By Tom Precious
ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo will, as he vowed, increase overall state aid to education by 4 percent over last year when he unveils his 2013 state budget later this afternoon.
Administration officials said Cuomo’s budget will not include any tax hikes and will keep the general fund budget – the portion of the fiscal plan paid for mostly through state taxes on individuals and companies – to under 2 percent.
The overall budget, called the all-funds portion, will increase considerably, but administration sources said that is because of a big flow of funds from Washington to help pay for Hurricane Sandy reconstruction costs and new federal funding for President Obama’s health insurance program that will, in New York, be administered by the state. When those two major funding sources are taken out, the all-funds budget should be held to about 2 percent, officials said this morning. Officials declined to provide an all-funds spending number.
The budget will also include a tax break to encourage rehabilitation of historic buildings, seen as especially helping downtown areas such as in Buffalo. The governor last month vetoed an historic tax credit bill, saying the issue should be dealt with in the budget. The new plan, the details of which were not revealed, are expected to be less ambitious – less costly – than the Legislature’s bill from last year.
Western New York economic development officials are also awaiting details for how Cuomo will continue to fulfill his vow to set aside $1 billion in special state funding to help with job creation efforts in the Buffalo area.