Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie) today announced the final piece of the 2008-2009 budget with the passage of the Education, Labor and Family Assistance budget.
"This has been a challenging year due to a record $4.6 billion deficit and a change in administration right before the budget deadline," said Senator Saland. "This year’s enacted budget spends less than the budget submitted to us by the former Governor in January, yet still keeps our commitment to education, health care and job creation, while saying no to increased gas taxes and broad based taxes".
"The budget delivers dollars directly into classrooms with a record $1.8 billion increase in State school aid. As Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, I am committed to maintaining a quality education for our children. It is just as important, however, to do so without increasing taxes on already overburdened property tax payers. Hopefully, this increased funding will help relieve that burden.
Senator Saland was also able to secure an additional $200,000 for Columbia-Greene Community College in the budget. "Small community colleges, whose enrollments are fewer than 2,000 full time students, must bear many of the same overhead costs as larger colleges, but have a smaller base over which to allocate these costs. This funding will help Columbia-Greene maintain its academic excellence," Saland added.
The Senate rejected a plan that would have shifted a larger share of the costs for certain programs to counties, that would have added $83 million to the local property tax burden and rejected a plan that would have shifted $46 million in new costs to school districts. These actions in the budget, initiated by Senate Republicans, will also help limit the pressure on local property taxpayers.
"Combined with $1 billion in capital investments for job creation and improvements at SUNY and CUNY as well as a restoration of health care funds, our aim was to maintain the programs and services New Yorkers need, while protecting taxpayers. This budget achieves that goal," Saland concluded.