Some portions of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $178-billion state budget proposed have particular interest to the Southern Tier.

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As the Governor tries to get a handle on a $6-billion deficit through reigning in Medicaid costs, the Democrat is also proposing agricultural and business issues that could impact Central New York and the Southern Tier including making the ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas permanent and legalizing marijuana.

In his budget address January 21, Cuomo said he would introduce a bill to permanently ban fracking by amending environmental conservation law restricting the Department of Environmental Conservation from approving permits that would authorize an applicant to drill, deepen, plug back or convert wells that use high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

In addition, the spending plan includes lowering the tax rate for small businesses by 40% while guaranteeing five days of paid sick leave at businesses with five to 99 employees and at least seven days of paid sick leave at businesses with 100 or more employees.  The ledger also continues to lower Personal Income Tax rates for middle-class residents for a third year.

Cuomo says this year he is proposing a comprehensive regulatory approach to legalize cannabis, creating a new Office of Cannabis Management to work out regulations and oversee the medical, adult-use and hemp programs.  The panel is also to be charged with safeguarding public health.

Finally, the Governor wants to change the state Coat of Arms to add E Pluribus Unum.. “out of many, one.” The governor did not say how much changing the design of the state seals and flags would cost.

The State’s new fiscal year begins April 1.