WENY's Political Analyst weighs in on NYS Budget
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Monday marks the start of the new fiscal year for New York State, and lawmakers managed to pass a budget on time over the weekend. The $175 billion spending plan includes a variety of deals. Elmira College Professor of American Politics, Dr. Jim Twombly sat down with WENY's Isabel Garcia to break down some of the takeaways.
"If that legislature does not pass a permanent property tax cap, this hand will never sign that state budget," Governor Cuomo said during an address in Peekskill back on March 13th.
And lawmakers did just that.
The 2019 - 2020 state budget includes a permanent tax cap, which limits property tax growth to a maximum of 2%, or the rate of inflation. WENY's Political Analyst Dr. Jim Twombly explain what this means for local municipalities.
"It may have been needed to try to reign in local government spending, but at the same time, it really hog-ties local government in terms of its ability to offer goods and services, especially when we're in an era of getting less and less support from up the federal ladder," says Dr. Twombly.
The budget also calls for the closure of up to three state prisons, with 1,200 beds on the chopping block. It's a move lawmakers hope can save the state upwards of $35 million. While the prisons have yet to be named, the communities in which they reside will feel an economic impact.
"Well if you want to think of the image of the community -- what community wants to be known for having two major prisons in the area and having that run the economy? But on the other hand, it is something of a source of pride in that we have these jobs," Dr. Twombly says.
Another notable part of the budget deal includes voting reforms; specifically, the measure mandates three hours of paid time off for New Yorkers to go vote on Election Day.
"If workers who are living on minimum wage or subsidized wages can't sometimes afford to take that time off, even though they're supposed to be given it. Now, employers will have to give them the time off and they will get paid for it to go vote," Dr. Twombly explains.
The budget also eliminates cash bail for most criminal defendants and codifies the Affordable Care Act into state law. New York State of Health serves more than 4.7 million residents.