State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he’ll need to see more details and end of the calendar year state revenue figures before deciding whether the state can afford $2 billion in new tax cuts that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is likely to propose.

Governor Cuomo says he thinks if state spending is held to a 2 percent growth rate next year, there will be enough money in the state budget to finance $2 billion worth of property and business tax cuts.

Comptroller DiNapoli says he’s not so sure it will all add up.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Now that the elections are over, state budget deadlines are rapidly approaching. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released a largely positive budget outlook for the new year, though he warns of some uncertainties.

Under reforms adopted a few years ago, state officials including the  comptroller, are required to start the budget process, which ends in late March, even earlier.

DiNapoli is out with his report, and he says the state budget is largely in balance.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County lawmakers are putting a tighter reign on spending at the sheriff's department. The legislature approved the county's 2014 $1.2 billion budget Tuesday night. It included a budget maneuver that give's lawmakers more control over department spending that has come in substantially over budget the last few years, according to legislature chairman Ryan McMahon.

Cuomo projects budget surplus, looks at tax cuts

Oct 3, 2013

New York’s budget could have a surplus within a few years, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which has prompted him to look at ways to cut taxes.

Cuomo credits on time budgets, controlled taxes and a rebounding economy for the positive budget news. That’s why the governor formed a commission this week to look at ways to cut taxes by $2-3 billion.

“I think we can do even more,” he said in Syracuse Thursday.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County is on firm, fiscal footing according to County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  Mahoney offered up a $1.22 billion 2014 budget to the Onondaga County Legislature Friday that features spending cuts and a slight decrease in tax rates.

Mahoney says there are a couple of reasons for the slimmer spending plan.

Study finds New York analyzing tax dollar usage well

Jul 29, 2013
401(K) 2012 / Flickr

New York has been labeled a "leading" state for effective use of cost-benefit analysis in a new study from the Pew-MacArthur Results First initiative. That means New York is doing a better job of making sure tax dollars are spent well, than other states.

Cost benefit analysis is determining the return on an investment. In this case  it's determining how much the taxpayer benefits from each public dollar spent.

Comptroller DiNapoli: Watertown in good fiscal health

Jun 13, 2013
Joanna Richards

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli came to Watertown on Wednesday to commend the city's leadership on its sound financial stewardship. DiNapoli's office is rolling out a program of annual fiscal “stress tests” for municipalities and school districts. And the comptroller said Watertown sets an example for prudent financial planning. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined his proposal for a new local government restructuring board to help financially distressed communities deal with long term budget problems.

Unlike many other local governments in New York state, Onondaga County has weathered the recent fiscal crisis, and come out on firm financial footing. In her State of the County address Tuesday night, County Executive Joanie Mahoney credits recent budget cutting tactics for the difference.

Municipalities and school districts in New York state will soon get graded on their fiscal health. A fiscal monitoring system run by the state comptroller's office will publicly identify local governments that may be heading towards a fiscal cliff.

Syracuse reducing use of criticized hiring practice

Jan 2, 2013

The city of Syracuse has reduced the number of city workers it has on the rolls of a non-city run agency as a way of skirting civil service rules.

New York state's attack on ballooning Medicaid costs has started with a program that offers coordinated care for certain Medicaid patients.  State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson says the program called Health Homes, is aimed at the people who have the most complex Medicaid charts.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is telling local governments they are on their own when it comes to coping with a recently imposed property tax cap, saying it is up to county and city government leaders to make the hard choices, and to stop complaining.

Onondaga County plans to privatize nursing home

Oct 5, 2012

On October 9, the Onondaga County Legislature will vote on its 2013 budget. The budget totals $1.24 billion, approximately two million dollars larger than last year. The controversy that surfaced at the budget’s public hearing Thursday evening was about ownership changes for Van Duyn Home and Hospital, the county’s nursing home.

Onondaga County lawmakers begin going over County Executive Joanie Mahoney's proposed budget with a fine tooth comb Monday.  The final result will most likely look different from $1.25 billion plan Mahoney proposed last week.

Fall means budget season in counties across New York State.  Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney makes her budget pitch to lawmakers Friday.  Many governments are facing the same pressures.

New York State continues looking for ways to help local governments on the edge of fiscal collapse.  And, the idea of a "super control board" is still a possibility.

Ellen Abbot / WRVO

The Republican federal budget proposal is being targeted by a Washington-based movement called Nuns on the Bus. Earlier this month, a group of nuns and others from local faith communities traveled around Syracuse in a school bus to spread their message in solidarity with the movement.

Cuomo defends property tax cap

Aug 7, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo was at Fort Drum yesterday, touring a former coal plant that's being converted to a biomass facility.  He responded to questions from reporters about the statewide property tax cap.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Some of upstate New York's mayors are putting their brains together to deal with looming fiscal nightmares.

Onondaga County lawmakers approved the county's share of the Onondaga Community College's operating and capital  budgets yesterday.  But, the two- year school didn't get quite what it asked for.

More  projected sales tax revenue for the City of Syracuse could mean some new programs, including seed money for a new downtown senior center.  Lawmakers say they want  the extra spending to be an investment in the city.

The very young and the very old were the focus of the Syracuse City Budget public hearing Wednesday night. Citizens had the opportunity to tell lawmakers what they think of Mayor Stephanie Miner's proposed $662 million spending plan.

Grant Reeher at the Campbell Debate
Post Standard

State lawmakers have passed their second straight on time budget. Speaking with Grant Reeher just before the budget passed, Syracuse area State Senator John DeFrancisco describes the budget process and discusses whether or not it has improved in recent years.

When state lawmakers approved the budget this week, they restored a program that's vital to many senior citizens. Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage, known as EPIC, helps low and moderate income seniors with co-pays for prescription drugs not covered by Medicare Part-D. When it was defunded last year, seniors were forced to pay 25% of the costs of prescriptions. This made necessary prescriptions unaffordable for some.

Pharmacists at drug stores like the Gifford and West Pharmacy in Syracuse ran into a lot of problems when EPIC stopped helping seniors pay for prescription drugs. Gifford pharmacist Jim McLaughlin encountered many patients who had high co-pays and were forced to pay.

"It ends up costing more. Patients go without their medications and their symptoms start to come back, or they end up being hospitalized," McLaughlin said.

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.

They worked later into the evening Tuesday, but Onondaga County lawmakers passed a budget that cut more than $5 million from County Executive Joanie Mahoney's proposed budget.

Property taxes will go up in most county towns, but will go down in every village except Fabius. Residents in the towns of Clay and Salina will see the biggest tax increases. 

Republican Kevin Holmquist of Manlius says it took weeks of work to take the 3 villages he represents from a 10% tax increase to a 5% tax decrease.