Governor David A. Paterson today announced that the Legislature has passed his Transportation, Economic Development, Environmental Conservation and Public Protection, General Government budget bills, finalizing a large portion of the State budget for fiscal year 2010-11 and achieving $1.043 billion in General Fund savings.
“After more than two months without an enacted budget, the State’s transportation, economic development, environmental and public protection activities may now operate with certainty,” Governor Paterson said. “With the approval of these budget bills, I’ve secured progress on a substantial portion of the State budget and we have again achieved critical savings to help address the deficit. I will continue to pursue strategies for reducing the deficit and enacting a responsible budget.”
The budget bills passed today finalize fiscal year 2010-11 spending plans in the areas of transportation, economic development, environmental conservation and public protection and general government.
Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation
The enacted budget bill achieves $370 million in gap closing from reductions in transportation, economic development, environment and other programs. These savings are achieved primarily by reducing, consolidating and eliminating programs; streamlining State agency operations; and redirecting State funds to reflect critical priorities.
The enacted budget achieves over $35 million in net gap closing from reductions in transportation programs. These savings are the result of reduced personal and non-personal service spending, implementing mandate reform and eliminating low priority programs. At the same time, the budget preserves Dedicated Highway and Bridge Fund support for highway and bridge capital, preserves local capital aid (CHIPS/Marchiselli), and includes additional funds to continue essential rail service.
Actions taken in the economic development and regulatory areas of the enacted budget will result in $140 million in net State savings. Program reforms, local assistance program reductions, State agency efficiencies and limited revenue actions result in a substantial net cost savings.
At the same time, the Budget will provide for continued funding of programs to support economic growth, and will provide resources for select new initiatives. Specifically, the enacted budget will replace the expiring Empire Zones program with a new Excelsior Jobs Program to provide job creation and investment incentives to firms in targeted industries. The budget also provides New Economy funding to support small businesses and New York’s research institutions. Such actions appropriately balance fiscal responsibility and efficiency with the resources necessary to position New York as a leader in the knowledge, technology and innovation-based economy.
The budget achieves $195 million in net gap closing for the environmental agencies, which include the departments of Environmental Conservation and Agriculture & Markets, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and the Adirondack Park Agency. Savings will be achieved by reducing Environmental Protection Fund and local assistance programs, placing aggressive cost controls on all State agency operations; reducing non-personal service expenditures for supplies, equipment, gas/diesel, temp services, conferences and trade shows; postponing the Environmental Conservation Officer and Park Police academies; maximizing attrition; and eliminating certain historic preservation and environmental resource management functions at OPRHP.
Savings will be achieved by reducing Environmental Protection Fund and local assistance programs, placing aggressive cost controls on all State agency operations; reducing non-personal service expenditures for supplies, equipment, gas/diesel, temp services, conferences and trade shows; postponing the Environmental Conservation Officer and Park Police academies; maximizing attrition; and eliminating certain historic preservation and environmental resource management functions at OPRHP.
Public Protection and General Government
The enacted bill reflects $348 million in gap-closing actions within the budgets for the Public Protection and General Government agencies. Initiatives include several consolidations of State agencies, and significant savings from administrative efficiencies and reductions in agency operations. Total savings achieved by these agencies is valued at $193 million, supplemented by $155 million in new revenue. The new revenues include a package of new and increased legal fees, which will preserve base funding for civil legal services and support reform of the indigent defense services system.
The enacted budget bill also reflects $325 million in savings actions from reductions in local government assistance programs. This savings is primarily achieved by eliminating Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) funding for New York City, and by reducing AIM payments to other local governments by either two percent or five percent based on the municipality’s reliance on this revenue source. Additional savings are realized through reductions in local government incentive grant funding and VLT Impact Aid.