Reading about the state budget is like seasoning a crêpe pan: a civilized thing to do, but not exactly exhilarating. With that in mind, we took the liberty of hyping it up a little. Here are the main plot points coming out of Albany today:
• City Screwed! Okay, not really. New York is losing $308 million in state aid — but a separately negotiated Bloomberg-Spitzer deal restores the full aid package next year, when our glorious surplus dwindles.
• Long Island Takes All! $70 million in new education aid to high-tax districts, out of the total $100 million, is heading east of the city. Westchester, for comparison, is getting $1.2 million, leaving the county's Albany reps furious.
• Socialist Shenanigans! The budget sets the country's highest income ceiling ($82,600 for a family of four) for Child Health Plus eligibility. The move essentially throws government health-care resources open to the middle class. Good going, Comrade Spitzer…
• Cutthroat Capitalism! … except the money comes from carving $1 billion out of Medicaid.
• The Ticking Clock! In a dash to pass the budget on time, most lawmakers hadn't read it, much less debated it, before voting it in; expect the real fighting to start now, as the inevitable last-minute heaps of pork are slowly revealed.
Okay, fine. Still boring.
A Budget Is Born [Empire Zone/NYT]