The newly-elected governor of New York has proposed a state budget that will reduce funding for state operations by 10 percent and potentially layoff 10,000 state employees.
Democrat Andrew Cuomo wants to slash spending on schools (by $1.5-billion) and Medicaid (by $982-million) and other services in order to whittle down a $10 billion budget gap.
The governor’s plan also envisions shutting down prisons, youth detention and mental hygiene facilities, as well as cutting spending on higher education by 10 percent.
The newly proposed $133-billion budget includes no new taxes and no new borrowing.
More troubling to state employees (whose union contracts expire when the new fiscal year begins on April 1), the governor will pressure them to accept significant concessions in the next round of contract negotiations. In the absence of such concessions Cuomo warned that 9,800 state jobs could vanish.
Senate Republican Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous said he would have to study the specifics of the proposal, although he generally agrees with Cuomo’s mantra of cutting spending.
Those legislators, whether they be Republican or Democrat, who have had a previous appetite for spending or increasing the budget, get over it because it's not happening, Libous said.
New York City alone would lose at least $700-million in spending under Cuomo’s budget, including a massive $579.7 million cut to city schools.
New York is at a crossroads, and we must seize this opportunity, make hard choices and set our state on a new path toward prosperity, Cuomo said.
We simply cannot afford to keep spending at our current rate. This budget achieves real, year-to-year savings while restructuring the way we manage our state government. This is the first step toward building a new New York.
States across the country, including California, Texas and Illinois, have already proposed austere budgets in order to cope with the fallout from the recession and now the imminent expiration of federal stimulus measures.