New York lawmakers say state and city coffers largely protected in President Obama's budget proposalBy Joseph Straw AND Alison Gendar
February 14, 2012
WASHINGTON — President Obama is showing some love for the Empire State in his 2013 budget proposal filed Monday.
A down-and-dirty first read by New York lawmakers said the city’s and state’s coffers are largely protected in the President’s spending plan, which is more than 2,000 pages and weighs 10 pounds.
Obama’s package aims to cut $4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade by slowing spending in some areas, like national defense and boosting taxes on the wealthy, while also investing in the nation’s fraying infrastructure.
White House staff said the plan cuts $1.50 worth of spending for each $1 in tax hikes.
Republicans — from White House contenders to conservative pundits — called the plan an election year ploy that doesn’t do enough to reduce the deficit, counts accounting tricks as savings and rewards Democratic support bases, like labor unions and clean energy advocates.
The four-volume proposal — available for the first time on a mobile app — sent money to housing and education, always big ticket items in New York budgets.
“There is not a poison pill, at least not that we have found so far,” said a New York City staffer still combing through the plan.
“This plan is a step in the right direction as a blueprint for growing the economy and restoring middle class security,” added Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s spokesman Glen Caplin said.
New Yorkers were glad to see $123 million for the Second Ave. subway — less than last year, but finishing out the fed’s commitment for the current phase.
“I thank President Obama for his leadership on mass transit when some congressional Republicans are running the other way,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), taking a slap at GOP efforts to change how improvements to mass transit are paid for.
The $39.5 billion request for spending at the Department of Homeland Security shaves a half of a percent off the current year’s total.
But Obama’s team boosted funding for local grants by more than $600 million. That bodes well for high-risk cities like New York, said Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), head of the House Homeland Security Committee.
“We do our job in New York, and we should convince DHS to give New York and Long Island the money we need,” said King, who discussed the request Monday with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. “On balance, I’m reasonably optimistic.”
The plan would, however, hit wary air travelers with added fees.
Fliers, who now pay a 9/11 security fee of $2.50 for each plane they board, would see the fee jump to $5 one-way.
The change would net Uncle Sam an added $317 million next year, the agency projects.
The budget seeks $22 million for its Securing the Cities program, the same amount appropriated this year. The program has paid for 6,000 radiation detection devices and training for 11,000 personnel in the New York City-Newark region, according to the Homeland Security Department.
In other budget developments, Republicans tossed in the towel on their threat to block a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut that puts $2,000 more into the pockets of workers making $100,000 annually.
GOP leaders said a vote could come by week’s end; if it fails, 160 million Americans will get a 2 percent tax hike.