“Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal marks the official starting point for a little more than two-month process of reaching an accord on the 2014-15 state spending plan.
“Beginning next Monday, the Senate and Assembly will hold a series of joint legislative budget hearings. It’s our chance to question commissioners and other state agency heads about the proposal to gain a more in-depth understanding of the Cuomo administration’s plan for the next fiscal year. Following that, each house will craft its own proposal and conference committees will convene to work out the differences.
“As expected, today’s budget address mirrored some of the State of the State points, including a continued focus on the economy and tax cut proposals to help families and businesses.
“In addition to the economy, education and health care will be main focal points of the budget. My hope is that we can eliminate the GAP elimination from the school aid formula, which has hurt rural school districts disproportionately. While the goals of universal pre-k and expanded after school programming are laudable, I want to ensure they are affordable and do not result in any unfunded mandates school districts cannot afford.
“By controlling spending the past few years, we’ve eliminated a $10 billion deficit and are projecting a budget surplus. On-time budgets and fiscal restraint were unheard of not long ago. I’m hopeful the trend continues.”