STATE SENATE BUDGET PLAN FOCUSES ON TAXPAYERS, EDUCATION, AND HEALTHCARE
The State budget plan put forward by the State Senate would address several issues of importance to families and all property taxpayers in the Hudson Valley and Catskills.
The Senate budget plan:
* Increases proposed School Aid by $415 million above the level proposed by Governor Cuomo;
* Increases community college base aid by $150 per student, as well as exempts community colleges from the MTA payroll tax;
* Increases CHIPS funding for improvements to local roads and bridges by $100 million statewide;
* Increases by nearly $1 million State aid payable to Sullivan County, the Town of Thompson, and the Village of Monticello in VLT aid. The Town of Thompson would receive an increase of $498,436, the Village of Monticello an increase of $228,006, and Sullivan County an increase of $241,814. “It is my hope that the Assembly will join with the Senate in providing this aid as I know all three of these local governments could use additional assistance,” Senator Bonacic said.
The Senate plan also restores funding for necessary human services including:
* Women’s health programs including funding for: rape crisis centers, WIC, maternity/early childhood foundation, the prenatal and postpartum home visitation program, and programs to help domestic violence victims;
* Restores $120 million in cuts to the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), helping agencies that serve the developmentally disabled and families who need assistance for their loved ones with such disabilities.
* The Senate would also direct $8.5 million to assist with spinal cord research based on legislation sponsored by Senator Bonacic. When a surcharge was added to traffic tickets several years ago, the revenue was dedicated to spinal cord research. However, in recent years that funding has gone into the State’s “general fund”. Senator Bonacic has proposed legislation to re-direct the revenue into spinal cord research. The Senate adopted the Bonacic plan in its State Budget proposal.
The Senate and Assembly, along with the Governor, plan on spending the remainder of the week negotiating their differences in the various budget proposals. The Governor, Senate, and Assembly each agree that they plan on adopting a final budget next week.
“It is my goal and expectation that the State will adopt an early budget that meets the needs of families across our State,” Senator Bonacic said.