuomo Unveils 2013-14 State Budget

By Matt Porter

January 22, 2013 Updated Jan 23, 2013 at 2:01 AM EDT

Albany, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Gov. Cuomo told a room full of legislators and invited guests he's ready to pass the third consecutive budget on time.

If passed on time, it would be the first time three consecutive budgets have been signed by the deadline in nearly 40 years.

If accepted by the legislature as is, Cuomo said his budget will close a $1.3 billion budget gap without raising taxes or fees.

Sen. Tom Libous (R-52nd) said he's pleased with the governor's budget and believes it can be passed on time.

"I think the governor is being realistic," Libous said. "He's being direct and to the point. He's done a very good job budgeting and fiscal management. We expect to get a budget done early and on time again. And I think that's very positive."

The budget includes increases in spending for education and economic development programs.

The budget calls for $889 million for education programs, an increased of 4.4 percent. The increase includes $203 million in one-time financial stabilization funds for New York schools.

The budget provides for another $150 million for the third round of funding for the Governor's Regional Economic Development Councils.

The budget also provides relief from state mandates on pension programs by allowing municipalities to choose a tiered pension plan.

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-123rd) said she appreciates the move.

"I also appreciate the approach he's taking giving municipalities the option to try to stabilize their pension costs," Lupardo said. "He's also going to bring them financial assistance to sort out with their long-term financial plans are. There's also a lot of stuff in there for our community as well."

Sen. James Seward (R-51st) said the pension relief is good, but only the first step.

"He did include a number of steps that will help our local governments in terms of meeting the increasing cost of pensions," Seward said. "The pension contributions are a huge burden on the local governments."

That's a big selling point for Republicans, who are staunchly against new taxes.

Assemblyman Peter Lopez (R-102) said he was impressed by the governor's balanced budget.

"And really my sense is the budget only gets better from here on in," Lopez said. "So he's got the controls in place. He's imposing the fiscal discipline which, to be honest, many of his colleagues have not appreciated."

The state budget will have to be approved by both the Assembly and the Senate.

Cuomo said he hopes for approval from both houses by March.

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