Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a cabinet meeting this afternoon to tout the deal with lawmakers on a 2013-14 budget, saying the agreement will help fuel the economy and limit state spending.
He also said he would issue an executive order this week to create a health-care exchange, which is mandated by the federal government but has stalled in the Republican-led Senate. Cuomo now believes he doesn’t need legislation to create the exchanges for businesses and individuals to find health insurance.
Cuomo said the budget doesn’t include any new taxes. But it does include keeping higher taxes on millionaires, which is closing most of the state’s $3.5 billion budget gap — which he didn’t mention.
Next year’s budget gap was initially $715 million. Now it’s $950 million, budget director Robert Megna said.
“I think it’s a smart, intelligent” document, Cuomo says of on-time budget. Cuomo said lawmakers are expected to pass it Thursday.
Usually, a budget deal is announced by the governor and the legislative leaders. Cuomo, however, choose the cabinet route. He said he plans to have a news conference with the leaders later this week after the budget is approved. The state’s fiscal year starts Sunday, which is April 1.
“New York is back on track and working for the people of the state,” says Cuomo’s secretary Larry Schwartz.
Some lawmakers wanted language in the budget that would prevent teacher evaluations from being public — a measure that was being pushed by labor unions. But Cuomo said he thinks the information should at least be available to parents, but tried to draw a fine line between that and making the evaluations widely available.
“The parent has a right to know the evaluation information of the teacher,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo said talks would continue on how to handle the evaluations’ release, but not as part of the budget.
And Cuomo ended with a pat on the back to his team: “It’s been a really great job. So congratulations to all of you.”