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Cuomo budget will keep state spending growth under 2 percent

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo during his State of

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo during his State of the State address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. (Jan. 9, 2013) Credit: AP

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is set to unveil a budget proposal Tuesday that includes a 3 percent increase in school aid while keeping state spending growth under 2 percent and creating no new taxes, an administration official said. Overall spending could increase roughly 5 percent because of an influx of federal aid for superstorm Sandy.

Cuomo, entering his third year in office, is slated to deliver his budget address at 2 p.m. at  Empire State Plaza. The spending plan is expected to come in around $134 billion.

“The key to the budget agenda is continuing our investments in economic development while holding the line on taxes and spending,” an administration official said. “That’s what he’s done the first two years and this year is no different.”

In his first two years, the Democrat has kept spending flat. He’s implemented tax cuts for the middle class while raising taxes on millionaires, and enacted a new 2 percent cap on local tax-levy increases.

Cuomo and lawmakers already have agreed to hike education, tying increases to New Yorkers’ personal-income growth.

The governor, in his Jan. 9 State of the State address, said he’d also provide budget details about how to fund initiatives to lengthen the school day or school year, expand prekindergarten and pay bonuses to those designated as “master teachers.” Cuomo also proposed created a new exam for teachers to become certified.

Cuomo previously said he expects the state to face a $1 billion deficit. But state revenues continue to lag. A state comptroller’s report issued Friday said that, as of December, revenues are $685 million below what the Cuomo administration predicted last year.

Cuomo and state legislators are slated to reach a budget deal by April 1, the start of the 2013-14 fiscal year. If they fail, the governor’s budget power increases considerably. Cuomo can put forth his own budget — without lawmakers’ input — and insist they accept his plan or shutdown the government, a “nuclear” option no lawmaker wants. Cuomo has used that threat in his first two years to reach timely budget deals.

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