Cuomo Reaches Deal With Top New York Legislators to Close $10 Billion Gap

March 28, 2011

By Michael Quint -Bloomberg

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and top lawmakers agreed on a budget that eliminates next year’s $10 billion deficit by sticking close to the governor’s proposals for spending cuts without new taxes, they said.

The agreement for the fiscal year that begins April 1 would add $250 million of spending to Cuomo’s proposed $132.5 billionplan. Even with the increase, total outlays would decline 2 percent, the first such drop since at least 1995. Lawmakers, who Cuomo said faced a choice between accepting his plan or shutting down government, may be on a path to achieve New York’s first early budget since 1983.

Cuomo, a 53-year-old Democrat, made the announcement yesterday in Albany, the state capital, after meeting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver , a Democrat from Manhattan, and Senate President Dean Skelos, a Republican from Long Island.

“Well done, my friends,” he said as he reached for handshakes at the end of the press conference.

The agreement “transforms the way we do business,” Cuomo said. Lawmakers agreed with Cuomo’s proposals to limit future spending growth on Medicaid to U.S. medical-cost inflation, starting in April 2012. School aid would grow no faster than personal income among the state’s residents.

Cuts to City

Silver said he expects Democrats in the Assembly will support the budget, even though they lost their bid to extend an 8.97 percent tax on millionaires due to expire Dec. 31. Cuomo and Skelos opposed any new taxes.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the plan cuts state aid “more than ever before” and that the amounts added in the agreement “are merely a fraction of the $600 million necessary to avoid additional layoffs and cuts in the city’s budget.” The state granted no revenue-sharing money to the city for the second consecutive year, while aid to other cities was reduced 3 percent.

The mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, owner of Bloomberg News.

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