(Mt. Kisco, NY) Senator Pete Harckham joined the Senate Majority Conference in passing a Senate budget resolution that includes proposals to increase financial support for New York schools, provide tax relief for overburdened New York families by implementing a permanent property tax cap, expand funding and treatment options to help mitigate the statewide opioid addiction crisis, and provide additional funding to the state’s municipalities to help hold the line on local property taxes.
The budget resolution reflects a responsible financial plan that is within the available revenues as forecasted by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and remains within the 2% state spending cap. It would improve the quality of life for Hudson Valley residents with historic action on: funding to mitigate the economic damages of the closure of Indian Point; comprehensive congestion pricing used to upgrade MTA and MetroNorth services; mandating that tax revenue from proposed legalization of marijuana be directed towards educational outreach, addiction prevention services and public safety; increased school and foundation aid for New York’s students; and, other important issues.
“We have proposed a fiscally sound, balanced budget, under the 2% cap, that will provide New York’s families and their communities with the funding and services they need,” said Senator Pete Harckham, 40th Senate District. “After listening to the concerns of my Hudson Valley constituents and sharing them with the other members of the Senate Majority, I’m proud that our budget resolution will protect and increase their quality of life. Notably, this budget resolution increases support for New York's schools; it is our responsibility to ensure that every student in New York has access to a high quality education, no matter what his or her zip code is. It also implements a permanent tax cap to help overburdened taxpayers, restores proposed cuts to struggling municipalities and protects the workers and communities impacted by the Indian Point closing. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, I’m also pleased that this budget resolution expands funding and treatment options to help tackle the statewide opioid addiction crisis that has devastated so many families.”
Highlights of particular note to the 40th Senate District include:
The Senate’s one house budget resolution seeks to increase school aid by $1.62 billion (6%) over the Governor’s proposal, along with an increase in foundation aid of $1.2b, (6.8%). This will help ensure schools won’t need to drastically increase local school taxes to provide the quality education that our children deserve.
The Electric Generation Facility Cessation Mitigation Program was created to provide grant assistance to support local governments, impacted by the closure of an electric generation facility. The Senate’s proposal would increase the Executive's proposed funding from $10 million to $24 million, more than doubling the Executive Budget contribution.
Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Committee Funding
Funding is provided for a groundbreaking new program, which helps support qualified staffing of addiction services by providing $750,000 to develop and implement a loan forgiveness and scholarship program to recruit and retain staff into the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) prevention, treatment and recovery services field.
Increases the number of days of substance use disorder treatment from 14 days to 28 days before a concurrent review by insurance companies. This will help ensure that individuals attending inpatient treatment services stay long enough to rehabilitate without their insurer cutting off their care.
New language requires health insurance companies and inpatient facilities to coordinate post inpatient care treatment. This will make successful transition into outpatient, or home support services more easily attainable.
Consolidates multiple co-pays for outpatient or aftercare to one co-pay at cost of primary care visit, so that people suffering with addiction problems can afford the services that they need to get well.
The Senate modifies the Executive's recommendation of $90 million to provide an additional $10 million for the expansion of heroin and opiate support and services to combat the opioid crisis statewide.
Provides for essential funding increases for municipalities throughout the 40th Senate District, including the full restoration of State Aid to Municipalities (AIM) of $60 million to help keep local property taxes within the tax cap. The Executive proposal had sought to fund AIM through the County’s share of proceeds from the internet sales tax. The Senate’s proposal would leave the County’s funds unfettered and provide the funding stream from the State’s General Fund.
Supports improvements to our local roads and highways by ensuring an additional $150 million of the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) to $588 million. Additionally, the Senate seeks to fully restore funding of extreme weather recovery to $65 million. These funding streams will make roads safer and eliminate many of the potholes drivers are accustomed to running over following the winter months.
Provides $10 million in funding for early voting and other voting reforms. These funds ensure that local governments are not required to spend additional money to implement voting reforms to provide residents with the opportunity for early voting.
An extra $2 billion for clean water infrastructure to protect our drinking water supplies and facilitate economic development.
Fully restores $3.735 million for the Joseph Dwyer Peer to Peer program to help veterans with PTSD, plus an additional $1 million to expand the incredibly successful Dwyer Program.
Funding for Hudson Valley Items
Restores $2.5 million for state aid to Westchester County’s policing program, which the Executive budget proposal sought to eliminate. Funding for this program helps provide for the safety and security of our roadways.
Provides for a record level of funding of $1.5 million for New York Medical College's Center of Excellence program. The Center of Excellence, located in Valhalla, provides expertise in disaster medicine and medical countermeasures and works with partners in New York State to increase the capacity of first responders, hospitals, and health care systems to respond to disasters, acts of terrorism and public health emergencies.
Supports services to constituents through funding the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester and the United Way’s 211 program. Both are prime examples of a public/private partnership that provides linkage to vital services and saves taxpayer money.
Provide $40 million in funding for community outreach for Census 2020. This funding will ensure Hudson Valley residents, particularly in towns with many immigrants, will not be undercounted in the upcoming federal census.
To review the full Senate Majority one-house State Budget proposal, please visit: https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/resolutions/2019/r672
New York State Senate District 40 includes parts of Northern Westchester (Briarcliff Manor, Buchanan, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, Mount Pleasant, New Castle, North Salem, Peekskill, Pleasantville, Pound Ridge, Sleepy Hollow, Somers, Yorktown) Putnam (Brewster, Carmel, Patterson, Southeast) and Dutchess (Beekman, Pawling).