Senator Parker Announces Agreement on Budget, Closing Largest Budget Gap in State History

Kevin S. Parker

April 03, 2009

Job Creation, improved government efficiencies and statewide balance are trademarks of budget agreement

Brooklyn, NY- Late this afternoon, Senator Parker (D-21) worked with Senate members, under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith, to close the largest budget gap in state history. Faced with an astounding two-year, $17.7 billion budget gap for fiscal years 2009-10, the Senate, Governor Paterson and Assembly Speaker Silver settled on a budget agreement highlighted by improvements in government efficiencies, job creation and a shared commitment to responsible budgeting.

"This was not an easy budget however we will not stop working until we are sure New York is on the road to economic recovery," said Senator Parker. "Now is a time for solutions. We’re not there yet but we’ve certainly turned the corner by helping our economy grow and putting people everywhere back to work."

As state revenues plummeted by an additional $3.2 billion since February 2009 and new unemployment claims reaching nearly 40,000 per week in March 2009, Senator Parker displayed a strong commitment in funding job creation, successfully creating over 110,000 new jobs in this year’s state budget.

"We now have the chance to reshape our neighborhood economies by creating new skills and good-paying jobs," said Senator Parker. "As the Chair of the Energy & Telecommunications committee, I look forward to exposing my constituents to the future of green job development."

With 58,000 jobs in energy efficiency, retrofits and renewable energy "green jobs", 50,000 jobs in transportation and associated fields and over 2,000 jobs for low-income New Yorkers, the Senate provided our state with the tools necessary to achieve long-term economic growth.

Senator Parker also strongly supports the budget agreement that calls for a $4 billion personal income tax surcharge on the wealthiest of New Yorkers which will expire after three years due to the Senate’s advocacy.

Also included in the budget were approximately $800 million in restoration of healthcare cuts proposed in the Executive’s budget and over half a billion dollars in transitional funding to ease the change to a more patient-driven health system. To make health care delivery more efficient, the budget agreement includes new reforms

to increase investments in primary and preventative care. The Senate also fought for and won initiatives for $127 million to support community based health clinics and a $16 million pool to support Upstate and suburban community hospitals.

Protecting our state’s most valuable asset, our children, the Senate was able to hold the line on all cuts to education, restoring school funding to fiscal year 2008-09 levels and maintaining foundation aid and high tax aid. The budget agreement also includes $30 million in bullet aid to schools with special financial challenges, a restoration of funding for teacher centers and libraries and reimbursement of mandated expenses at private schools. Additionally, the Senate was able to secure a much needed restoration of over $10 million to preschool special education programs and $1.4 million in money for low-income special education students.

"The best way to attract new business, is through an educated workforce—that’s why education is so important to our economic agenda," said Senator Parker. "We were able to hold the line on education funding amid the greatest economic crisis of our lifetimes and that was our priority."

For the first time in 30 years the budget agreement establishes an increase in the welfare grant and $40 million in job programs for low-income New Yorkers, including Senate on green jobs, health access and subsidized employment.

About Senator Kevin Parker
Senator Kevin S. Parker is committed to restoring the overall quality of life for the constituents of the 21st Senatorial District in Brooklyn. A lifelong Brooklyn resident, Senator Parker has been a Flatbush resident for more than 30 years. Having been nurtured, schooled and employed in the district, Senator Parker is intimately familiar with the needs of this ethnically diverse community that consists of 311,000 constituents in several communities which include: Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Ditmas Park, Kensington and Borough Park.