Democratic Gov. Cuomo on Sunday said “Congress has declared war” on New York and the federal government’s impending cuts played havoc on planning a state budget.
“That was a big sticking point in [our] budget, Cuomo told John Catsimatidis on his AM 970 radio show. Are yo“I don’t know what is going to happen this year. … A lot of people in Congress have declared war on New York.”
He said a combination of factors – including federal reforms that could eliminate deductions for state and local taxes and the financial hit the state could take in the health care overhaul, which could cost $6 billion – sowed seeds of confusion in coming up with a responsible budget.
He said the state budget includes a “Federal Financial Response Mechanism” that gives “my administration the authority to implement a [budget] plan if we get cut.”
He said the state’s financial standing is at stake.
“We have a reputation of being financially stellar and I want to keep that reputation,” he said.
Overall, Cuomo praised the $153.1 billion budget as one that benefits the middle class through tax cuts, tuition help and controlling property tax increases.
“This agenda was structured around helping middle class, because the middle class feels it’s left out,” he said. “We hear you. We hear your tension and anger, and the state is behind you.”
He called the plan to make tuition free at state colleges and universities for students in families making $125,000 or less a “life-changer” that will make higher education “affordable and accessible” for New Yorkers.
“College is today what high school was 50 years ago,” Cuomo said.
Increasing educational opportunities for state residents will not only create a more attractive climate for business, but is also important on a “moral level.”
He also praised the proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 from 16, saying teens face “terrible abuses” in the criminal justice system.
“We’re going to treat 15- and 16-year-olds differently,” Cuomo said. “You can’t put 15- or 16-year-olds in jail with hardened criminals.”