Home / Opinion / Cuomo’s budget plan gets mostly high marks

Cuomo’s budget plan gets mostly high marks

The vast majority of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll give high marks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed executive budget, a spending plan totaling $132.9 billion, down 2.7 percent from the year before.

But some 49 percent of readers say the proposed 2.7 percent spending cut is too little.

Cuomo’s plan eliminates a $10 billion deficit without raising taxes or borrowing, with cuts to Medicaid spending and school aid producing the largest savings. Among other actions, the plan also calls for up to 9,800 state layoffs if negotiations with unions do not produce necessary savings.

The proposal eliminates the projected 2011-12 gap with $8.9 billion in recurring spending actions—nearly 90 percent of the total plan—and $340 million in revenue enhancements. It does not extend a temporary state income tax increase on wealthy New Yorkers.

Five percent or respondents say the cuts are too much, and 45 percent say they are about right.

Roughly 575 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted Feb. 7 and 8.

Overall, how would you grade Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2011-12 budget plan?
A: 42%
B: 46%
C: 8%
D: 2%
F: 2%

In your view, are the proposed spending cuts too much, too little or about right?
Too little: 49%
About right: 45%
Too much: 5%

What is your political affiliation?
Republican: 43%
Non-affiliated: 30%
Democrat: 23%
Other: 4%

COMMENTS:

We cannot judge words. Only action. I will reserve judgment until there are results. Sounds good, but wait and see. When Sheldon Silver gets a hold of it, then we will see who is in charge.
—Ted Marks

We need to stop being afraid of taxing the wealthiest living in the state. Their gratitude for being afforded the privilege of living in this great state is weak or non-existent. What shows more is greedy self-interest. If they leave, so be it. Others with a greater sense of the greater good will replace them. Laying off teachers, nurses in favor of coddling millionaires is not the way to go. And yes, the astronomical salaries of school superintendents have got to be reined in.
—Claude Wren, Wren Consulting

It’s a sign of the “Alice in Wonderland” quality of N.Y. politics that a liberal Democrat governor is more fiscally responsible and concerned about taxpayers than the Republicans in the state Senate. He’s called their bluff, and they had better support him or there will be a lot of GOP primaries next round.
—Bob Sarban

The entitlements of Medicaid and welfare must be transformed. Welfare recipients must work for their wage and contribute to their community. Property and school taxes in Upstate New York must be frozen and then reformed. Schools “investing” an average of $15,000 per student is crazy, given the plight and outcomes of public schools. I hold little hope in actual reform, given the track record of all the politicians in this state.
—Leslie Apetz

It’s a good start but needs to go further. Capping our property taxes, among the highest in the nation, to a 2 percent increase is not going to keep young people from leaving the area.
—Domenick Vitulli

Not sure I like the cuts to education over other areas, but you have to start reducing the budget somewhere. Unless the Assembly or Senate can come up with a better idea, go with Cuomo’s budget.
—Deb Oppenheimer

I haven’t seen the details, but I trust Andrew to do it right. This state has so much fat; a missed meal or two wouldn’t kill it.
—Stanley Hilt

Although the condition of New York State’s economy has forced the governor to make tough decisions on cuts, he continues to ignore the overinflated salaries, retirement funds and benefits of New York State’s union workers. He prefers instead to take make major cuts in education funding and then tries to divert attention from the impact the cuts will make by taking unwarranted shots at school superintendents’ salaries while forgetting to mention the number of current vacancies for these positions across the state that schools are desperate to fill. His education cuts also are extremely inequitable the way they are set up, taking a larger percentage from rural schools that have less ability to make up the loss in aid because of their tax base.
—Phillip Trautman, Jamestown Container

The State University of New York is still in dire need of a sane tuition policy. The governor should not keep cutting expenditures for operating our university system while he and the Legislature disallow modest tuition increases. We cannot expect SUNY to be the vibrant economic engine that it can be while the governor treats tuition income as a cash cow supplementing general state revenues. It is good that we have one of the lowest-cost public college systems in the nation, but SUNY needs more stability in its finances.
—John Osowski

From my point of view, this is a very good first step. It appears to be much more than a Band-Aid. Although I feel we could go much further in spending cuts, I am impressed that he hasn’t ducked the tough issues or tried to pass them on to the next year/administration/generation/political party. Better than shutting down the roads around the casinos, I might add.
—Bill Lanigan

I heard Gov. Cuomo’s speech in Buffalo last week. I was impressed with his rhetoric about the budget and reform. My biggest disappointment is he doesn’t go far enough. The budget reduction is less than 2 percent for the coming year. His target should be 5 percent for each of the next 10 years.
—John Rynne, president, Rynne, Murphy & Associates Inc.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the stands our new governor is taking. I hope he truly means what he says and does not back down. New York State is long overdue for a dose of fiscal and budget reality. It’s time to take the bitter medicine. Kudos, Andrew! Don’t let the special interests get to you! Now, let’s all pray he can pull it off before New York goes off the fiscal cliff.
—George Thomas, Ogden

He needs to stop talking about how he’s going to fix the mess and just do it.
—Pete LaFauci

2/11/11 (c) 2011 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.

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