Governor’s Budget Proposal Offers Putnam Hope But Also Challenges
On Tuesday, January 21, Governor Cuomo spelled out his 2014-’15 budget proposal, an ambitious plan that calls for numerous incentives to spur business growth, Universal Pre-K and publicly funded political campaigns, among many other features. Under his plan, state spending would remain below the self-imposed 2% cap that has been a hallmark of recentAlbanybudgets. He also called for numerous state spending cuts, additional staff to help implement the plan for new commercial upstate casinos, phase out the 18-a assessment on electrical bills more quickly, and freeze state property taxes for two years.
From an overall business perspective, it seems positive. Heather Briccetti, President/CEO of the Business Council of New York State, said “There is much for business to be encouraged about with the emphasis on holding growth in overall state spending to under 2 percent while promoting private sector investments and job creation, and increasing in-state personal income, through broad-based business tax relief.” The Business Council of Westchester’s Marsha Gordon added, “…achieving these goals must be a priority in the state Capitol so that businesses all across New York can expand, thrive and succeed in the years to come.”
The picture for Putnam is a bit less clear. Some communities, such asCarmel, have voted to exceed the 2% cap on spending, and continuing that policy means we residents wouldn’t be eligible for the property tax freeze. Plus, the second year of the property tax freeze would require communities to adopt shared services and consolidation, a daunting prospect in a county with multiple villages used to working independently. Being within theMTAregion, Putnam’s manufacturers would also be ineligible for any of the tax breaks being afforded those further upstate. We should view this budget with cautious optimism but also the realization that much of its benefits will be felt elsewhere inNew YorkState.
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, thePutnamCountyChambers of Commerce