SOTS: Homelessness, I-90 tolls, education aid

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 08:16:24-05

Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out his 2016-2017 proposed budget Wednesday.

His $145 billion spending plan includes $22 billion (over five years) for improvements to upstate roads and bridges, $300 million in tax cuts for small businesses, $15 dollar an hour wages for all workers, and increasing education aid by $2.1 billion over two years. That would make it the highest in history.

Homelessness also a major topic in his State of the State Address. Cuomo’s proposing $20 billion to homeless shelters and services, statewide. According to Cuomo, there were 2,500 health and safety violations in shelters across the state last year alone. So, he's proposing an independent review of all shelters including here in Buffalo.

Cuomo specifically referenced New York City and Buffalo shelters since they are the two largest programs in the state. He's appointing Buffalo Comptroller, Mark Schroeder to audit our shelters. Schroeder will perform on sight inspections and review operating and financial protocols. Cuomo said if a shelter is found unsafe, police protection will be added or it may be closed. Sanitary violations will be subject to closure, too. “Many of the current shelters are well run. But, we need to know which are well run and which aren't. And, we need to do something about those that aren't well run, immediately. That's exactly what this system will do,” Cuomo said.

Erie County Executive, Mark Poloncarz immediately took to Twitter saying "Our Erie County Social Services already reviews and approves shelters for homeless. The problems in NYC do not exist in Erie County."

Cuomo also proposed freezing tolls on the New York State Thruway until 2020. State income tax credits will be offered to farmers to offset the tolls they pay. Nearly one million businesses and frequent thruway drivers will save on average between $97 and $1,872 a year with a tax credit worth 50 percent of the thruway tolls they paid.

For more information on the Thruway toll proposal.




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