Gov. Spitzer's state budget cuts property taxes, increases school aid

Governor Spitzer (D-NY) unveiled his first state budget plan Wednesday, pushing for property tax relief and an increase in school funding. The proposed $120.6 billion budget for the next fiscal year will increase school funding by $1.4 billion, which would grow to an extra $7 billion over the next four years. The funding will be based on a new educational formula targeting needy students. The governor also promises health care for all uninsured children, with a price tag of $165 million over two years.

Spitzer?s is proposing a $1.5 billion property tax relief for the middle-income homeowners. There are no tax increases in the budget. Spitzer says he will close tax "loopholes" and eliminate waste and fraud to accommodate the funding for his initiatives. Spitzer says he will cut government spending to tackle the $3 million in cuts in the budget. He says he will reduce state funds to Medicaid and retool the health care system. The governor says he will no longer fund hospitals that have empty beds. That is a direct result of a state report released last year calling for the closure of nine hospitals statewide, including some in Westchester and Hudson Valley.

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