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Cuomo relying on future surplus to afford budget cuts

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Albany/HV: Cuomo relying on future surplus to afford budget cuts
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The tax cut portion of Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget is in the spotlight. As Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman reports, he's relying on a future surplus to afford the cuts.

STATEWIDE -- A $2 billion surplus is possible in the next two years. However, there are a lot of "ifs" in Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget before New York State could even get to that point.

"There are clearly a number of assumptions as to whether we can get there. But the assumptions appear reasonable to us as they exist today and we're confident we can get," said Thomas Mattox, the Taxation and Finance Commissioner.

Cuomo seems confident enough to speak about the surplus as if it's already here. [[SOT]]

"We have gone from a $10 billion deficit to a $2 billion surplus in just three short years," said Cuomo during his State of the State address.

This year, the state is running a surplus of about $300 million. However, the larger $2 billion bump won't be available until 2016-2017. And, that would only be available if the legislature sticks to the 2 percent cap on annual state spending.

Cuomo and the legislature have been able to approve the last three state budgets with the voluntary spending limit in place. To get to $2 billion by 2016-2017, future budgets will have make a series of unspecified cuts totaling more than $7 billion.

"There are gaps identified and then there's a line that talks about controlling spending to 2 percent to deal with those gaps and that's a little different budget strategy or financial plan strategy than we've seen in the past," explained New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Meanwhile the governor wants to use the coming surpluses to pay for $2.2 billion in tax cuts. It's a plan that impacts property owners and businesses.

Supporters of the tax cut package believe the money will be there to pay for it.

Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos said, "Budgeting is not an exact science. But I'm confident. Bottom line is we're going to have to cut taxes if we make New York state competitive with other states."

The governor's $142 billion budget proposal is due by April 1.

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