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Cuomo keeps tight grip on his budget proposal

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Governor Andrew Cuomo released his $152.3 million budget proposal for 2017-18 last night, but not with any sort of public presentation. He briefed legislators on the budget during the day and reporters later that night.

The way that Cuomo's handling this budget breaks hard from tradition. Usually, he explains the budget to legislators and the press during a presentation, and then the state's budget director fields questions. The press hasn't had a chance to ask any questions about the proposal at this point.

The budget plan provides for a continuation of the millionaires' tax and slightly decreases middle-income tax rates. It also provides for a $1 billion increase in education aid, for a total of $25.6 billion.

Cuomo laid out many of his other big budget proposals earlier this month as he traveled around the state to deliver his State of the State addresses.

The budget includes:
  • A $163 million allocation to make SUNY and CUNY schools tuition-free for middle-class students;
  • An expansion of the state's Buy American provisions to cover purchases over $100,000;
  • A five-year, $2 billion investment in clean water infrastructure;
  • A provision doubling the New York State Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
The budget also includes proposals to cap prescription drug prices by leveraging the state's Medicaid system and requires county executives and administrators to lead local governments in developing cost-cutting and consolidation plans. Those plans are intended to reduce property taxes and will be put to public vote in November.

Cuomo's budget proposal also includes several ethics reforms, including limits on outside income for legislators and provisions to close some campaign finance loopholes. Cuomo has pushed those changes previously, but they've stalled in the legislature.

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