It's a big day for Andrew Cuomo, as he gets his first audience with President Saruman up in his big tower he seems afraid to leave. In more boring, pedestrian stuff though, Cuomo also released his budget for 2017, with a focus on biotech, a proposal to keep taxing millionaires and of course, his proposed free tuition at state schools for students in certain income brackets.
Cuomo's $152.3 billion budget was revealed to the public last night, after he had shown it to legislators in closed-door meetings at the governors' mansion. Included in the budget is $163 million to fund Cuomo's proposal for tuition-free college at state schools for children of families making $125,000 or less, as well as a call to extend New York's tax on people making more than $1 million per year for three more years. The Times notes, apparently without irony, that these ideas might have been easier for Cuomo to turn into reality if the State Senate wasn't controlled by Republicans (who are holding on to power thanks to a breakaway group of Democrats Cuomo has cast himself as powerless to stop).
Beyond his big liberal proposals that in no way have anything to do with a potential 2020 presidential run, Cuomo also suggested throwing $300 million at life sciences (everyone loves life sciences), broken down as $200 million set aside for lab space and equipment and $100 million for "'early stage' life sciences companies," according to the Times Union. There's also a $400 million chunk of money set aside for the Buffalo Billions program, which will continue despite small hiccups like connections to highly-paid sexist state employees and corruption trials stemming from kickbacks related to the program.
Passing up the chance for a Grover Norquist endorsement, Cuomo's budget also includes a proposal for a vaper tax, specifically a 10-cent per milliliter tax on vape pens, e-cigs and hookah pens. The News notes that Cuomo's plan doesn't have any backup plans in the event that the Affordable Care Act gets repealed and blows an almost $4 billion hole in the budget, which is either optimistic in the extreme or really shortsighted. But hey, if that winds up happening, we can always find comfort in drinking ourselves to death at any of the city's many movie theaters thanks to the budget's proposal to let the booze flow at every movie theater in the state.