Bloomberg had a good day for himself yesterday, didn't he?
First he went down to D.C. and laid the smack down at Congress in reference to a proposed gun bill he called a "God-awful piece of legislation."
Then up north in Albany, after much public pressure from Bloomberg and the courts, Pataki and his cronies finally at least seemed to move to pitch in the money they owe to the Department of Education. Sort of.
Basically a tentative $112.4 billion budget for the state was agreed on but still needs to jump through a few hurdles before it is finalized. And a wily budget it is too. Somehow it manages to authorize $11.2 billion for school construction in Gotham and include a broad tax-cut package that "would send property tax rebate checks to homeowners across the state."
The tax-cut plan was said to be worth $4.1 billion over the next two years. The plan calls for sending homeowners rebate checks averaging $400, and also includes a formula to provide school tax relief to New York City residents.
The package also gives families child tax credits worth up to $330 for each child ages 4 to 17, eliminating the sales tax on clothing purchases of less than $110, eliminating the so-called marriage penalty that can make it more expensive for couples living together to marry, and reducing several taxes on businesses.
Of course, budget watchdog groups are expected to make some noise over the fact that the state is in many ways just piling on debt. In order for the state to comply with the court order that it pay up and treat city kids to a fair financial deal an "unusual plan" has been put into effect that allows the city to borrow up to $9.4 billion through the New York City Transitional Finance Authority. The state's annual payments instead of actually paying for the school construction are going to "be used instead to guarantee the new bonds, and the state would agree to provide enough future funding to keep the bonding program afloat."
So if the budget all works out and the money all comes in this could be a big win for Bloomberg. But we'll declare a real victory when we're standing inside a brand new school building...