ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo will deliver his sixth State of the State address and budget proposal Wednesday. The address is the culmination of a 10-day tour of the state where he already released some of his agenda-topping proposals.
During the tour, Cuomo laid out much of his 2016 agenda leading up to the speech, including a pledge to spend $22 billion on upstate roads and bridges over the next five years, a $1 billion plan to freeze tolls on the state Thruway. But questions remain, particularly when it comes to his budget proposal and how the state plans to pay for it. Wednesday’s state of the state, which will also serve as the rollout of the governor’s $145 billion budget, should help clear some things up.
One thing local governments will be hoping to see is an increase in state funding. The city of Jamestown is especially in need of additional funding as it begins the process of preparing for a difficult budget in 2017 that will likely see little in the way of increased local revenue. However, Mayor Sam Teresi – who will likely be in Albany for the governor’s address – said it’s unlikely there will be an increase in state aid.
“I’m not expecting to hear that and I’m keeping my expectations in check,” Teresi said, adding, “But you never say never and in the absence of any increase in general purpose municipal aid from the governor and the legislature, I would just as happily take mandate relief, some new tools to help us on the economic development front, as well new tools that will help us work more collaboratively with our neighbors to help us reduce or cost structure.”
Teresi, who made his comments during WRFA’s most recent Community Matters program, also said that an increase in State Aid is long overdue.
“The last adjustment we had was in 2009-2010 and that was a cumulative 10 percent cut to the city of Jamestown and municipalities across the state,” Teresi said. “Unlike school aid and other forms of aid, that has not been corrected since then. I think a correction is necessary, but I don’t think it is likely, given the current composition of state government.”
While it’s unlikely the governor will call for an increase in municipal aid, there are several other programs he is expected to highlight that could have an impact locally here in Chautauqua County – including an increase in education aid. The state Board of Regents is looking for a $2.4 billion boost.
Wednesday’s state of the state is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. It can be viewed at the governor’s official website: www.governor.ny.gov.