“For the fifth year in a row, the State Budget holds spending growth below two percent and continues a record of fiscal discipline that has reversed decades of budgets that increased spending faster than inflation or personal income growth.
“This $142 billion budget is the most meaningful that we have agreed to in many years, not because of what we are spending but because of how we are spending it. We are not just maintaining services and the status quo with this budget. We are investing in a new future for our state.
“This budget addresses two of the most fundamental and intractable issues that have vexed the state for generations – education and ethics.
“When it comes to education, the budget we approved will transform our school system in comprehensive ways. The reforms we have included will move us to an education system that rewards results, addresses challenges and demands accountability.
“That’s why I tied a landmark six percent increase in new school spending – raising state funding of schools to a record-high $23.5 billion in this year’s budget – to vital reforms, including improvements to the systems for teacher evaluation, certification and preparation as well as providing new authority to improve failing schools.
“This year we are finally ensuring that New York’s education system will be about the students it is intended to serve, instead of just perpetuating a bureaucracy.
“I described the budget I first proposed just two months ago as an Opportunity Agenda. The importance of education reform that we fought to include in this year’s budget shows that we believe there is no greater path to opportunity than a good education.
“The other transformative issue this budget addresses is ethics. The fundamental weakness in our ethics laws has centered on the question of public officials having a conflict between the work they do for their constituents and with the sources of their outside income.
“Going back to at least 1910, Governors have attempted to tackle the difficult and persistent issue of ethics in state government and conflicts of interest, but have time and again been thwarted.
“Ethical lapses and corruption continued over the decades. A 1967 report in The New York Times noted that 38 state legislators reported financial interests in corporations regulated by state agencies.
“In the last four years we have taken steps to address the issue of disclosure. In 2011, we enacted the Clean Up Albany Act, significantly expanding disclosure requirements and, for the first time, making the information fully available to the public. In 2014, we toughened New York’s bribery law, created the new crimes of “Corrupting the Government” and “Public Corruption,” imposed a lifetime ban from serving and benefitting from government contracts for any person convicted of any one of the new felony public corruption crimes and enacted new disclosure requirements for political donations, mandating more frequent reporting of independent expenditures and the sources of the funds.
“But we knew we had to do more. This budget does that and includes five key proposals that I introduced during a speech in February. These measures will create the strongest and most comprehensive ethics laws for public officials of any state in the nation.
"This is a budget that all New Yorkers can be proud of.”
The Budget also allocates the state’s $5.4 billion in financial settlements to continue growing and strengthening New York’s economy as outlined by the Governor in his original Opportunity Agenda. This includes the $1.5 billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative to jumpstart the best regional approaches to economic development, $1.3 billion to stabilize the Thruway Authority and keep tolls down while still funding critical repair and maintenance and supporting the ongoing construction of the New NY Bridge, and $500 million to ensure that every New Yorker has broadband access by the end of 2018 – representing the largest and most ambitious state broadband investment in the nation.
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