“Today the NYS Senate passed a one-house budget that delivers for all New Yorkers—from our children, to young families, to our aging seniors. I am proud to have worked with the Senate Majority to play a critical role in securing victories for Rochester and communities across our state.
We expanded eligibility of the Empire Child Tax Credit to children under four years-old, based in-part upon legislation I wrote that has the potential to lift thousands of children from poverty. This new tax-refund for families with young children is common sense and long overdue.
We also made critical investments in healthcare, most notably by increasing the Medicaid reimbursement for hospitals and nursing homes by 10%, after 14 long years without an increase. We also increased wages for our direct care essential workers with a 8.5% COLA. And we incorporated my legislation to remove the 7% excise tax on medical cannabis to increase patient access—especially important for those diagnosed with epilepsy or in need of pain management.
For far too long the City of Rochester has been denied its fair share of state aid. I am proud to see more money go to upstate cities, like Rochester, and my legislation to design a more equitable way to fund cities in the future. We also increased funding to the Rochester City School District and public schools across the state.
Arts and culture are the heart of many of our upstate cities, including Rochester. The new addition of $5 million to invest in historic theaters, and renewed $20 million for upstate art organizations will keep our creative class strong, and bring more visitors to cities outside New York City.
Finally, we’ve restored $20 million in cuts to funding for New York’s AAPI community, and added an additional $12.5 for a total investment of over $33 million. This is the fastest growing minority group in the state and the nation, who have unfortunately been the target of acts of discrimination and hate.
While I am pleased with our one-house budget, there are still areas I hope will be included in our final budget, including public safety and increased public transportation in upstate. In the coming weeks, we will continue our advocacy efforts to ensure these critical investments are adopted.”