State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan (D-Brooklyn) announced the completion of an historic state budget for the 2007-2008 fiscal year. This year’s budget, Governor Spitzer’s first as New York’s Chief Executive, set state spending at just over $121 billion while setting a new standard of fiscal responsibility.
“In this year’s budget we were able to accomplish and fund programs at levels we have never seen before. We will see record funding for education in the highest needs districts, more children will have access to insurance than ever before and our broken system for funding Medicaid will receive some much needed repairs. I am pleased to be able to present this budget to my constituents,” Senator Dilan said.
This year’s budget provides an impressive and much needed $1.7 billion more for education than last year’s budget, bringing the total state funding for education to $19.2 billion. In order to address the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) lawsuit, there is $5.5 billion in funding specifically for New York City schools. This funding will also allow for a total of $437 million for universal pre-kindergarten classes. This is $42.6 million more than Governor Spitzer had proposed.
“Schools throughout New York City and especially those here in Brooklyn, that have been shortchanged for years, are finally receiving their fair share. We are also providing funding for our young children by way of universal pre-k classes. This is an incredibly important first step in educating our kids and I am proud to have worked to provide increases in funding for these programs over what the Governor had originally proposed,” Senator Dilan said.
The new budget also improves New Yorkers access to healthcare, while protecting patients, communities and nursing homes. In the budget, Child Health Plus eligibility has been expanded to cover over 400,000 uninsured children in New York State and the enrollment process will be streamlined for the more than 900,000 uninsured Medicaid-eligible adults. Also, $28 million has been added to support in-home and community-based services while restructuring and improving the long-term care system. The budget also creates a false claims act to strengthen the State’s Medicaid anti-fraud capabilities and provides $100 million for research into emerging technologies such as stem cells.
“We have made some significant advances in the availability and administration of health care in this State. Now we will be able to provide health insurance to all of New York’s children who have been living without insurance for years. We have also cracked down on Medicaid fraud in an effort to make it easier for us to recoup losses due to fraud within the system. While there is still more work to be done, we have made some significant steps in the right direction,” Senator Dilan said.
“At the end of the day this is a sound budget that will benefit all New Yorkers. Even in the midst of pending cuts to hospitals and nursing homes, I am pleased to announce a $2.3 million restoration in funding over the Governor’s initial cuts to nursing homes in my district which include Buena Vida, Wartburg Lutheran, Wartburg Nursing and Willoughby Rehab. We also have made a $50 million increase to affordable housing initiatives, $4.6 million in additional public housing aid and $1.2 billion for new transportation projects. All of these additional funds will help move this State forward as we move together toward a brighter future,” concluded Senator Dilan.