On-time budget includes $1.1 billion school aid increase; property tax relief; tax cuts to create jobs

Betty Little

March 31, 2014

“The new enacted state budget addresses a number of priorities for me, including a reduction in the Gap Elimination Adjustment to help schools, extra funding to help municipalities fix roadways damaged by the harsh winter and tax relief for businesses and homeowners to help spur growth.

“My push was for increased Gap Elimination Adjustment restoration funding.  This is the issue I hear about most from my school districts.  The Senate proposed $517 million for GAP, $217 more than proposed by the governor and $150 million more than the Assembly.  The final amount agreed to is $602 million. I voted against the GEA formula in 2010, and I continue to advocate for the elimination of GEA, but I’m glad to see more funding going towards GEA than any other portion of the school aid in this year’s budget.  Overall school aid funding increases by $1.1 billion.

“I am disappointed neither the executive or Assembly was willing to keep Chateaugay Correctional open.  The site will be designated a Start-Up NY tax free zone and economic development funding made available to attract private-sector investment for the facility, but that does not mitigate the immediate economic impact the closure will have on the community.

“I am pleased to see a modest tax credit included to help our upstate theatres.  As chair of the Senate Tourism committee, I sponsored the measure to ensure upstate theatres are able to compete with those in other states where tax credits are offered for ‘teching’ of Broadway shows.  Keeping these productions in New York is good for the economy, good for revenue and good for the arts.”

“Some of the smaller allocations I advocated include $500,000 for a new lyme and tick-borne illness prevention and treatment program, $100,000 for a new pilot program to develop a healthy parenting and mentoring program to address child abuse, new funding for invasive species eradication and small grants to support our apple and maple syrup producers.

“Spending growth is once again held to a 2 percent cap and the budget is adopted on-time.  It comprises a wide-range of priorities reflecting the diversity of the state.”