March 21, 2001
Assembly unveils $85.97 billion budget resolution
The state Assembly has unveiled a $85.97 billion budget resolution for 2001-02 that includes $519 million in tax cuts and a new commitment of $2.17 billion to the state's general reserves.
"The budget resolution . . . responsibly supports education, health care and job creation, and provides prudent tax cuts to help working families," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said.
The Assembly resolution calls for increasing spending by $1.42 billion above the $41.34 billion General Fund budget proposed by Governor Pataki, the Assembly said in a press release. The Assembly said its resolution also would add $2.29 billion to the Governor's proposed All-Funds budget of $83.68 billion.
The Assembly said its specific budget proposals include:
- An investment of $470 million in high-technology development and university-industry partnerships. Both the Governor and the Senate have also proposed investments in university-based research & development and economic development, and The Business Council has proposed a five-year, $1 billion state investment in university research.
- Various tax cuts, including an expansion of the state's existing Empire Zones and the creation of 14 new ones. (Empire Zones are regions in which employers that site plants and create jobs are eligible for tax credits and other job-creation incentives.) Other proposed tax-cuts include a new child tax credit, reduction in the state's energy Gross Receipts Tax on residential utility customers, and elimination of the marriage penalty tax.
- New spending totalling $327 million on health care. This includes a full restoration of all of Governor Pataki's proposed cuts to growth in Medicaid spending. It also includes new spending totaling $100 million intended to address quality-of-care and staffing issues in nursing homes and new spending of $50 million to help hospitals recruit and retain staff.
- The addition of $107 million to the Governor's proposed spending on higher education. This spending would be focused on funding full-time faculty lines at public colleges and universities ($22 million), increasing aid to community colleges ($34.3 million), increasing the Governor's proposal to improve the state's Tuition Assistance Program ($21 million), and adding $23 million to the Governor's proposed support for various educational opportunity programs.
- A "record" increase in funding for the state's environmental protection fund, including $28 million for municipal parks and waterfront rehabilitation an more than $60 million for open-space land acquisition.
- Increasing by $27.7 million the Governor's proposed funding of public libraries with the intent of improving facilities and updating technology.
- A restoration of funding for road and highway projects to $1.9 billion.
- A four-percent across-the-board increase in state revenue sharing with localities.