Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $142.6 billion budget for 2013-14 included some plusses for New York City and its transportation system.
Under Cuomo’s proposal, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates New York City’s buses and subways, two regional commuter rail systems and several bridges and tunnels, will receive more than $4.2 billion, up $358 million from the previous year.
The budget includes $307 million in general fund support for the MTA to fully offset the revenue impact of the MTA payroll tax overhaul that Cuomo signed into law in 2011.
“The MTA is pleased with Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget,” said authority spokesman Aaron Donovan.
In addition, an MTA business tax is one of the expiring levies that Cuomo wants to extend as part of a move to raise $403 million.
New York City would get an extra $224 million in school aid, but must finalize an agreement with the United Federation of Teachers on a teacher evaluation system by Sept. 1. The parties, embroiled in a bitter dispute, missed a deadline last week that cost the city an estimated $450 million in state aid and grants. The city’s Department of Education budget is nearly $20 billion.
City Comptroller John Liu praised Cuomo for presenting “an appropriately disciplined budget that provides funds where New Yorkers most need them,” citing education aid, assistance for Hurricane Sandy and increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.75 per hour.
“The governor has been a forceful advocate for the funds needed to rebuild many communities devastated by superstorm Sandy,” said Liu. “While the governor rightly proposed raising the minimum wage, we think that it should be higher in New York City to reflect the greater cost of living here.”
To increase the incentive for local governments to find and recover fraudulent and inappropriate spending by providers, New York City and counties would be allowed to keep 75% of all recoveries from local audits, up nearly double from 40.5%. In addition, the city could establish rates with approved preschool education providers.
Moody’s Investors Service rates the city’s general obligation bonds Aa2 and the MTA’s transportation revenue bonds A2. Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s both assign AA ratings to the GO bonds and both rate the MTA bonds A.
According to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office, the city’s bond calendar for February includes a $450 million sale of New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority bonds for capital projects, and an $850 million general obligation sale. Both series involve fixed-rate, tax-exempt bonds through negotiation.