State of the State/2015-16 Budget Presentation

Esq. Stephen B. Hanse in Legislative

Governor Cuomo delivered his fifth State of the State today at the Empire State Convention Center in Albany, and in a joint presentation, simultaneously unveiled his 2015-16 Executive Budget.

As presented, the 2015-16 Executive Budget increases overall State spending by 1.7 percent, an increase of $1.6 billion, and provides for a 3.6 percent growth in Medicaid spending, an increase of $597 million. The Executive Budget also proposes to limit state agency spending increases to 0.6 percent. In addition, the Governor’s Executive Budget proposes to allocate the $5.4 billion surplus as follows:

  • $850 million for reimbursing the federal government for OPWDD billing discrepancies;
  • $1.5 billion for upstate revitalization initiatives; and
  • $3.05 billion for the implementation of various infrastructure and economic development initiatives, including the proposals set forth below.

In speaking for almost two hours, Governor Cuomo laid the groundwork for various initiatives he has planned for the 2015 Legislative Session. Among other things, the Governor advanced the following proposals:

  • Increase the statewide minimum wage to $10.50 by the end of 2016 and raising the City’s minimum wage to $11.50;
  • Provide $1.3 billion to the Thruway Authority to help prevent toll hikes for 2015 and offset the cost of replacing the Tappan Zee bridge;
  • Reduce property taxes statewide by $1.7 billion;
  • Add 100 charter schools to the statewide cap;
  • Provide $500 million (with a $500 million private sector match) to expand broadband internet infrastructure in rural areas of the State;
  • Provide $750 million to the Department of Transportation to invest in road and bridge repair initiatives;
  • Provide tuition assistance for the children of undocumented aliens (“Dream Act”);
  • Establish an education tax credit for those who donate money to schools;
  • Implement a 10-point women’s equality agenda; and
  • Institute certain campaign finance reform initiatives.

It is anticipated that there will be changes made to the proposed Executive Budget set forth in the Governor’s 21-day and 30-day budget amendments. It is further anticipated that the Senate and the Assembly will release their respective budget resolutions in early March and the 2015-16 State Budget will be completed by April 1st.

We will provide further details as soon as the budget bills are introduced.


Stephen B. Hanse, Esq.
Vice President & Counsel, Governmental Affairs
518-462-4800 x25