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Cuomo signs $212 billion 2022 budget to mixed reactions

NEW YORK STATE — After weeks spent waiting in anxious anticipation, New York State residents and officials were at last able to breathe a sigh of relief as Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the 2022 state budget. Totaling $212 billion, next year’s budget seeks to continue supporting middle-class tax cuts to help New Yorkers recover from the economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic; lower income tax rates; and continue investing in essential programs and services to benefit local communities.

Even with the burdens posed by the health crisis, the 2022 budget process was unlike anything the state has faced in recent years. While the budget was due on Thursday, April 1, the governor missed the annual deadline as he was locked in negotiations with state lawmakers. By Wednesday, April 7, the budget had been passed by the State Senate and the State Assembly, but Cuomo didn’t officially sign the fiscal plan until Monday, April 19.

As published on his website, www.governor.ny.gov, anticipated tax cuts are expected to save 4.8 million New Yorkers more than $2.2 billion by the end of 2021. 

Enacted in 2016, this is now the fourth year of tax cuts, and once they’re fully phased in, middle-class taxpayers will have “received an income tax cut of up to 20%, saving 6 million filers a projected $4.2 billion per year by 2025,” according to the governor’s website. 

For New York homeowners with incomes up to $250,000, next year’s budget will provide a personal income tax credit if their total property tax exceeds a fixed percentage of their income. The governor claims that this framework targets New York families with the highest property tax to income burden, and according to his website, which will average “about $340 for 1.1 million New Yorkers, providing over $382 million in total savings.”

“As we continue to jump start our economic recovery, reopen our society safely and build a brighter future for our children, these tax cuts will provide much-needed relief by putting money back into the pockets of middle-class New Yorkers,” Cuomo said in a statement issued on April 19. “There’s no doubt that our state will bounce back stronger and better than before, and in the interim, it’s critical we support the New Yorkers who helped get us through this crisis and take steps to rebuild an economy that works for all.”

Budget highlights

The 2022 enacted state budget outlines $111 billion in state operating funds; $1 billion invested in small business and arts relief and recovery assistance; $5.5 billion in federal aid; $29.5 billion in school aid; and $7.7 billion in state support for higher education. 

It also features continued support of the state’s affordable and homeless housing capital plan; first-in-the-nation affordable internet for low-income families; an added $25 million to the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes grant program; and continued support for the New York Public Health Corps.

Mixed reactions

The public’s reaction has been a mixed bag of joy for the continued investment in vital programs and dismay for where the budget falls short. State Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-106) said in a statement released on Monday, April 14, that she was pleased the budget includes record funding for veterans across New York, with $4.2 million in funding set aside for statewide veterans’ programs, extended tuition benefits for eligible military members to attend college and the continuation of the Hire-a-Vet tax credit for two more years.

In a statement released on Wednesday, April 7, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Republican who ran against Cuomo in the gubernatorial election in 2018, criticized the budget for neglecting to provide counties with much-needed relief, flexibility and fiscal stability.

“As we seek to extend economic recovery to all New Yorkers, this budget taxes and spends more than residents can afford and leaves too many burdens on local government,” Molinaro stated. “We will continue fighting for the people we serve and working with state leaders toward solutions that make sense.”

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