Governor Cuomo’s budget office is released some bad news Monday. The state’s budget gap is even bigger than expected, with a $350 million dollar shortfall for the current year and a $3.5 billion dollar gap next year.
The governor says he’s waiting for some uncertainties in the world markets to stabilize before updating the state’s financial picture, and has delayed releasing the state’s mid year budget report, which was due in late October.
Cuomo budget officials have said they are also waiting to count some tax collections delayed by the hurricanes. They’ve also post poned some scheduled budget hearings that have been part of an effort in recent years to jump start the budget process.
Governor Cuomo’s budget office has delayed releasing its mid-year budget report and future financial forecast, citing uncertainties over the European debt crisis and delays in collection of some business taxes, due to two hurricanes that hit the state in late summer.
State worker union members have ratified a contract that will prevent nearly 3500 lay offs , though members make several concessions, including a three year pay freeze. Cuomo says he’s “very happy”, and has rescinded the lay off notices that were to go out Friday.
The votes will be counted for the second time this fall on a contract offer between the state worker union, the Public Employees Federation, and Governor Andrew Cuomo after the first offer was rejected. This time, if the contract is rejected, the governor has vowed to follow through with 3500 lay offs.
The state’s Environmental Commissioner said last week that the process to permit hydrofracking on some private lands in New York State may take longer than expected, and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens even cast doubt on whether permits would be issued in 2012 at all. Governor Cuomo says he’s willing to wait, if it leads to a rational decision making process on what’s become a highly emotional issue.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is stating in no uncertain terms that he intends to veto the redistricting lines now being devised by a joint legislative commission, because they are not independent and non partisan.
Leaders of the state worker union, the Public Employees Federation, are waging a campaign style effort to try to convince members to vote yes this time on a new contract. Governor Cuomo says he will not give the union a third chance, and will issue lay offs in less than two weeks if the second contract is rejected.
Members of the state worker union the Public Employees Federation will be voting on a new contract proposal, now that the union’s executive board has signed off on a rejiggered proposal agreed to with Governor Cuomo to avoid 3500 lay offs.
Governor Cuomo says he understands the “frustration” of the demonstrators taking part in the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and the nation this week, but admits the state depends on revenues from the financial industry to balance its budget.
Cuomo says protests are an “important part of democracy”, and says he understands the frustration and anger of the demonstrators in downtown Manhattan over the stagnant economy.
“When people are feeling pain, they look for an outlet,” said Cuomo.
The groups delivered 180 water powered alarm clocks to Governor Cuomo’s office door, as part of their request for more time for the public to comment on proposed rules to allow hydrofracking in New York on some private lands.
Katherine Nadaeu, with Environmental Advocates, says more time is needed to determine potential health effects of the gas drilling process, which uses chemically laced water to bore into underground shale deposits in order to extract the gas.
Governor Andrew Cuomo opened the door to avoiding the layoffs of 3500 state workers after a union contract was rejected, but he says it’s entirely up to the union leadership whether the job cut backs occur or not.
The Public Employees Federation is floating the idea of some so called tweaks to the tenets of the rejected labor contract, including, perhaps charging more for health care on a sliding scale based on the amount of a worker’s pay.
In an interview with public radio, Governor Cuomo says he’s “open” to talking about the proposals .