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NY Budget & The North Country: Prison, Schools & Roads

For the first time in more than 40 years, the state of New York has signed a budget bill on time for 4 consecutive years.
PLATTSBURGH, NY -

For the first time in more than 40 years, the state of New York has signed a budget bill on time for 4 consecutive years.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it Tuesday morning in Albany.

The $140 billion budget contains some relief for schools still dealing with GAP elimination funding.

Another piece provides tax relief to upstate manufacturers.

"We have a manufacturer's cut to 0. Why? Because we're trying to grow business in this state,” said (D – New York) Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “We're trying to attract business, keep business here. One of the liabilities this state has is high taxes."

The final budget also includes the Governor's property tax freeze.

So how does this budget impact the North Country? Let's start with schools.

Overall school aid funding increased by $1.1 billion. But Plattsburgh City Superintendent James Short says, a 6 years old reduction is still causing problems.

The GAP elimination adjustment first appeared in 2008 to relieve financial troubles in the state by cutting school funding.

“However, New York state has declared it's not in fiscal stress anymore. Yet we still have reductions for fiscal stress in our state budget by a lot,” said Superintendent Short.

Plattsburgh will have $1,326,549 taken out of their 2014-2015 year budget.

The GAP elimination means Clinton County schools as a whole are losing $8 million in the next academic year.

To eventually break even, $602 million were budgeted for the GAP elimination restoration fund.

New York also passed record level funding for transportation, roads and highway development programs.

Plattsburgh's Mayor Jim Calnon is hoping to use his city's share of the money for a $6 million road construction project taking place this summer on S. Catherine Street.

“We think that perhaps with this budget and the way they dole out the money later this year, that we'll get up to the 95% externally funded,” said Plattsburgh Mayor Jim Calnon.

The rest will be bonded.

And finally, the Chateaugay Correctional Facility will officially be closed. The prison employs 110 people.

The community fought to keep the prison open and in turn keep the jobs.

Instead, the site will now be designated a START UP - NY tax free zone with additional economic development funding provided.

$40 million are going directly to pothole repairs throughout the state as a result of this harsh winter.


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