(Albany, NY): Senator Monica R. Martinez has announced key takeaways from the recently approved New York State budget, highlighting its positive impact on Suffolk County and Long Island. As the Chair of the Senate’s Local Government Committee, Senator Martinez fought for the needs of Long Islanders and local governments during the budget negotiations.
Senator Martinez strongly opposed several provisions in the budget which would have negatively affected Long Island, such as an $800M increase in the MTA payroll mobility tax and a state override of local zoning authority for housing development. As a result of her efforts, Long Island was spared from these negative impacts. Senator Martinez stated, “I vehemently opposed the idea of increasing the MTA payroll tax and played a significant role in the effort to prevent the tax from being raised on the backs of our small businesses and hard working Long Islanders.”
The budget addressed the need to make New York safer by expanding judicial discretion and empowering judges to implement measures to secure a person's return to court. Senator Martinez acknowledged that more needs to be done to address the root causes of crime and will continue to advocate for criminal justice and public safety to co-exist. “Fixing bail reform has been and is an intrinsic part of my tenure in Albany. I’ve made no secret of my intent to amend a law which was intended to promote fairness and reduce pretrial detention based on an individual’s wealth but that has also brought unintended consequences for the judicial system,” stated Senator Martinez.
As the sole representative of Suffolk County in the majority, Senator. Martinez remains steadfast in her commitment to advocating for her constituents' needs and advancing the interests of Long Island. For the first time, foundation aid owed to school districts in Suffolk County and Long Island is now fully funded, ensuring our children have access to the resources they need to thrive. Senator Martinez has also been a leading voice in the push for the Healthy Meals for All Students program, which will commence in the 2023-24 school year, providing free and nutritious meals to students all across Long Island.
Senator Martinez is proud to have championed the Suffolk County Water Quality Restoration Act, which will address the lack of wastewater infrastructure in Suffolk County and protect clean water for all Long Islanders. The Act will provide critically needed infrastructure investments that will lift up local businesses, community services, and residents while protecting our waterways from pollution. “My colleagues and I have heard from advocates, community organizations, businesses and residents. We believe the Suffolk County Water Quality Restoration Act will give us the chance to reverse the impacts of nitrogen loading and implement the Suffolk County Clean Water Plan. Given the importance of this issue for our communities, the voters must be provided with the opportunity to create a local funding match, which can be leveraged to secure additional state and federal investment ensuring Long Islanders get their fair share.” stated Senator Martinez.
In conclusion, the newly approved state budget is a significant victory for the people of Suffolk County and Long Island, addressing the most pressing needs of New Yorkers and making our state a safer, more affordable, and better place to live for everyone. From protecting local zoning control and opposing the MTA payroll tax to investing in school funding, implementing Healthy Meals for All Students, and addressing critical wastewater infrastructure needs, this budget reflects the tireless efforts of Senator Monica R. Martinez and her colleagues in the majority to ensure that the needs of their constituents are met. With this budget, we are taking meaningful steps towards building a stronger and more equitable New York for all.