One of Cuomo’s campaign promises was to redesign state government. Last year, he merged the state Banking and Insurance committees to come up with the Financial Services Commission. This year, he is proposing a series of other mergers that he says will save $10 million a year annually. Here’s a quick look.
Merge the Division of the Lottery and the Racing and Wagering Board to provide a single entity for the overall coordination of gaming policy and regulation in New York State. The gaming industries constitute a vital sector of New York State’s overall economy, and their continued growth will contribute to economic development and job creation in this State. Gaming options both in and out of New York have expanded exponentially, but regulation of this sector remains mired in the 1960s.
Merge the Department of Civil Service and the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations to provide the State with a single entity responsible for a strategic approach to workforce management, including recruiting, training, promoting, and developing a best in class workforce for the people.
The Department of Taxation & Finance will assume the debt collection functions of HESC while allowing HESC to focus on its core mission of managing TAP financial aid and oversight of loan portfolio servicing.
The Department of Transportation will consolidate regional offices from eleven to six, and eliminate regional directors and supervisory staff, thereby creating a new regional view that better reflects the needs of the State.
Transfer the management of Belleayre Ski Center from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA). Given ORDA’s expertise managing other ski centers (Gore and Whiteface) Belleayre will see improved operations.
Recommend the elimination of more than 25 boards and commissions that are no longer active, or whose missions have been completed or become redundant, and merge other boards that have related missions, which would foster more efficient government.
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Aided by December’s deal to revamp the state’s tax code, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will make his second budget address today, outlining the steps he recommends to close an estimated $2 billion budget gap.
Cuomo will give his address at 2 p.m. in the Kitty Carlisle Hart Theatre at The Egg in Albany.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Cuomo was tight-lipped about what may be inside his proposal, saying he wants it to be viewed “in its totality.” But he hinted that he may tie an $800 million increase in school aid to the passage of a new teacher evaluation system, and that he may push for a new pension tier for new state employees.
The details of his proposal will be released at 11 a.m. His speech will be broadcast live here, starting at 2 p.m.:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal for a new pension tier, part of his budget proposal today, would reduce pension costs by one half compared to the current benefit. Public employers outside New York City would save $83 billion over the next three decades, and New York City would save an estimated $30 billion over 30 years, according to the budget.
These are the changes he wants to implement:
—Increase employee contributions from 3 percent to 4 percent, 5 percent or 6 percent, depending on what the salary level is.
—Increase the retirement age from 62 to 65 and bar early retirements.
—Create a defined-contribution option in the new tier, similar to a 401k, which would be voluntary for new employees. The minimum contribution from the employer would be 4 percent of salary when it is matched by the employee, and employers could match up to 3 percent more of the employee’s contribution.
—Set up a system in which employee contributions to the pension would increase or decrease, within limits, based on economic conditions.
—Decrease the pension multiplier from 2 percent to 1.67 percent for each year of service, which would mean a 30-year employee would receive a pension at 50 percent of final average salary, rather than 60 percent.
—Prohibit overtime and other payments from being used to calculate final average salary.
The governor said he wants to set aside funding for labor contracts that are unsettled until April 1, but not after that.
Property tax cap. Sounds simple enough: Limit the amount of money municipalities and school districts can raise by taxing property owners.
But ask any school district superintendent or financial officer, and the answer will be quite different.
“There’s so much smoke and mirrors that it doesn’t even come close to being a tax cap,” said Watkins Glen Superintendent Tom Phillips. “There’s an eight-step formula for what goes in and what comes out.”
And so, what we’ve been told is a new state 2 percent cap on property taxes in the budgets of cities, towns, villages and school districts is really something else — to be determined in each budget process.
“Yes, it will control increases in municipal and school district spending,” said Phillips. “But it is not a cap.”
Whatever it is, it is likely already causing some sleepless nights for school district officials. Corning-Painted Post Superintendent Michael Ginalski, discussing the budget process recently for this newspaper, summed up the situation in the worst possible terms: “It’s Armageddon. It’s about as bad as it can get.”
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing no new or increased taxes or fees in his 2012-13 budget.
It’s the same pledge he made a year ago and during his 2010 campaign, but which he and the Senate’s Republican majority broke in December.
After flatly rejecting any new taxes for 11 months, Cuomo and the GOP senators agreed to a “millionaire tax” on the state’s top earners that had been pushed by the Assembly’s Democratic majority to avoid further cuts to schools and programs as a deficit deepened.
Cuomo says Tuesday he won’t increase taxes or fees because New York has no future as the tax capital of the nation.
Now his more than $130 billion budget proposal goes the Legislature.