Archive for June, 2010

Paterson vetoes School Aid restoration, promises to veto all legislative spending

June 29th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

Governor Paterson wasted little time last night in following through on a threat to veto spending added by the Legislature.  About two hours after the Senate gave final passage to the education budget bills, the Governor vetoed the Legislature’s restoration of School Aid funding.

He has threatened to veto all additional spending.

Here is the Albany Times-Union’s report on the Governor’s action.

The Governor claims the Legislature’s budget is not balanced and objects to its failure to adopt a contingency plan to accommodate a potential loss of $1 billion in federal Medicaid funding.

Appropriations originally proposed by the Governor automatically became law upon passage by both houses.  With the approval yesterday and last week of the major appropriation bills covering all portions of state spending, there is no longer a need for the Legislature to pass weekly emergency spending bills to avoid a shutdown of state government.

It is unclear what happens next.  While the Assembly Democrats, holding 107 out of 150 seats, could conceivably over-ride vetoes, that outcome seems improbable in the narrowly divided State Senate.

Notwithstanding the turmoil over restorations and vetoes, it seems that the state could now calculate and pay School Aid for the 2010-11 school year even if the Governor’s veto stands and no further legislation is agreed upon.

Given the formulas and appropriations now in law, districts would receive aid for 2010-11 at about the levels proposed by the Governor back in January, with some adjustments due to the use of later data.

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Education Budget Bills have passed both houses; School Aid run available

June 28th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

This afternoon the Assembly and Senate passed appropriation and language bills for the education part of the state budget as outlined under the agreement announced by Legislative Leaders over the weekend.

The Assembly has posted a School Aid run reflecting the funding level and distribution under the agreement.  See it here.

The principle change from the Governor’s budget is that each district would have its lump sum “Gap Elimination Adjustment” reduced by 40 percent.

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State budget battles coming to a climax

June 27th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

On Friday, Governor Paterson followed through on his promise (or threat) to introduce final emergency appropriation and language bills to force completion of a 2010-11 state budget, now almost three months into the fiscal year.

The Governor’s proposals include a property tax cap on school districts and local governments.  They would also restore $391 million to School Aid.

The Legislature responded by introducing its own budget bills, getting them into print on Friday to make votes on Monday possible, thereby avoiding possible shutdown of state government.

Without the Governor’s consent to an immediate vote, bills must be in print in final form for three days before the Legislature may act on them.

The Legislature’s proposals do not include the tax cap and would restore nearly $600 million to School Aid.

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Category: Finance | 1 Comment »

State government shutdown avoided, budget work continues UPDATED

June 15th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

Late yesterday, both houses of the State Legislature passed another set of emergency appropriations, avoiding a threatened shutdown of state government today.

There are mixed views on the likelihood of a a complete budget being enacted soon, with School Aid and property tax relief being major hold-ups. Read the rest of this entry »

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New guidance from TRS on retirement incentives and legal challenges

June 14th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

The State Teachers Retirement System has published guidance on the newest state retirement incentives enacted two weeks ago (Chapter 105 of the Laws of 2010).

TRS has also published a more extensive notice on the implications of the legal challenge to the previously enacted NYSUT-only 55-25 incentive (Chapter 45 of the Laws 2010).

Below is a slightly updated rendition of the email message I sent earlier on state retirement incentives.

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Category: Guidance and Announcements | 1 Comment »

The Economy: Good news, bad news

June 11th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

Two reports on the economy — one noting encouraging signs of recovery, another reporting on the fall-off in home values in New York State. Read the rest of this entry »

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Race to the Top: A better chance this time?

June 10th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

Earlier this week U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said “I think New York has worked extraordinarily hard” to strengthen its second chance application for federal Race to the Top funding.

He singled out the approval of legislation raising the state’s charter school cap as an example.

Gotham Schools provides a 647 word summary of the state’s 450+ page new application.

The complete application is here.

Despite being given barely more than two days to act on the State Education Department’s request for memorandums of understanding in support of the new application, 91 percent of districts did submit MOUs signed by their superintendents.

Whatever one thinks of the actions taken to improve the state’s chances for funding, they should have that effect.

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