Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 2, 2014

Cuomo talks up the state budget on Wednesday

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — "If you don't do something different, we are going to have a real problem," Cuomo said. 

While not a "perfect" document, Cuomo argued that the latest spending plan does exercise "fiscal discipline" and includes a needed cut in the corporate tax rate while raising New York's estate tax to the federal level. He said he's confident the groundwork has been laid for New York to become more financially sound in the years ahead. 

"When you exercise that fiscal discipline, good things happen," he said. "Cuomo said. "To me, it's eat right and exercise. If you're eating right and you exercise, good things happen." 

While critics may disagree, Cuomo defended the budget's approach to education spending, noting that it offers a 5-percent increase in funding for schools, an amount the governor described as "remarkably generous given these economic circumstances."

He also disagreed with those who have complained that more funding will improve the quality of education, noting that New York has spent more per student in the last 20 years than any other state, but does not find itself at the top of any lists in terms of student achievement. 

"I don't believe it's the money," Cuomo said. "I believe it's the system. I believe it's performance." 

Not everyone is as enthusiastic about the new state budget. 

On Wednesday, the Albany think tank, the Empire Center for New York State Policy, provided a web link to its so-called "Spend-O-Meter." The center determined, based on state Senate estimates of $137.9 billion in all funds spending under the enacted budget for 2014-15, that the in the coming fiscal year the state will spend $4,373 per second, $262,367 per minute, $15,7 million per hour, $377.8 million per day, $2,65 billion per week and $11.49 billion per month.

"New York state government will spend $16.7 million more per day under the newly enacted budget than it did just five years ago," said E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center. "Our Spend-O-Meter is just one way to put the massive New York state budget in perspective."

To view the Spend-O-Meter visit www.empirecenter.org/spendometer.cfm.

Contact City Editor Mark Scheer at 282-2311, ext. 2250.

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