How other Long Island interests fared in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposed 2011-12 budget:

HEALTH CARE

2 percent state spending cuts

The 2011 New York State budget calls for $1 billion - 2 percent - in spending cuts to health care and the $53 billion state-federal Medicaid program over the next year.

Cuomo also is asking a newly appointed Medicaid Redesign Team to find another $2.85 billion in savings for the state's share of Medicaid costs.

Some health-care-system advocates saw the cuts going much deeper when combined with the loss of federal funds that match state Medicaid spending. Daniel Sisto, president of the Healthcare Association of New York State, said the total effect of the cuts amounted to about $15 billion over the next two years

"This is the largest cut to health-care services in New York State's history," he said Tuesday. "Even within the context of our fiscal crisis, the magnitude of these cuts is extreme."

While no analysis is available on how much Long Island's health-care providers might lose, Kevin Dahill, president of the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, and others predicted declines in services without an overhaul of the Medicaid payment system.

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Increasing access to primary care services and outpatient mental health programs would drive costs down in the long term by preventing costly emergency room visits, said Gwen O'Shea, president of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island.

"Those cost savings can be realized without jeopardizing the mission of the (Medicaid) program, which is providing health care to those who are most vulnerable and at-risk," O'Shea said.

The budget also cuts $162 million out of public health and aging program spending.

@Newsday

- Candice Ferrette

 

 

TRANSPORTATION

MTA loses $100 million

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The financially beleaguered Metropolitan Transportation Authority took a $100 million hit in the budget, but rail and subway riders probably won't feel it, officials said.

The budget proposes an additional $100 million in capital funding for the MTA but decreases operating budget assistance by $200 million - creating a $100 million net loss, according to the agency.

MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin said in the statement that the MTA will fill the gap through internal efficiencies without resorting to fare hikes or service cuts.

"Making these cuts will be painful, but we can only spend as much money as we have," he said.

Cuomo's budget refers to "a modest increase in cash operating support" for the MTA of $43 million. But agency officials said that figure is simply an early projection of unreliable tax revenue for the MTA and does not represent dedicated transit aid.

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Gene Russianoff, spokesman for the nonprofit Straphangers Campaign, said the budget represented "mostly good news" for transit riders, who could ill afford to pay more for less service.

Cuomo's budget also holds the line on other transportation funding, including highway and bridge work, aid to local governments, Amtrak subsidies and other rail capital improvements - totaling $921 million.

- Alfonso A. Castillo

 

 

PARKS

10 percent cut

With the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation budget dropping to $209 million from $228 million, park advocates said closures may be inevitable, but state officials suggested the gap can be bridged without shuttering facilities.

The cuts include a 10 percent agencywide budget reduction, much of which had already been achieved through cuts made by former Gov. David A. Paterson. Additional savings would come from eliminating reimbursements to local governments for expenses from enforcing state boating laws. That program totaled $2.4 million last year. And $1.5 million would be cut from the Empire State Games.

"How can parks not close this year with a $19-million reduction in the budget?" asked Robin Dropkin, executive director of Parks & Trails New York, a statewide advocacy group.

Dropkin said the parks budget has been cut 18 percent in the last three years, significantly more than most other agencies.

"I'm very disappointed to see a disinvestment of this magnitude for yet another new year," said Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket), chairman of the parks committee. He said the cuts will put additional emphasis on the agency to generate money from public-private partnerships.

- Bill Bleyer

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

4 Percent Cut for DEC

Environmental spending drops 4 percent under Cuomo's proposed budget, but fared better than many observers had expected.

Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters, called the budget "a fair deal" and said in a statement that the governor "effectively targeted cuts to inflict the least amount of pain."

Cuomo wants to cut new appropriations for the state Department of Environmental Conservation by 4 percent, from $1.003 billion to $953 million. Money for the Environmental Protection Fund would remain stable at $134 million in new appropriations - the same level as the current budget, but 47 percent lower than in 2008-09.

- Jennifer Smith

 

 

BUSINESS

Tax credits extended

The state's primary vehicle for spurring job creation and economic growth, the Excelsior Tax Credit Program, would be revamped under Cuomo's budget. Tax credits would last for 10 years instead of five and be targeted toward technology companies, factories, farms and financial services.

A portion of economic development aid - $130 million in grants and $70 million in tax credits - would be awarded competitively among 10 new regional councils made up of business executives, union leaders, academics and politicians.

Cuomo also wants to make permanent the Power for Jobs Program, which provides low-cost electricity to large employers such as CA, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System and Newsday.

The Business Council of New York State generally supported Cuomo's plan, saying less government spending and lower taxes would be a boon.

"We realize difficult decisions will be made in this budget," said Heather Briccetti, the council's acting president. "But if we can put the state's fiscal house in order, we can create an environment that will lead to economic development and create jobs for all New Yorkers."

- James T. Madore

 

 

New York City

$1 billion in losses

New York City stands to lose $1 billion for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the budget actually reneges on more than $2 billion in promises and the city is not being treated "equitably."

State Budget Director Robert Megna said proposed statewide school aid cuts include $650 million from the city's current levels. Under municipal aid, $301 million would be withheld, the second straight year aid was not sent to the city.

Bloomberg said relief is needed from state mandates that drive up costs. Otherwise they'll be looking at thousands of school and municipal layoffs, the mayor said.

- The Associated Press