Assembly passes budget proposal

By NEWSChannel 2 Staff

ALBANY, N.Y. - The New York State Assembly has passed a budget proposal, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi said Tuesday afternoon.

According to Brindisi, the budget proposal includes increases in aid and incentives to municipalities (AIM) funding, accelerates the take over of Medicaid growth, and provides more funding for job creation efforts and and allocates more money for the state's education system.

Brindisi said the proposal also closes an estimated $1.4 billion budget deficit without raising taxes.

The Assembly budget proposal would increase AIM funding for the first time in five years and the Mohawk Valley would see a total increase of $2.8 million, according to a release from Brindisi's office.

"The budget proposal would help create good-paying jobs in our community and give our students a better education," Brindisi stated. "This increase in funding would help stabilize property taxes and relieve some of the heavy burden our municipalities are shouldering." 

Providing relief to local governments

The Assembly budget proposal provides $120 million over the course of two years to accelerate the state takeover of local Medicaid growth. Under the proposal, 2013-14 growth in the local share of Medicaid would decrease to 1-percent, instead of the 2-percent increase under current law. In 2014-15, growth in the local share of Medicaid would be eliminated.

In an effort to provide mandate relief to counties, the Assembly budget increases support to $2,422 per-Full Time Equivalent (FTE) student - an increase of $150 per-FTE student - at SUNY community colleges like Mohawk Valley Community College.

The proposal would also increase school aid by $834 million and maintains the current formula for expense-based aid, which provides an additional $228 million in the 2013-14 school year. That brings the total amount of state aid to $21.1 billion. Brindisi says he believes this increase would go a long way in helping the Utica City School District close their projected $6.2 million budget deficit for the 2013-14 school year.

"We need to make sure our children are getting the best education available to them," Assemblymember Brindisi said. "The proposal includes a change to the education formula that takes into account current population trends that would give our schools their fair share."

Reducing business costs

The Assembly budget proposal includes Unemployment Insurance (UI) reform to make the UI fund solvent. Once fully implemented, employers will save $360.1 million annually, Brindisi said, adding that there will be three additional benefits to businesses:

  • UI Interest Assessment: businesses would no longer pay interest on the federal UI loan once the fund is solvent;
  • Contribution Schedule: businesses would pay contribution rates that are up to 25 percent lower than they pay now; and
  • Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) Reduction: businesses would see the federal unemployment tax rate cut in half.

Brindisi said the Assembly budget proposal also will direct the remaining $2.1 million from an appropriation made for Military Base Retention to support the Griffiss Local Development Corporation, creating and retaining local jobs in the process.

In an effort to improve job education, the Assembly allocated funds that include $1.25 million for a new Advanced Manufacturing Career Opportunity Revolving Loan Fund. Brindisi said this initiative would assist individuals interested in advanced manufacturing - the use of emerging technologies to improve manufacturing - with low-interest loans to obtain training and certification.

The NY Youth Works program would also be extended in the budget proposal. The NY Youth Works program provides disadvantaged youth with job opportunities, offering tax credits to businesses that hire eligible youth. The 2013-14 Assembly budget extends the deadline for business participation to November 2014 and the deadline for employees to start work to December 2014. The city of Utica takes part in this program.

"The Assembly is taking steps to stimulate our local economy and spur job creation," Assemblymember Brindisi said. "By lowering the costs for businesses and providing top-quality job training, the Mohawk Valley would become more business friendly and attractive to outside companies. I look forward to producing a final state budget that is fiscally sound and responsible, a budget that keeps the state on the path of spending control."

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