The Senate has worked hard to deliver real results for the people of New York State. The State budget for fiscal year 2007-08 achieves the goals set out by the Senate Majority to further increase school aid and help ensure that rural and small city school districts don’t get left behind; to provide greater property tax relief directly to taxpayers; to restore needed funding to enable local hospitals and nursing homes to provide quality care; and to provide tax relief to help businesses create jobs.
The new budget delivers results for parents, students, teachers and school districts who will see the largest school aid increase in the history of the State, a total increase of $1.8 billion. I was especially concerned that many local school districts fared poorly under the Governor’s original proposal, and worked hard to secure additional funds to help these districts.
In addition to record school aid, property taxpayers will also benefit from the Senate Majority’s efforts to expand property tax relief. As a result of our efforts, most homeowners are expected to see tax rebate checks that are double what they received last year. A total of $1.3 billion in additional direct property tax relief checks will be sent out this year. Checks are expected to be delivered in the fall, roughly around the same time that school taxes are due.
We fought to prevent devastating health care cuts that would have jeopardized patient care. I heard from hundreds of people in Fulton and Montgomery counties who were concerned about the cuts proposed by the Governor. The budget restores more than $400 million in State funds that, when combined with federal funds, will prevent about two-thirds of the Governor’s proposed health care cuts to hospitals and nursing homes. The budget also includes important health care reforms to fight Medicaid fraud and make our health care system more efficient and effective.
The Senate also fought hard for business tax cuts and we were successful in getting $150 million in business tax reductions, growing to $300 million, included in the budget. The tax relief will target manufacturers, who are especially important to the Upstate economy. The budget also rejects about $500 million in new and increased taxes and fees proposed by the Governor.