Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed on a budget deal on Sunday night that would cut spending on health care and education to close a $10 billion shortfall without new taxes or borrowing.
The $132.5 billion budget, down 2 percent from the previous year, arrived five days before an April 1 deadline — the first early budget since Mario Cuomo's first budget in 1983. Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos announced the deal, which will impose $2 billion in cuts to health care and education, close as many as six prisons, and potentially result in the layoffs of 9,800 state workers.
As Chris Smith noted in this week's issue of New York, Cuomo "artfully crafted two endgames" on the budget. With a deal now in hand, he can "take credit for a rare on-time, dramatically slimmed-down budget achieved through even rarer cooperation." But if a deal had failed to materialize, he could have put his own budget through emergency spending bills and blamed the stubborn Legislature.
“I’m hoping that this spirit of love and euphoria that I feel is infectious and grows and continues," Cuomo said on Sunday night. "Do you feel it, Dean?” “I feel it,” said Skelos, according to a report by the Albany Times-Union.
"This is a sober budget, unquestionably. Government had to tighten its belt," said Silver, who failed in an attempt to extend a "millionaire's" income-tax surcharge on the wealthy but did fight off an attempt by Cuomo to cap “pain-and-suffering” awards in medical malpractice cases at $250,000. Mayor Bloomberg said the new budget would not stave off the prospect of teacher layoffs.
N.Y. Budget Deal Cuts Aid to Schools and Health Care [NYT]
Gov. Cuomo seals deal with Legislature on tentative state budget [NYP]
Cuomo, leaders announce $132.5 billion budget deal [Times-Union]
Related: The Stealth Genius of Andrew Cuomo's First 100 Days