Senator Kennedy Says State Budget Focuses on WNY Economy, Infrastructure
State Legislature approves on-time budget that invests in local job creation and transportation improvement
ALBANY, N.Y. – Senator Timothy M. Kennedy, D-58th District, highlighted provisions in the state budget, which he believes indicate that Albany is finally paying attention to the needs of Western New York. As the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development, Kennedy says the budget’s focus on economic development and infrastructure improvement will help spark job creation across the state and especially in Western New York.
“With the focus on economic development and infrastructure investment, this budget will help create the jobs we need to get our economy working again. The highlights for Western New York start with the state’s $1 billion commitment to job creation in the Buffalo region. Governor Cuomo has outlined this investment as a five-year commitment, and it starts with a $100 million down-payment this year. This investment will help unleash the potential for major economic growth across Western New York by attracting new industries and strengthening existing businesses.
“This budget also invests in our state’s infrastructure. The New York Works program will put people to work and improve the safety of our roads and bridges. While NY Works accelerates funds to projects across the state, the budget also contains a specific focus on enhancing transportation funding for Western New York.
“In the past, our region was substantially shortchanged as a result of flawed aid formulas. The funding shortfall we suffered caused projects to be delayed or even canceled, and it resulted in a loss of jobs and economic activity. This year, Western New York is finally getting its fair share of transportation funding, and the state has made a commitment to continuing to take steps toward rectifying the funding shortfalls of the past.
“This budget contains significant commitments to economic development and infrastructure improvement in Western New York. With our region finally being heard in Albany, we can be confident that the commitments made will become commitments delivered.
“This budget sends a message. It says, ‘New York is open for business.’ To Western New Yorkers, it also says something long overdue. It says, ‘Albany is finally paying attention to our needs.’ For decades, our economy has been struggling, and for just as long, we’ve been making our case for enhanced state support to Western New York. Albany is finally working on behalf of all New Yorkers and is committed to helping our region grow.
“I thank Governor Cuomo for his determined focus on Western New York, and I thank my colleagues from the Western New York delegation for helping us shift Albany’s attention to our region’s needs. It’s clear state government is beginning to function more efficiently. For the second time in as many years, we have come together to deliver an on-time budget. This year's budget closes a multi-billion-dollar deficit with no new taxes or fees.”
“I’m also thrilled this budget increases funding for public education and community colleges – which will help New Yorkers succeed academically and professionally. Investing in education strengthens our neighborhoods and our economy. Understanding the rising costs of prescription medications, we also worked to restore funding for the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program. When the restoration goes into effect, this will improve the affordability of prescription medications for local seniors. We also fought to protect Roswell Park Cancer Institute, which was given more flexibility, as well as restored funding, to help ensure Western New York remains a leader in cancer research and patient care.”
Senator Timothy M. Kennedy represents the New York State Senate’s 58th District, which is comprised of the towns of Cheektowaga, Eden, Hamburg and West Seneca, the city of Lackawanna and parts of the city of Buffalo. More information is available at http://kennedy.nysenate.gov.