March 24, 1999
Senate bill seeks new tax
cuts, reserve for existing cuts
Dispute over funds, spending levels makes late budget seem likely
The state Senate's budget resolution includes $1.1 billion in new tax cuts and a $2.7 billion reserve to guarantee the STAR property-tax relief program and other already enacted tax cuts.
Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno called the resolution "a prudent plan [that] reflects a moderate balance of tax cuts, along with targeted increases in funding and creation of a significant reserve to finance tax cuts in future years."
The Senate budget resolution also includes $1.2 billion in new general fund and capital spending over the Governor's plan, and it would increase the total budget by 2.7 percent over the 1998-99 budget.
The Senate bill passed Tuesday amid strong disagreement among the legislative leaders about both available funds and appropriate spending levels.
The dispute made it increasingly unlikely that lawmakers will reach budget agreement by the April 1 deadline.
The Assembly last week passed a different budget resolution it said would add $1.5 billion in spending to the Governor's budget. That resolution would also set aside $1 billion in a new reserve fun to reduce long-term debt.
On Sunday, the Governor called the Assembly budget resolution "an irresponsible and reckless budget that would seriously imperil our efforts to create jobs, cut taxes, improve education and help local governments control property taxes." Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the Assembly bill is "both fiscally prudent and responsive to the education, health care and job creation needs of New Yorkers."
Budget Director Robert L. King said the Assembly resolution would increase spending by $4.2 billion over current year spending levels and nearly $3 billion above and beyond the Governor's proposed budget.
King said the Assembly plan would increase general fund spending by 7.6 percent, more than three times the rate of inflation. The Assembly said its plan would increase spending 5.4 percent.
Both houses voted to restore Medicaid funding and to spend more on education.
King also charged that the Assembly spending plan would:
- Jeopardize the STAR tax relief program and imperil billions of dollars
in tax cuts passed with bipartisan support and scheduled to take effect
in the next two fiscal years.
- Renege on a December commitment to fully support charter schools. The Assembly resolution would eliminate funding for state charter school programs.