On Sunday, the New York State Senate finally passed Governor Cuomo's 2017-2018 $153.1 billion dollar budget, well past the April 1st deadline. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has dispatched his cabinet members to the various regions of the State to give budget highlights to local leaders.

At Marist College on Thursday, local leaders were briefed by State Liquor Authority (SLA) Chairman Vincent Bradley, a resident of Kingston. Bradley covered a variety of topics including the "Millionaire's Tax," the Excelsior Scholarship, The Empire State Trail, and other projects that will be visibly noticeable in the near future.

The delay was caused by lawmakers who struggled with various initiatives in the Governor's budget, including the "Millionaire's Tax" as the Senate GOP called it. The adopted budget extends the increased tax rate on individuals earning more than $1 million per year.

The tax affects 45,000 individuals in the Empire State of which 50 percent are not full-time NY residents. The tax is expected to raise $3.4 billion in revenues for NY.

The budget includes a $5 million allocation for the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, home of the legendary funny lady, Lucille Ball.

According to State Senator Catherine Young, R-Jamestown, "the center is expected to entice over 114,000 visitors each year and provide a $23 million boost to the local economy annually."

The center is designed to encourage people to enjoy the history of comedy.

The Chairman of the SLA touched on the highlights of the free college tuition program, titled the Excelsior Scholarship. The plan will provide free college tuition to students in families that make less than $125,000 per year, along with other stipulations.

Bradley stated that 92,333 families in the Mid-Hudson Valley will qualify for the program that will be phased in over 3 years. The plan, which entices attendance at SUNY and CUNY schools, also earmarks $19 million for tuition assistance for students attending private colleges in NY.

The $200 million Empire State Trail, a 750-mile network of trails from NYC to Canada and Albany to Buffalo is slated to be finished by 2020. The trail system will incorporate the Walkway Over The Hudson as part of the route.

Another "soon-to-be-noticed" project is the construction of a multi-million dollar Hudson Valley/Catskills Welcome Center to be constructed in Stormville.

As for middle-class tax cuts, Bradley said approximately 6 million taxpayers will see a $700 tax cut when the new spending plan is fully enacted.

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