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Lawmakers React To Cuomo's Budget Plan

Hans Pennink
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, R-Smithtown, points in the Senate Chamber gallery at the Capitol on the opening day of the legislative session on January 4, 2017, in Albany, N.Y.

Some state lawmakers are rejecting Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal to extend a tax on millionaires. The spending plan was outlined to some lawmakers at a lunch at the governor’s mansion, but won’t be available to the public until later Tuesday.

Senate Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan says he’s against a plan by Governor Cuomo to once again extend a tax on millionaires.

“I like cutting taxes,” Flanagan said.

The Senate leader says he does like Cuomo’s proposal to increase funding for schools by an additional billion dollars. Flanagan says he needs to see more details, though, on a proposal to offer free tuition at public colleges to families with incomes up to $125,000 a year.

“I want free tuition, who doesn’t,” Flanagan said. “But if it means we’re going to lose 10,000 jobs because companies are closing, then what’s the point?”

The Senate leader also would like to see private colleges included in the free tuition plan.   

The budget also includes middle class tax cuts for New Yorkers making up to $300,000 a year.

Cuomo’s relationship with the legislature has been tense recently, and several Senators skipped the briefing. One senator, Tom Croci of Long Island, said he didn’t attend because he disagreed with the governor’s decision to tell lawmakers about the budget before informing the public about how taxpayers’ money would be spent.

The senators were not given a total number for the governor’s spending plan, and they received no written documents or bills to read.

Assembly Democrats were to receive their own budget briefing over dinner at the mansion.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.
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