Five things to watch for in Cuomo’s budget | Capital New York

Cuomo has said that he could flip what is currently projected as a $1.7 billion deficit for the next fiscal year into a $2 billion surplus by 2016, provided he can hold state spending growth to two percent or less. That's going to be quite difficult, fiscal analysts note, as the state has already committed to spending increases for education and health programs.

“Two percent growth in state operating funds yields the 'surplus' he's talking about. The question, though, is that 40 percent of that is Medicaid and school aid, and those are assumed to increase at four percent each year, and in Albany, those are seen not as caps, but floors,” said E.J. McMahon, president of the business-backed Empire Center. “So if that's off-limits to reduction, it's very difficult to see how everything else gets reduced enough to hold that two percent line.”

Enter the waiver. If the state were able to count on the additional federal revenue, it could direct some of its own money elsewhere.

NY casino measure: A sucker’s bet by E.J. McMahon | | New York Post

A large majority of New York City residents think the non-Indian gambling casinos authorized by Proposal One on next week’s statewide ballot will bring in “significant new revenue for New York state and local governments,” according to a New York Times-Siena poll released Tuesday.

Casinos in context: much ado about … not much by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

A huge majority of New York City residents believe it’s likely the non-Indian gambling casinos authorized by Proposal One on next week’s ballot will bring in “significant new revenue for New York state and local governments”—including a full one-third who think it’s “very likely” that casinos will be a big money maker, according to a New York Times-Siena poll released today.

Cuomo: Voters will decide whether gambling expands in New York | WMHT

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it’s now up to the voters to decide whether they want to expand gambling in New York. He’s signed into law a plan to build casinos upstate, but the public must approve a change in the state’s constitution in order for it to move forward.

Cuomo’s casino gift to unions by E.J. McMahon | | Syracuse Post-Standard

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that his proposal to allow up to three casinos in upstate New York will "create thousands of new jobs where they are needed most."

Now comes the small print: it turns out those jobs will be controlled mainly by the state's politically powerful labor unions, whose support the governor presumably is courting for the constitutional amendment that voters will be asked to approve this fall to legalize casino gambling on a broader scale.

Cuomo’s gambling jobs for the favored class by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

Governor Andrew Cuomo says his proposal to allow up to three casinos in upstate New York will “create thousands of new jobs where they are needed most.” Now comes the small print: it turns out those jobs will be controlled mainly by organized labor, whose support the governor presumably is courting for a needed constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling on a broader scale.

Cuomo leaves the wrong door open by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

For a second time, Governor Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would require the state to reimburse New York City for retiree health benefits paid to former employees of the bankrupt New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. (OTB). That’s good. Unfortunately, once again, he has left the door open to signing the bill in the future. And that’s troubling.

Cuomo answers raise more questions by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

In a just-completed radio interview, Governor Andrew Cuomo talked a little more about his State of the State announcement last week concerning a proposed new convention center at Aqueduct Raceway in Queens.

But Cuomo’s answers raised a few other questions.