ALBANY – The state’s overall budget will grow to $175.8 billion and include $1.3 billion in “revenue actions," which are tax and fee hikes, including continuation of an income tax surcharge on higher income residents, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed Tuesday.
The governor’s plan includes a 3.6 percent increase in overall aid to 700 public schools, though precise district-by-district funding levels have not yet been released. The funding level increase of nearly $1 billion, however, does not come anywhere near the level advocates and stakeholders have been pressing Cuomo to propose.
The governor’s plan includes $50 million in earmarked aid to help revitalize portions of Buffalo's East Side. The funding will be spread out over three years and includes money to promote mixed-use development, “walkable commercial corridors” and make new state investments in cultural and historic sites. It is among a pot of money Cuomo proposed to spend in various parts of the state.
There were no other immediate details on the East Side plan, but the budget makes an acknowledgement that the sprawling side of Buffalo has not kept pace with improvements in other parts of the city.
Among the “revenue actions” is a limit on Basic STAR property tax exemption income eligibility from $500,000 to $250,000 annually and the creation of three new taxes from the legalization of marijuana. Other tax efforts include expanding sales tax collection on certain internet sales, a tax on vapor products and ending a sales tax exemption on certain energy services.
Expanding the bottle bill to include most non-alcoholic beverage containers has been billed as a major plus for the environment; by 2020, it will also be worth an additional $18 million for the state courtesy of revenues gotten from people who don’t redeem the 5-cent deposits they will have to pay on more beverage containers.
A previously enacted phase-in of a middle-class income tax cut will continue.
The state portion of the budget will be kept to a government-imposed 2 percent growth level, and Cuomo is proposing to make the state's property tax cap program permanent in law.