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New York’s Opportunity Agenda (Continued)

The Budget also sets aside $5.4 billion from settlements with financial institutions for one-time investments and reserves. This includes $3.05 billion in a Special Infrastructure Account for loans and grants for transportation, health care, disaster preparedness, and other one-time infrastructure investments, and $1.5 billion for competitive upstate revitalization grants.

The Special Infrastructure Account includes a $500 million New NY Broadband Fund to significantly expand the availability and capacity of broadband across the State; $400 million to support debt restructuring and other capital projects for upstate hospitals; and $250 million in funding to advance the Penn Station Access project, which will open a new Metro-North link directly into Penn Station.

Other proposals included in the 2015-16 Executive Budget include: 

  • Cutting small business taxes from 6.5 percent to 2.5 percent;
  • $1.7 billion in property tax relief for homeowners and renters;
  • Modernizing JFK, LGA, Stewart and Republic Airports;
  • Building New Metro-North Stations in the Bronx and Extend Access to Penn Station;
  • The launch of a $1.5 billion Upstate New York Economic Revitalization Competition; and
  • $1.1 billion increase in School Aid contingent upon a series of reforms to the State’s education system.

Of particular interest to DASNY, the Budget authorizes DASNY to issue $1 billion in bonds, under the Health Care Facility Transformation program for Brooklyn and Oneida County. The Budget also authorizes DASNY and Empire State Development to issue up to $2 billion in bonds under the Smart School Bond Act, which was approved by the voters last Fall.

The Executive Budget also includes legislation to expand the authorization of design-build contracting to all State agencies and public authorities, as well as legislation to extend DASNY’s authority to provide construction and related services to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP).

On February 2, Governor Cuomo also announced a five-part ethics reform plan. The reforms were included in the 30-day amendments to the 2015-16 Executive Budget. The Clean Up Albany Plan includes tough, new financial disclosure provisions and proposes to eliminate pensions for legislators who commit felonies. These 30-day amendment proposals build on the other ethics reforms already included in the the Governor’s Executive Budget, which include limits on campaign contributions, the authorization of a new public financing system for elections, and the closing of the LLC loophole.



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