The 2007-08 New York State Budget proposed by Governor Eliot Spitzer sends a mixed message to New York City taxpayers. The Governor’s proposal of no tax hikes and additional funding for public education are laudable goals but I am concerned about the $1.2 billion in cuts to health care and the continued inequity of New York City taxpayers that shoulder a disproportionate a burden of sending more than we receive from Albany.
In the past two years, the State Legislature has pumped billions of dollars for new public schools and operating aid. The 2007-08 Executive Budget takes a responsible approach through an agreement between Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Spitzer to add funding for smaller class sizes and innovative educational programs. As the driving force behind the $330 child care tax credit, I am optimistic that parents of parochial and private schools will receive additional aid through a personal income tax deduction directly tied to tuition expenses. I am an ardent supporter of assisting parents of public, parochial, private and charter schools to make the educational choices they see fit for their children.
I cautiously approach the Governor’s health care proposal because of the changing environment in the delivery of health care services. The Governor failed to address the inequities of the Berger Commission, which mandated the closure of Victory Memorial Hospital. New York City is in a transitional period with the closure of hospitals, most notably Victory Memorial Hospital, and we need a comprehensive approach to insure that our community’s needs are met without jeopardizing essential services. The Governor’s budget calls for a cut of $1.2 billion for institutional care but does not address the new dynamic of hospital closures in Brooklyn and throughout the City.
I applaud the Governor’s desire to root out Medicaid fraud, establish a comprehensive long-term care plan for senior citizens, and help uninsured children and working families afford health care.
Over the next few weeks, we will engage in a meaningful dialogue that will help me to hold the line on spending while fighting for our fair share of resources from Albany.