The proposed state budget released last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo has the potential to eliminate New York's $10 billion deficit without any additional borrowing or tax increases – but it also likely means drastic cuts in funding for some local institutions.
could lose $67 million in state funding, including all $55 million of state aid for its , and the Three Village Central School District may lose $1.4 million in state aid if legislators pass the $132.9 billion state budget. That spending plan, which would go into effect April 1, represents a 2.7 percent decrease in overall state spending from the previous year's budget, or about $3.7 billion. Cuomo is calling for an overall cut to SUNY's operating budget of 10 percent.
The governor discussed the budget in several press conferences and a video presentation on his website, during which he recalled some of the sentiments he shared in his recent . He called this a "pivotal moment" for New York.
"In the days ahead you will hear stories of how difficult my budget is," Cuomo said in the video. "The net effect of the reduction that local governments and districts will be required to take in this budget is in the range of two to three percent from last year."
The budget proposal has local institutions bracing for the worst. Between the $12 million loss in academic support and $55 million in cuts to the hospital, the university is looking at a 30 percent cut in state aid, whereas other SUNY schools may only face a 10 percent reduction, according to a statement issued by Stony Brook last week.
"We are surprised by the size of the cuts proposed in the Executive Budget, which – specifically to our teaching hospital – are unprecedented. ... Such a significant figure will have a profound impact on Long Island and throughout the region. We hope that this inequity is recognized and can be rectified in the days ahead," the statement said.
Neil Lederer, interim superintendent of the Three Village Central School District, predicted the district's budget would likely look like a combination of cuts and tax increases to make up for the gap.
"If we want to keep all the programs in place, [it] will necessitate a high tax rate increase or cuts in programs and staffing adjustments," said Neil Lederer, interim superintendent of the Three Village district. "I think it will probably be a combination of both. The tax rate will be somewhat elevated and we’ll have to make some reductions in expenditures."
Three Village was originally set to lose around $4 million, but that figure was offset by separate state funds the district will receive to support bond-related building projects within the district. The $1.4 million loss represents less than one percent of the district's current $167 million budget. Compared to other nearby districts, Three Village may have it a bit easier: Smithtown will see a $5.5 million cut in state aid, while – which represents more than 16 percent of each of those districts' budgets.