The fact that the entire unionized New York City municipal workforce is working under expired contracts is a big problem, but it does not mean that all municipal workers have gone without raises since their contracts expired.
As CBC warned last year, the school aid genie did not go back in the bottle. The fiscal year 2015 New York State enacted budget increased school aid by $1.1 billion for school year 2014-15, or 5.4 percent.
As the final contours of the fiscal year 2014-15 New York State budget are shaped over the coming days the legislature should retain three little mentioned but important proposals by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Although compromises from positions supported by the Citizens Budget Commission, the Governor’s proposals are meaningful reforms; they should not be omitted or watered down as they were in the Senate and Assembly “one-house” budget resolutions.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fiscal year 2014-15 Executive Budget proposes to increase education aid from $21.1 billion to $21.9 billion, a change of $807 million or 3.8 percent from school year 2013-14. If the legislature approves the increase, school year 2014-15 will mark the first year that school aid surpasses its pre-recession 2009-10 peak. Unfortunately, much of this large infusion of resources will be misdirected to school districts with less need than others.
A recent report, made available online by the New York City Independent Budget Office, offers important insights into New York City’s municipal workforce. The workforce is aging, with more than -one-third eligible for retirement by 2017. City leaders need to think boldly about how best to reconfigure the City’s compensation and hiring practices to attract a young and skilled workforce in coming years.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fiscal year 2014-15 Executive Budget proposes to increase total education aid from $21.1 billion to $21.9 billion, a change of $807 million or 3.8 percent from school year 2013-14. Of the total increase $100 million is for universal prekindergarten expansion, $79 million is for unspecified uses and $25 million funds performance grants for teachers and school districts.
On January 21 Governor Andrew Cuomo presented a $142.1 billion fiscal year 2015 Executive Budget. One of its the most anticipated features – previewed at the State of the State address two weeks ago – was a projected $2 billion annual surplus beginning in fiscal year 2016-17. This surplus is achieved only if growth in state operating fund spending (total spending excluding capital funds and federal aid) is held at 2 percent or less.
Governor Cuomo has stated the $2 billion in tax cuts he proposed in his State of the State address on January 8 can be paid for with surplus funds that will become available in fiscal year 2016-17 if State Operating Funds disbursements can be held to an annual growth rate of no more than 2 percent and receipts grow as projected. With school aid and Medicaid – the two largest items in the state budget – growing at annual rates at or above 4 percent under separate statutory caps, all other categories of spending, including agency operations, will face offsetting reductions to the plan if the net increase in overall state spending is to be kept to 2 percent.
The report from the State Tax Reform and Fairness Commission released yesterday contains many smart proposals and deserves serious study by the Governor and the Legislature. Two ideas in particular are especially worthwhile – reducing exemptions from the sales tax and reforming business tax incentives.
In the past two weeks the State Comptroller released the office’s annual review of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) financial outlook and the New York Times’ “Room for Debate” featured four contributions addressing “Is there any hope for NYC Transit?” The mix of fact and opinion in these writings may leave many readers more confused than enlightened.