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State budget director details new initiatives during Glens Falls visit

In a public forum held Thursday April 4 at Crandall Library in Glens Falls, state Budget Director Bob Megna explains how the 2013-14 state budget balances new investments in job growth, education and innovation with tax cuts to families and businesses as well as reform to unemployment insurance and workers' compensation, moves expected to provide $1.3 billion in savings to taxpayers.

In a public forum held Thursday April 4 at Crandall Library in Glens Falls, state Budget Director Bob Megna explains how the 2013-14 state budget balances new investments in job growth, education and innovation with tax cuts to families and businesses as well as reform to unemployment insurance and workers' compensation, moves expected to provide $1.3 billion in savings to taxpayers. Photo by Thom Randall.

Funding secure for Developmentally disabled

Area resident John Davidson expressed concern about the pending $90 million cut in funding of programs for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities.

Megna replied that services and programs for these individuals would not be effected, because the budget cuts — prompted by reductions of $1.1 billion in federal Medicaid reimbursement — would be offset by cuts in service agency administrative expenses, prosecutions of fraud and elimination of overpayments.

“The last thing we want to do is disrupt services for this population,” he said.

Glens Falls Economic & Community Development Director Ed Bartholomew said later he was pleased to hear Megna's commitment to the programs.

“It's good to hear his intent not to reduce funding to the services for these individuals, and hear his pledge to monitor the situation.”

Bartholomew said he hopes the Cuomo administration goes further in cutting costs for both businesses and residents — particularly by eliminating the utility tax, which received cuts in this budget.

Queensbury board member John Strough, responding to Megna's comments on utility reform, suggested that the governor look into allowing municipalities to own their streetlights rather than lease them from electric utility corporations — such a move could allow installation of far more efficient lighting, saving taxpayers money while aiding the environment, he said. Megna complimented Strough on his idea.

Bartholomew said he was pleased that Megna, credited by State Sen. Betty Little as a fiscal expert, personally visited Glens Falls to present the budget.

“He really knows his stuff,” Bartholomew said.

Little also praised his expertise.

“Bob Megna really knows the issues inside and out,” she said. “There's not a question you can ask that can stump him.”

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