State lawmakers approved a $138 billion budget in the 11th hour– literally, at 11:13pm– that includes an increase in education spending, relaxed Common Core requirements, and a host of tax breaks for businesses, homeowners and renters in New York City.
Although this year’s budget comes with a sizable bump in tax breaks, it will take in $1.4 billion more in taxes in the coming year that last year, due to an improving economy in some sectors.
But this year’s biggest winner is New York’s 700 public school districts, which in total will receive $22.3 billion in the state aid formula. That is up $1.12 billion from last year, a sizable 5.4 percent increase.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is happy , touting the state budget deal as a victory since he has secured the funding needed to provide free, full-day prekindergarten and expand after-school programs for every interested middle-school student.
Cuomo blocked the mayor’s proposal to pay for those initiatives by taxing the wealthy. But the mayor said the state’s funding was sufficient.
Still, not everyone was happy: One labor-backed advocacy group said Cuomo caved too much to big business interests.
“Where the budget comes up short is it virtually ignores the need for half the kids in upstate cities living in poverty and instead provides big tax cuts to banks, the wealthiest New Yorkers and to lower Manhattan real estate interests,” said Ron Deutsch, executive director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver sought to downplay some of the criticism:
“This budget is all about compromise. There are things I’d rather not see in this budget, but on balance, I think it’s a great budget,” he said.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is scheduled to sign the legislation at 9:15 a.m. today.