Governor, legislative leaders agree on available funds, budget framework
Governor Pataki and key legislative
leaders have announced a three-way agreement on the "framework"
for a state budget and on the amount of funds available for that budget.
Conference committees comprising members of the Assembly and Senate will begin hammering out the details of a budget Wednesday, April 5, the leaders said. The general conference committee will meet Wednesday at 11 a.m. with other subcommittees to begin meeting at 1 p.m.
The agreement identifies $1.4 billion in additional available revenues for the budget, including $500 million in one-time revenues that they said would be targeted toward one-time needs, according to the Governor's news release.
The agreement also specifies that $1.2 billion in new tax cuts will be included in the budget. What taxes will be cut and by how much remains to be negotiated, but the final tax-cut package is expected to include a phased-in repeal of the state's gross receipts tax (GRT) on energy. GRT repeal is a top legislative priority of The Business Council this year
"The framework for the coming budget negotiations looks very promising," said Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh.
"The prospect of more than $1 billion in new tax cuts is great news for New Yorkers and their economy. These reductions would make 2000 the seventh consecutive year in which New York reduced its taxes. Tax cuts since the mid-1990s helped make New York's current surplus possible, and more reductions can only help strengthen and broaden New York's economic recovery.
"We believe repeal of the GRT on energy would be especially beneficial upstate, where the economy depends more on manufacturing, a sector that tends to be energy-intensive," he added.
A goal of the conference-committee process is to complete budget negotiations by Thursday, April 13, so a budget could be in place before the start of Passover, Senator Bruno said at a Tuesday press conference.
The budget agreement also includes:
- $300 million in additional capital authorizations over two years.
- A commitment to keeping the state's fiscal reserves at well over $3 billion, which includes $1.2 billion for the START tax-cut reserve fund, $750 million for debt reduction, $547 for the state's "rainy day" fund, a $475 million for collective bargaining, and $150 million for a fund that protects the state against lawsuits.