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Cuomo to unveil budget on Tuesday

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Rochester: Cuomo to unveil budget on Tuesday
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Governor Andrew Cuomo will unveil his budget proposal for the 2013 - 2014 fiscal year on Tuesday. Zack Fink has more on what we can expect in his announcement.

NEW YORK STATE -- It's a different economic time than it was just a few years ago. And while growth has been slow, the state is no longer hemorrhaging money.

Elizabeth Lynam, with Citizens Budget Commission, said, "Well, we are in a bit of a turnaround situation. We came into a very difficult place a few years ago with the great recession and we were facing $10 billion gaps, $12 billion budget gaps, we have brought those gaps down."

While there is still a gap of about a billion dollars, that’s a relatively small number in a $132 billion state budget. In other words, Governor Andrew Cuomo is no longer just plugging holes. Instead, he has more room for bold proposals.

"When it comes to education, I say two words: More and better," Cuomo said.

The Governor wants to expand the school day for students and implement full day pre-kindergarten. These initiatives have been on parent wish lists for years. It's still not clear how the Governor would propose paying for them, however.

Cuomo also wants public financing of political campaigns.

"Implement a public financing system based on New York City. It works well in New York City, it'll work well in New York State," said Cuomo.

How this would be paid for is also unclear. At least one study suggests that the cost to state government would be about $56 million per year.

Lynam said, "If it’s a key agenda item, then state leader should be willing to give up spending in other areas to make programs such as that fit in with an overall spending target that's limited."

Another big issue in New York State has been mandate relief. This is less of a concern for New York City, but municipalities that enacted a property tax cap at Cuomo's direction two years ago say they have had difficulty staying within that cap due to state spending mandates, as well as rising pension and health care costs. One solution is for towns to merge and share services. Something that local governments have traditionally resisted.

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