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January 24, 2013

Cuomo's budget proposal outlined in Oneonta

(Continued)

“The words never passed RoAnn lips, and they weren’t on any of her visuals,” he added.

Mandate relief for municipal governments and school districts is addressed in the documents released Tuesday.

Among the proposals it makes are allowing counties to renew their existing sales tax authority without legislative approval; eliminating local-government and school-district reporting requirements on April 1, 2014, unless a Mandate Relief Council approved continuing them; modifications to the Early Intervention Program; continuance of $715 million in unrestricted aid to municipalities, and the Stable Rate Pension Contribution Option.

Miller, however, had some reservations about describing the latter program as mandate relief.

“I don’t want to diminish the potential importance of that, but in virtually every interaction that almost all of us have had with the Legislature and with the governor, those two items are separate,” he said.

Destito pointed to a proposal that would allow school districts to request a waiver that would grant them flexibility in meeting state Special Education requirements. The proposal also would exempt districts with fewer than 1,000 students from maintaining an internal auditor.

She also said that Cuomo’s proposal for all-day preschool would be entirely state-funded for districts that opted into the plan.

Despite his criticism of some elements of the governor’s executive budget proposal, Miller said Cuomo deserves a fair amount of credit.

“He’s probably done more mandate relief than most governors,” the mayor said. “The fact is Tier VI is a huge mandate. Medicaid growth takeover is a huge relief to the counties … And he’s trying to help with the retirement system by allowing them to buy into a stable amount of dollars they will have to pay, while not jeopardizing the retirement fund.”

The budget includes as long list of business- and education-oriented proposals from “innovation hotspots” to “duty-free” stores, where New York-made items would be sold free of sales tax.

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