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What Does the New NYS Budget Mean for You, East End?

After weeks of tense negotiating between Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and top lawmakers the 2014 NYS Budget was finalized in time for the present fiscal year, which began today. Included in the $138 billion budget are several changes that will affect the lives of taxpayers living on the East End of Long Island.

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele (I) talked about some of the upcoming changes during a telephone conversation from his office in Albany. 

The budget provides significant tax relief to homeowners and increases spending across the school districts of the South Fork.

Among the provisions certain to be of interest to residents is a homeowner taxpayer rebate of 2%. The rebate is dependent on area school districts capping their own budgets at 2% increases for the next two years; and then 1% for the following three.

Long Island schools receive $125.7 million in funding. Most school districts will see their aid increase by at least 5%. Schools on the East End fared better than many statewide and some will receive double-digit increases. Springs leads the roster with an 11% increase, Sag Harbor 6.3% and East Hampton 5%.  

The budget includes several provisions that address various educational concerns.

Perhaps in the most controversial of the provisions allow students to opt-out of standardized testing without the any detrimental fall-out such as being denied promotion. However, going forward the tests will continue to be used for teacher evaluation as per the new Core Curriculum requirements.

The budget provides for a referendum vote in November on funding for a 2 billion dollar School Technology Bond to upgrade computers and network infrastructures in public schools throughout the state.

Another provision certain to be beneficial to all New York State residents is one that caps the expenses that can be billed for “surprise” out of network healthcare costs.

The New York Times has a good overview of how the new provision will protect New York State residents’ from unwittingly incurring high out-of-network expenses when undergoing medical treatment.

Going forward, if a patient unintentionally incurs out-of-network costs the dollar amount owed cannot be higher than what the co-payment would have been in network.

The budget allocates $5 million to the Town of Riverhead to upgrade their sewer infrastructure at Enterprise Park in Calverton.

Crossbow hunting season was the beneficiary of another of the budget’s provisions. Going forward crossbow hunters will have a separate, defined period of time during which it is permissible to hunt deer that is unique and different from the general deer-hunting season dates.

The East End will also benefit from an increase in the estate tax threshold. This is something Assemblyman Thiele said will help mitigate the adverse affects of inheritance taxes on farm families. Going forward the estate tax threshold will rise from $1 million to $5.25 million—the same as the Federal rate—over the course of the next five years.

Thoughts on how the new budget will affect living and working on the East End of Long Island? Post them on Patch.

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