Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R,C,I – Elma) expressed a sense of guarded optimism today, immediately following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive proposal for the State’s 2011-12 budget. The initial proposal, unveiled this afternoon in Albany, recommends a total State Budget of $132.9 billion, a 2.7 percent decrease from last year.
“The only way to balance the State’s $10 billion deficit and revitalize its economy is to reduce state spending. The Governor seemingly recognizes this and has proposed to balance the budget without any tax increases or any plans to increase New York’s debt load through borrowing,” said Gallivan, “that is the right place to start budget negotiations.”
The proposal includes some funding reductions for education and Medicaid, which typically receive generous amounts of state funding, but the Governor called for proportionally larger cuts to state operations spending.
“Across New York families and businesses are tightening their belts and cutting expenses to make ends meet, it is time State government does the same. The hard truth is that the state’s current rate of spending is unsustainable and without reductions we will continue to see our citizens migrate to other states, and our small businesses forced to shut their doors. This proposal appears fiscally responsible and its provisions appear economically necessary,” said Gallivan.
The freshman legislator was also pleased that some of the provisions necessary to implement the University at Buffalo’s long-term strategic growth plan, UB 2020, were included in the Governor’s initial budgetary offering.
“It is no secret to the Governor how important UB 2020 and SUNY empowerment is to Western New York’s economy. While I am pleased that provisions allowing for streamlined procurement procedures, and increased flexibility for SUNY schools to engage in public-private partnerships were included, I will continue to impress upon the Governor throughout the budget process how critical it is that we provide the tools necessary for UB to become the economic engine it can be for Western New York,” said Gallivan.
Gallivan did express concern regarding the proposed incentive for rewarding school district efficiency and performance results. “While it’s important to incentivize academic performance in struggling districts, it is equally important we recognize districts that have already realized efficiencies and high academic performance when considering fair and equitable distribution of education aid,” Gallivan said.
The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal is the initial part of New York State’s budget process. The 2011-12 New York State Budget is due April 1st.
“A balanced, on-time, fiscally responsible budget is essential to turning New York State around, but it is only the first step. To create jobs and provide lasting economic opportunity we must stabilize property taxes and provide unfunded mandate relief to our local municipalities and school districts, while structurally reforming the way government spends money by instituting a spending cap to ensure future budgets reflect the responsibility of this year’s proposal,” concluded Gallivan.
Senator Patrick M. Gallivan represents the 59th State Senate District, which includes all or parts of Erie, Wyoming, Livingston, and Ontario Counties.