(Albany, New York) On the last day of the legislative session and overshadowed by high profile debates on Hydro-fracking and whether to empower the SUNY Board of Trustees to raise tuition at select college campuses, Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson’s budget bill to provide $1.8 million dollars to rape crisis centers throughout New York State passed unanimously and without debate.
By Senator Ruth Hassell-ThompsonChairwoman - New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative CaucusLow-income and middle-income New Yorkers are hurting from the combined effects of high property taxes, unemployment and underemployment, health care premium increases, and cuts to public services. While it is within the responsibilities of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus ("the Caucus") to protect services and resources for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, we understand full well the immediacy of the fiscal challenges facing our state. We are committed to partnering with Governor Andrew Cuomo to balance a budget that is fair going forward.
New York is on a dangerous path of pricing out our low-income and middle-income New Yorkers. The Executive and Senate Republican’s trickle down approach to right-sizing our economy will hit our working and middle class families, our children and seniors the hardest. Further, the refusal to include the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) in the budget coupled with the drastic reduction of the Advantage Rental Assistance program, and shrinking public services is a direct assault on our most vulnerable citizen
Proposed restrictions on plea bargaining traffic tickets and a proposed $80 surcharge on certain parking tickets were rejected by the Legislature during budget negotiations. Governor Cuomo and the Legislature did, however, agree that fines for texting while driving and driving without a hands free device should be enhanced.