Beginning at the Centereach Branch of the Middle Country Public Library, Senator Flanagan hosted meetings in Commack at the Commack Public Library and in Smithtown at the Eugene A. Cannataro Senior Citizen Center.
At the beginning of each event, Senator Flanagan updated the attendees about the ongoing budget discussions and his efforts to make sure that the state budget delivers what is needed for Long Island taxpayers.
Most important on that list, according to Senator Flanagan, included providing much-needed relief from property taxes and state funding for Long Island schools.
Senator Flanagan warned the crowd that the budget that was originally proposed by former Governor Eliot Spitzer was extremely inadequate for school districts in Suffolk County. That budget, which was proposed earlier this year, contains $1.4 billion in increased aid to education but provides Long Island with only 8% of that growth.
Senator Flanagan, while aware of the economic realities of the state, is looking to make sure that the budget that is ultimately approved by the Legislature and Governor David Paterson will reflect the needs of all school districts in the state.
"The budget the state adopts must be more equitable for all regions of our state and reject former Governor Spitzer's approach of pitting one area of New York against another. We need a budget that is fair to all of our state without hurting any other region because that is what the residents of New York deserve," stated Senator Flanagan.
At each of the events, after the update,Senator Flanagan opened the discussion to the audience members to hear their opinions on the issues facing our state. This led to a lively discussion of a multitude of issues with a common concern being the economy and the issue of school funding.
"There are many issues that the community cares deeply about and I greatly appreciate those who attended for voicing their feelings. These meetings allowed everyone to discuss the problems facing our state and, more importantly, to work together to find the solutions that will make our community better," added Senator Flanagan.
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