In his Executive Budget proposal for 2013-2014, Governor Cuomo has put forth an ambitious agenda. While I have many questions about how this spending plan can responsibly fund all the new initiatives he proposed without increasing spending and taxes or forcing new unfunded mandates on our counties, I look forward to reading further into the details laid out today.
My primary focus going forward will be making sure our local schools receive their fair share of aid. The governor’s proposal to redirect $50 million in High Tax Aid to other funding formulas will hit our schools and residents hard, as this portion of education funding is designed to alleviate some of the high property-tax burden on our residents. I will work this year to ensure that Nassau County receives the fair share of school aid needed to provide the quality education every child deserves at an affordable cost to our residents.
Any budget plan this year must also close the projected $1.3 billion deficit and continue to rein in the out-of-control spending of years, even decades, past. Once I get the opportunity to look into all the numbers, I’m hopeful that spending will be kept in line with the 2 percent cap on growth our counties must follow.
Mandate relief is a topic that still needs increased attention, however. Easing our counties and municipalities of mandates will stop property taxes from escalating and allow our local governments to better provide the services we all rely on. While the governor touched on this topic briefly, more work is needed.
As we discuss the proposed budget, it will remain a priority to ensure our job creators aren’t hampered by the red tape and restrictions that cripple growth and development in our communities. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and my legislative colleagues to continue the progress we’ve made in the past two years and enact another on-time, fiscally responsible budget.
Assemblyman Edward Ra is a member of the New York State Assembly representing the 21st District. Due to 2012 redistricting, the new 19th District will cover portions of New Hyde Park, Garden City Park and Mineola. He is a Republican from Franklin Square.