New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the state's legislators on Sunday struck a deal for the next fiscal budget that mainly targets education reform and corruption at the highest levels of government.
The 2015-16 state budget includes a $5 billion investment plan for New York’s economy, and the objective of keeping the state’s spending growth below 2 percent for the fifth consecutive year. The budget, which is expected to be passed before the start of the fiscal year on April 1, also includes ethics reform measures that will require lawmakers to be more open about their incomes as part of Cuomo's crackdown following a series of scandals that rocked Albany after former assembly speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested in January on federal corruption charges.
“I said I would not sign a Budget without real ethics reform, and this Budget does just that, putting in place the nation's strongest and most comprehensive rules for disclosure of outside income by public officials, reforming the long-abused per diem system, revoking public pensions for those who abuse the public’s trust, defining and eliminating personal use of campaign funds, and increasing transparency of independent expenditures,” Cuomo said, in a statement.
2015-16 Budget includes landmark education reforms & investment, ethics package & $5BN investment in state’s economy: http://t.co/fCm2rN2Kgq
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 30, 2015
In February, Cuomo had said that he would prefer to delay the budget than have one that lacked strong disclosure norms for legislators with outside income. Cuomo's calls for new ethics regulations came even as Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara warned of more arrests over corruption, Bloomberg reported.
Cuomo, who had introduced the education plan in January, announced that the budget agreement includes a $1.5 billion investment on an upstate economic development program, while another $500 million would go toward making New York the first state in the U.S. to have full broadband access. The complete details on the budget will be released Monday, Cuomo’s office said in the statement.
“With this agreement, we address intractable problems that have vexed our state for generations,” Cuomo said. “This is a Budget that all New Yorkers can be proud of.”