Cuomo's Secretary of State Travels to WNY

January 18, 2012 Updated Jan 18, 2012 at 7:51 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

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January 18, 2012 Updated Jan 18, 2012 at 7:51 PM EDT


Niagara Falls, NY (WKBW)- Members of Governor Andrew Cuomo's cabinet traveled throughout the state Thursday to inform the public about the governor's executive budget proposal and help drum up support. Secretary of State Cesar Perales spoke to Niagara County Residents inside the John Duke Senior Citizen Center in Niagara Falls. Cuomo claims his $132 billion budget plan will completely wipe out the $3.5 billion deficit. The plan focuses on economic growth for the state and reforms to education, state pensions, and programs including Medicaid.

"He believes in these things because he wants to make this kind of change," said Perales.

Some local organizations are worried about how the Medicaid reform will impact services for the residents and families who rely on them.

"Understandably, there are efficiencies that can be gained and we can all do a little better," said Roxane Albond-Buchner of Opportunities Unlimited Of Niagara. "But what we're concerned about is: at the end of the day, are those individuals who are at risk and vulnerable getting the best quality service in the most efficient manner?"

There's also a push by the governor to reform the state's education system. The governor is supporting competitive school grants, which would be based on the grades of students and school academic improvements. He's also pursuing the installation of teacher evaluations. Cuomo has given school districts a year to implement the evaluation, otherwise they would lose out on funding. The proposals are not sitting well with unions.

"What will really help teachers teach and children to learn and improve education for the kids?," said Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore. "Taking away money isn't going to do that. A teacher evaluation system isn't going to do that. It's only a small part."

For more information on the governor's executive budget proposal visit: www.nygetinvolved.com