(photo: Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Governor Andrew Cuomo released his 2021 executive budget proposal in Albany earlier this month, presenting a $178 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year. 

This 2021 budget presented him with the second-largest budget gap he has ever faced, after his first year when he closed a whopping $10 billion hole through major cuts to school aid and a redesign of the state Medicaid program.

Last week the governor proposed significant reforms to quickly-increasing state Medicaid spending with plan to slice projected Medicaid spending by billions. In total, Cuomo is projecting Medicaid spending to grow to about $20 billion in the 2021 fiscal year, up from $19.4 billion this year, a 3% increase.

The governor also promoted tax cuts for the middle class that are continuing to go into effect and proposed a new tax cut for small businesses.  Coumo also said one of his other top line priorities is the legalization of adult use of marijuana, but he did not address the revenue implications. "Legalize adult use cannabis, I believe it is best done in the budget. I said that last year. I believe the budget is the opportunity, frankly, to make some tough decisions and work through tough issues. That without the budget, can often languish, and I suggest that we get it done in the budget."   He also mentioned passing the Equal Rights Amendment, and reforming the state’s bail reform laws, among other items.

The governor also spoke of other proposals that will not have a budget impact but that he has made his top priorities in the legislative session including new gun control measures, a ban on flavored vaping products, legalizing e-scooters and e-bikes, and passing a new domestic terrorism laws.

The proposal sets the stage for negotiations with the Legislature over the next few months. Both the State Senate and Assembly will release their own one-house budget resolutions that detail each chamber’s budget and policy priorities. The three sides have just over two months to come to an agreement before the April 1 start of the 2021 fiscal year.

The next episode of Represent NYC discusses healthcare on a City Council level: 

In his speech, Cuomo reiterated many proposals he advanced in his State of the State speech earlier this month:

  • Investments in the state’s capital program that funds long-term infrastructure projects, as well as continuing investments in programs that are already underway. 
  • A proposed a $10 million increase in funding for outreach efforts for the 2020 Census, building on a $20 million allocation last year and an announcement that another $40 million in state resources would be redirected towards the undertaking.
  • A $33 billion five-year plan to tackle climate change, including a $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act that he wants to put before voters this fall, with another $740 million in additional state funding. 
  •  $28 billion set aside for renewable energy projects while $1.5 billion is pegged for carbon-free transportation alternatives.  

“This is not the time to come up with creative, although irresponsible, revenue sources to solve a problem which doesn't really exist.”  Cuomo said.   “You can be a progressive and you can be fiscally sound, and that's exactly what this budget does.”    

Article repurposed with permission from Gotham Gazette 

Full original Article written by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette

(photo: Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)