State budget director Robert Megna told reporters today that Gov. Andrew Cuomo will look at ways to help local governments, particularly cities. No decision has been made on how to proceed, he added.
Cuomo will release the 2013-14 state budget in mid-January.
“I think all options are open at this point. I think it’s premature to talk about any specifics,” Megna said after appearing on a panel at the Rockefeller Institute on government mandates.
“We’re looking at a lot of different things to see how we can be most helpful to cities given their current fiscal condition.”
Megna said Cuomo has taken steps to limit mandates on local governments, citing the new pension tier last year and a cap on Medicaid costs for counties.
“We know that they are still experiencing very difficult fiscal continues,” Megna said. “We know that the pension actions that we took last year, which were enormous will take some time to benefit local governments. But at the same time, especially in a relatively short time the governor has been in office, that we have tackled two of the biggest local fiscal issues.”
He said it’s a victory that aid to municipalities—mainly cities—have not been cut outside NYC. It’s been flat for several years.
Cuomo has set up a task force to find additional ways to provide mandate relief to local governments. It held hearings around the state earlier this year, but it hasn’t met recently, said Sen. Betty Little, R-Glens Falls.