Four impacts of NY's 'budget extender'

Lawmakers Extend Current NY Budget

ALBANY -- The state Legislature was poised Monday to pass "a budget extender" to keep the government operating.

The measure is necessary to continue to pay for services, programs and pay about 150,000 employees across New York who work for the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced the extender Monday to keep state government running until May 31 because he and the Legislature were unable to reach a budget deal for the 2017-18 fiscal year that started April 1.

"We need to use this time to address the growing problems facing our state," Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, said during the extender vote.

The sides continue to work toward a final budget, and the 213-seat Legislature won't get paid until there's a final agreement.

In the meantime, here's the impact on state operations while the extender would be in place:

State services

The 1,558-page extender put forth by Cuomo would spend about $15.3 billion in state funds over the two months.

With federal funding for programs included, the total spending comes to about $24.6 billion.

It also includes $18 billion for the state's capital projects -- which need to pay out in a yearly basis, according to the state Budget Division. That money goes to mainly fund infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and public transit.

Some of Cuomo's initiatives also appear to have made it into the spending plan, including a $2.5 billion water infrastructure bond and a raise for home-health-care workers.

Schools

Without a final budget deal, schools are without details on how much state aid they will get.

That's a major problem as districts prepare their budgets for a public vote May 16.

Schools dealt with late state budgets for decades, but now it's different, education advocates said: They are contending with the property-tax cap, which was implemented in 2011 and limits their funding options.
Districts have to finalize their budgets by April 24.

"It puts superintendents and school boards in a difficult position," said Robert Lowry, deputy director for the state Council of School Superintendents.

Lawmakers' salaries

In 1999, then-Gov. George Pataki reached an agreement with the Legislature to ban lawmakers from getting paid when the budget is past due. The measure was part of a deal to increase lawmakers' base pay to the current $79,500.

While the Legislature's staff will get paid, the elected officials themselves won't until a final budget is reached.
A deal could come before May 31, but if it isn't -- they will forego their pay. The money won't be lost, though: They will get their back pay when a deal is reached.

The state Comptroller's Office keeps the money in escrow until then.

In Washington

The extension, Cuomo said, would afford the state more time to sort out the fiscal impact on New York from policies in Washington.

Cuomo has warned the state could face at least $1 billion in federal aid cuts over the next year. With a May 31 budget extension, the federal government will have had released some details about its own spending priorities, Cuomo said.

“In this environment our state budget takes on much greater significance," Cuomo said in a statement late Sunday.

"Indeed, it is not merely a budget at all: It is a statement of values, a guarantee of personal protection and a safeguard of financial security."

 

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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