O'Mara on Cuomo budget: good on spending control, tax cuts, upstate manufacturing and revisiting Common Core, but disappointed no change on future of Monterey Shock

Thomas F. O'Mara

January 21, 2014

Albany, N.Y., January 21—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) today highlighted key parts of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2014-2015 state budget, including proposals to keep state government spending in check for the fourth consecutive year and launch an aggressive tax-cutting program aimed at creating upstate manufacturing  jobs. 

On the economic and fiscal reform fronts, several of the governor’s key proposals are in step with O’Mara’s own overriding priorities: upstate economic growth and community development, and overall state fiscal reform.  In particular, O’Mara has long promoted tax and regulatory relief as one way to spark a revitalization of Upstate New York’s manufacturing sector.   As the governor previously announced, his proposed budget includes a series of tax cuts aimed at upstate manufacturers and pledges a focus on regulatory reform.

“I’ve been saying it, and I’ll keep on saying it: New York government needs to stay focused, more than anything else, on taking action after action on long-term fiscal discipline, manufacturing job growth and eliminating the crushing burdens of mandates, regulations and taxes.  Let’s get this job done. For me, this is where it begins and ends. From building strong families to creating thriving, vibrant communities, all that we hope to accomplish for a secure and successful future starts with and depends on a strong and sustainable 21st-century Upstate economy.  An aggressive commitment to the future of Upstate New York is priority number one,” said O’Mara.

O’Mara also welcomed Cuomo’s call for the creation of a special panel to revisit the implementation of the state’s Common Core educational standards.

“We’ve been hearing from thousands of educators, parents and students locally and all across New York State. The Common Core implementation has been a disaster.  I strongly agree that we need to go back and take a good, hard look at what this is doing to our students and their families, as well as to the overall quality of our school districts,” said O'Mara.

[watch Senator O'Mara's reaction immediately following today's budget presentation HERE]

O’Mara said Cuomo’s roughly $140-billion fiscal plan calls for continuing to exert long-term control over future state spending.  For the fourth straight year, the governor’s plan essentially keeps a lid on year-to-year state spending growth, keeping it under 1.7% this year, and calls for an ongoing realignment, streamlining and overhaul of the state bureaucracy.

O'Mara expressed disappointment, however, that the governor's proposal doesn't change course on the Cuomo administration's previously announced plan to shut down the Monterey Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility in Schuyler County this year. 

"We made a strong case, fiscally and from a quality-of-service standpoint, for saving the Elmira Psychiatric Center.  The Cuomo administration listened," said O'Mara.  "I believe we've made an equally strong case for keeping the Monterey facility open, and I keep hoping the governor will hear us on this one too.  The Cuomo budget doesn't include any change of heart on Monterey, and that's disappointing. But we're not giving up.  It's too important for the local economy, regional community service and the effectiveness of correctional services statewide." 

O’Mara said that the next step in this year’s budget adoption process is for state legislators, local leaders and the public to begin analyzing the details of the new Cuomo plan and assessing its impact on specific programs and services.  Details on the governor’s budget proposal can be found on the state Division of the Budget (DOB) website, www.budget.ny.gov.  

Area residents can also respond to a new Web poll that asks, “Does Governor Cuomo’s proposed state budget focus on the right priorities and keep New York moving in the right direction in 2014?”

O’Mara’s website also continues to offer a more extensive “2014 Community, Jobs and Economy Survey” that targets budget-related actions in more detail.

The Legislature’s fiscal committees begin a series of public hearings on the Cuomo plan next week.  

The state’s new fiscal year begins on April 1, 2014 and state leaders are aiming, for the fourth year in a row, to have a new state budget in place before that April 1st deadline.