On Sunday, March 31st, the State Legislature adopted a balanced, on-time state budget. While budgets always involve compromise, we made substantial changes to better serve our communities, protect taxpayers and expand our democratic institutions.
I am proud to say that the approved budget includes significant increases in Foundation Aid funding for high-need school districts throughout the state; restoration of AIM funding to support local villages and towns; and a permanent 2% property tax cap which will save residents billions of dollars statewide.
Our efforts to increase funding for major budgetary priorities such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure were curtailed by an unexpected shortfall in revenue in the fourth quarter. Despite this limitation, the 2019-20 NYS Budget moves the state forward on several key investments and legislative priorities.
We secured a $618 million increase in Foundation Aid funding, nearly double the Executive Budget Proposal and targeted the highest need school districts with the increase. The passage of a permanent property tax cap, full AIM funding, and restoration of healthcare cuts are major victories for the state. We passed historic changes to our criminal justice system in the areas of bail, speedy trial, and discovery. The 2019-20 NYS Budget also included major victories for the environment by enacting a statewide plastic bag ban, a commitment to revitalizing our transportation systems, and increasing voter access by funding voting reforms.
Though I know there is more we need to do, particularly in the area of equitable funding for public schools throughout the state, and though I did not agree with every provision in the final budget, on balance, the 2019-20 NYS Budget includes major changes that will improve the lives of all New Yorkers.
I appreciate the input of so many of my constituents during this budget process. Your calls, emails, visits, postcards and strong opinions helped shape my advocacy, and I value that greatly. I am proud of what we achieved in a difficult fiscal environment, and look forward to doing my best to serve you with energy, passion and respect.
Shelley B. Mayer