Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie), Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, today announced that the Senate has proposed a budget that will provide nearly $17.44 billion in General Support to public schools, reflecting an increase of $1.1 billion in school aid to children, the largest dollar increase ever proposed in New York’s history - $448 million more than contained in the Governor’s budget.
The proposed budget would provide schools with a 6.7 percent increase over the 2005-06 school year, reaffirming the Senate’s commitment to education by continuing record increases in State aid, according to Senator Saland.
"Our budget proposal will provide schools with record increases in state aid," Senator Saland said. "Not only will the $1.1 billion increase in school aid continue the programs that are so vital to providing our children with a quality education, it will also mitigate potential school tax increases on overburdened property owners. By restoring many of the Governor’s cuts and expanding real property tax relief, we will continue to make education funding a priority for the well-being of our children, while providing relief to hardworking, overburdened taxpayers."
Senator Saland said the new budget’s aid plan would give schools the additional resources they need to provide adaquate education to New York’s children by including the following additional aid:
- $668 million in unrestricted aid, including the allocation of $375 million in Sound Basic Education funding
- Funding restored for BOCES aid, and private excess cost aid (a form of Special Education aid)
- A $75 million STAR cost of living adjustment for Basic STAR recipients
- $20 million in additional aid to libraries
- An additional $1 million for independent living centers
The Senate budget proposes tax cuts of $1.5 billion in 2006-07, including provision for direct property tax rebate checks of $400 to all STAR recipients, with that amount increasing to 75 percent of their STAR benefit in 2008-09. Growing to $6.4 billion in 2008-09, the Senate plan also provides tax reductions for small businesses and relief from high energy costs, particularly for seniors and small businesses.
"I would resonably expect that the Joint Conference Sub-Committees will begin to meet shortly to deal with the differences in the repective budgets passed in both houses," said Senator Saland. "This process will hopefully again lead us to a timely budget," he concluded.