Essential Plan surplus hits $1.2B by Bill Hammond | NY Torch

The balance of unspent money in the Essential Plan Trust Fund ballooned to a new high of $1.2 billion as of March 31, records from the comptroller's office show. The surplus more than tripled since the same time last year – even as the Trump administration disrupted federal aid for the program, which provides health coverage to low-income New Yorkers, and the Cuomo administration diverted $635 million in Essential Plan funds to subsidize struggling hospitals.

Security blanket: The Capitol becomes Fort Cuomo Politico New York

The Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon similarly noted he has worn his belt through airport security “about a hundred times without taking it off or tripping anything,” but is still required to take it off while entering the Capitol.

“It’s easy for people who want this, which is mainly people in government, to dismiss this as just carping over an inconvenience for people who don’t want to wait in line,” he said. “But it sends a very important and ultimately demeaning message to the public.”

Cuomo’s SALT Flop by E.J. McMahon | New York Post

By midnight Monday, more than 9 million New Yorkers will have filed their income tax returns for 2018. And most will then have cause to wonder what the Great New York SALT Panic of 2018 was all about.

Budget pushes health costs higher by Bill Hammond | NY Torch

The new state budget features a larger-than-usual increase in Medicaid spending and two new coverage mandates for private insurers – adding to the already steep costs of health care for New York's taxpayers and policyholders.

Editorial: State budgeters keep it real Buffalo News

Taxpayers can chalk up a victory thanks to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s successful effort to make the property tax cap permanent. The 2011 law, which could have expired in mid-2020, limits the annual growth in property tax levies to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. The fiscally conservative Empire Center says the 8-year-old law has saved New Yorkers billions of dollars in tax payments.

New York is looking at an ocean of red ink by E.J. McMahon | New York Post

New York’s new budget — the actual state-government expenditure plan, that is, as opposed to numerous side issues packaged with it — apparently came in close to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bottom line.

Medicaid déjà vu by Bill Hammond | NY Torch

In a "Groundhog Day"-like replay of tactics from last year, health-care interests are again using an unlikely threat of spending cuts in Washington to demand special treatment in the upcoming state budget.

The question now is whether the governor and the Legislature will play along with the movie for a second time in a row – and whether it will have the same ugly ending.

Cuomo’s Medicaid merry-go-round by Bill Hammond | NY Torch

Governor Cuomo is now backing away from Medicaid spending cuts he pushed less than four weeks ago, his second about-face on health-care funding so far this year. Even more head-spinning is his stated rationale: the supposed threat to federal aid outlined in President Trump's budget proposal this week.
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