Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. announced today that the New York State Senate has approved a state budget three weeks ahead of the April 1 deadline. This budget improves on the Executive Budget offered by Governor George Pataki by investing in greater educational opportunities for students, funding higher education and health care, providing homeowner tax savings and financing important transportation and economic development initiatives. The Senate and the Assembly are now negotiating a formal budget in an open process with budget conference committees.
"The Senate has ensured the continuation of essential health care services and educational programs," stated Senator Fuschillo. "By delivering much needed tax relief and business incentives, this budget allows New York to continue to grow economically and to remain competitive."
Medicaid expenses have been a primary focus of the budget process and the adopted budget plan calls for a cap of the local share of Medicaid expenses. The cap would provide Nassau and Suffolk Counties with over $475 million in savings over the next few years and, when combined with the State takeover of the Family Health Plus program, would save New York State residents over $3 billion when fully implemented.
The budget plan calls for less than four percent fiscal growth annually, including an additional investment of $626 million in increased assistance to schools. The Senate also preserves $325 million in Sound Basic Education Aid, which was proposed by the Governor.
Senator Fuschillo supported the Tuition Assistance Program for higher education (TAP) and a student-friendly system of freezing tuition for incoming freshman for their four year college career. This commitment to the education of tomorrow’s leaders was combined with a protection of over $80 million dollars in SUNY funding.
Additional tax savings and incentives included in the plan are a billion dollar direct school property tax relief rebate program, a small business health insurance tax credit to help reduce the number of uninsured workers in New York State, an expansion of the Empire Zone program and incentives that would retain the businesses currently in the state and recruit others to the state.
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