Gov. Cuomo gives annual budget address

— A Second Round of Regional Economic Development Awards: The budget includes a new round of $200 million in competitive resources for the Governor's Regional Economic Development Councils. Of this total amount, $130 million is capital funding included in the New York Works program and $70 million comes from Excelsior Tax Credits. The Councils have transformed the State's economic development approach from a top-down model to a bottom-up, community-based one. The second round of awards will allow each region to continue shaping its own economic destiny.

Reimagining Government

The Executive Budget builds on Governor Cuomo's work to reinvent state government to perform more efficiently and better protect taxpayer money. The Executive Budget provides additional funding for the work of the Regional Economic Development Councils, and advances SAGE commission proposals to reverse decades of bureaucratic growth and refocus agencies' operations in ways that benefit service recipients and taxpayers alike. The Governor is also proposing sweeping structural reforms to relieve local governments of State mandates that drive up local costs. These reforms, which address the largest cost-drivers for local governments, will help municipal leaders meet the pressures of the prolonged economic downturn, and will help local governments meet the goals of the property tax cap.

Healthcare Redesign: The Executive Budget calls for continued reforms to make the State's health system perform better and cost less. By enacting the Health Exchange, 1 million uninsured New Yorkers will gain coverage. It will reduce costs to individuals who purchase coverage directly by 66% and small businesses by 22%, all financed by the federal government at no cost to New York.

Reduce burden on counties by taking over Medicaid growth costs: Medicaid growth is a major cost driver for counties. In 2006, the State capped the amount of Medicaid cost growth that counties have to pay. Currently, the cap is 3% of growth; all growth over 3% is paid by the State. To provide significant fiscal relief to counties and to New York City, the State will phase in a 100% takeover of the costs of Medicaid growth. In the 2013 fiscal year, the county cap will fall to 2% of Medicaid growth; in county fiscal year 2014, the county share will be reduced to 1%. Starting in county fiscal year 2015, the State will pay 100% of the costs of Medicaid growth. The takeover by the State of a greater share of local Medicaid expenses will save counties and New York City $1.2 billion over the next five years.

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