Governor Andrew Cuomo took exactly 40 minutes on Tuesday to outline his $168 billion 2019 budget proposal, sharing with the legislature how he plans to close a $4.4 billion budget gap, deflect damage from federal tax cuts and explore regulated marijuana. The governor was also heckled by a member of his own party, Democrat downstate Assemblyman Charles Barron, who interrupted the governor as he discussed increasing education spending. Barron left the auditorium mid-address, at the end of the less-than-polite discourse.
One way the governor is proposing deflecting any possible harm to NYS taxpayers from federal tax cuts: rewriting New York's tax code, so that the employer, not the emplolyee, pays.
"I guess the question is, if that's the solution, and it seems like a simple solution, why haven't many other states undertaken this?" asked Republican Assemblyman Marc Butler.
"That's something I think we're gonna have to tread very, very lightly here," said Republican Senator James Seward. "We have to take steps that actually do not harm New York's competitiveness with other states."
The governor also wants the NYS Department of Health to study the economic, health and criminal justice impact of regulated marijuana.
"I think a department of health study is the right way to go. We already have marijuana for medicinal purposes in NY State, so let's do a study over what the effects would be over legalization outright," said Democrat Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi.
As far as the governor's proposed 'revenue raisers' to close the $4.4 billion budget gap, Republican Senator Joseph Griffo wonders if that's just a pretty term for an ugly truth.
"Those revenue enhancers, another word for those, would be types of taxes."
This year, it's unclear what would constitute and on-time budget, as religious holidays of Easter and Passover occur in late March.