Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 21, 2013

State budget details surface, so does criticism

Niagara Gazette — ALBANY — The lives of the working poor to millionaires, schoolchildren to teachers, and employers and unemployed war veterans would be touched under a tentative New York state budget deal.

The provisions were among some details surfacing Thursday, a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders announced a "conceptual framework" of a budget that could be voted on beginning Saturday.

Cuomo and legislative leaders announced the deal with few details on Wednesday night. They proclaimed it a low-spending budget "with no new taxes" that serves the business community and families with tax cuts and breaks. Most of those tax cuts and a $350 tax rebate to middle class families with children, however, won't kick in until 2014, an election year for the governor and lawmakers.

To pay for much of the tax cuts, the budget deal includes a second extension of a temporary $2 billion income tax increase on millionaires. Cuomo and Senate Republicans had vowed to oppose the tax increase in their 2010 campaigns. They called it a job killer that would compound New York's image as a high-tax state. The tax hike doesn't expire until next year, but that's an election year when extending a tax increase would be sensitive. So, the leaders agreed to extend it this year, instead, saying it is part of their new two-year budgeting process.

A senior administration official told The Associated Press that the extension was needed to pay for tax cuts sought by the Senate Republicans that, in turn, provided a trade-off to accept an increase in the minimum wage, sought by the Assembly's Democratic majority. Those two issues were critical to settle the budget.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because closed-door negotiations aren't supposed to be made public, said state revenues in a slow recovery forced the extension during budget negotiations.

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