ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing to close three New York state prisons and make other cost-cutting moves to close what he says is a multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall caused by a decrease in tax revenues.
The Democrat on Friday issued his revenue re-estimates and amendments to the $175 billion spending plan he released to the Legislature on Jan. 15.
The changes include a plan to this year close three prisons to be chosen after a review by state corrections officials. Cuomo says the state's inmate population has dipped below 47,000, the lowest in 30 years.
State Senator Joe Griffo implies the initiative is politically motivated.
"We are disappointed that the Governor, through a budget amendment, has proposed the closure of three correctional facilities in New York State," Sen. Joe Griffo said in a statement to NEWSChannel 2. "There is no statistical and legitimate evidence to support this proposal, except for the Democrat-controlled government’s desire and philosophy to coddle criminals and release them early into the general population. These closures could have a number of negative impacts, particularly leading to overcrowding at the remaining correctional facilities and creating additional and unnecessary problems and safety issues for employees and others at those sites."
The governor says the closures won't result in staff layoffs.
The budget revisions come as Cuomo deals with a $2.6 billion revenue reduction he blames on changes Republicans in Congress made to the federal tax code last year.
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