On April 1, 2019, the Senate voted to pass the 2019-2020 State Budget, which will deliver record school aid to Nassau County, make the property tax cap permanent, cut taxes for the middle class, help people struggling with addiction, restore AIM funding, make voting easier, reform the MTA, deliver dedicated revenue streams to improve the LIRR, and invest in clean water infrastructure on Long Island.
I came to Albany to fight for Long Island to get it’s fair share, and I’m very proud that our 2019-2020 budget delivers on the priorities of the 7th Senate District. Here are some of the things in the budget of which I am most proud:
Reducing the Local Property Tax Burden
- We made the tax cap permanent, and by doing so it is projected to save taxpayers 189.9 billion over the next 10 years
- Funding has been restored to the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) budget to ensure that towns and villages won't have to raise taxes locally to cover any shortfall
- $24.5 million in funding has been allocated to implement new early voting and electronic poll infrastructure, which will reduce the burden on county government
Improving Educational Opportunities
- This Budget provides the largest amount of school aid in NY state history
- School aid increased by over $1 billion; $100 million more than last year's aid increase
- Nassau County schools saw an average increase in aid of 5.3%, well above the statewide average increase of 3.6%, and above the average increase of 3.4% under the prior Senate majority.
- Senate District 7 saw an increase in education aid of $22,463,789.00, with total aid at $292,241,142.00, for a total increase of 8.3%
MTA Reform and Funding
- We secured a dedicated funding stream for the Long Island Railroad under the new congestion pricing plan, with 10% of proceeds directly funding the LIRR at approximately $1 billion dollars each year. Without this funding, it is estimated that MTA and LIRR fares would have increased by 40% to cover needed infrastructure improvements.
- Complete reforms of the management and structure of the Long Island Railroad and MTA are mandated and will be made following a thorough audit of existing practices.
Addressing the Opioid Crisis
- A new behavioral health insurance parity provision will ensure that people seeking recovery are able to get the help they need, by accessing 28 day substance use disorder (SUD) treatment programs without prior authorization
- A new cap on co-payments will ensure that out-of-pocket costs aren't a barrier to someone accessing SUD treatment
- Hundreds of thousands of dollars of funding has been secured to provide recovery services through local non-profit organizations on the front-line of the crisis in Nassau County
Protecting our Environment
- As Long Island begins to address groundwater contamination with emerging contaminants like PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4 dioxane, this budget will deliver an additional $500 million for clean water infrastructure, for a total of $3 billion, which will help to ensure the cost burden for new treatment systems aren't passed on to local ratepayers
- The budget fully funds the Environmental Protection Fund for the first time at an historic $300 million
- A new ban on plastic bags, with a 5 cent fee for single use paper bags, will dramatically reduce the amount of plastic bags that end up in landfills and littering our communities