Senator Parker Says 2007-08 State Budget Will Improve The Lives Of All New Yorkers

Kevin S. Parker

April 24, 2007

Brooklyn, NY -- State Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) said fundamental reforms, targeted tax relief for middle class families and businesses, and record investments in education, health care and affordable housing in this year’s budget will provide opportunities for all New Yorkers to make a better life themselves.

“What we did this year was make sure our dollars were spent wisely and continue a reform agenda that will make our government more efficient and accountable to the people,” said Senator Parker. “That means record education aid increases that are tied to academic performance, Medicaid reform that will improve patient care, tax relief for middle class families and businesses, and investments in affordable housing, the environment and transportation that will improve our quality of life.”

Senator Parker noted that the centerpiece of the budget are two initiatives that will help make New York more competitive in the future. First is $1.3 billion property tax relief to help middle class homeowners who have been saddled with skyrocketing property taxes. “My priority this year was bringing real tax relief to middle class families,” said Senator Parker. “Coupled with health care reforms that slow the growth of Medicaid from 9 to 1 percent, this should help stabilize local property taxes in the future.”

Senator Parker said the second major accomplishment of this budget was a record $1.9 billion increase in education aid. “What we set out to do in education aid this year was meet the needs of under-funded schools throughout the state. We did that. We began reforms to the school aid formula and wanted funding increases linked to academic performance. We did that too. It is the beginning of a transforming process in how we fund our schools.”

Senator Parker also supported raising the cap on charter schools from 100 to 200, half of which will be in New York City.

Senator Parker supported reducing the base tax rate for businesses from 7.5 to 7 percent to help keep New York competitive, while closing tax loopholes for out of state corporations. “Again we spent our money wisely, targeting tax cuts to boost our manufacturing industry ($75 million), and invest in stem cell research ($100 million) and nanotechnology ($300 million),” said Senator Parker.

“I was also pleased with the way our health care reforms were included in the final budget, including restoring $355 million in cuts to local hospitals and nursing homes,” said Senator Parker. “We have begun a slow process of reducing the rate of growth of Medicaid, adding the False Claims Act to root out fraud, and redirecting our resources to primary and preventive care where it is most needed.”