ALBANY, NY – With Lyme and tick-borne diseases (TBDs) continuing to plague thousands of New Yorkers each year, Senators Peter Harckham and Sue Serino have once again advanced bipartisan legislation that aims to bolster funding to more effectively combat the spread and better protect New Yorkers against tick-borne illness.
The bill (S6871A) would create a tax checkoff for Lyme and TBD education, research and prevention efforts, which would allow taxpayers to voluntarily contribute to a fund that would be dedicated to bolstering work in this field.
“We need to increase funding for research, education and prevention relating to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, and I thank my colleague Senator Serino for her resolute partnership on this issue. Providing taxpayers with an opportunity to join the fight against these diseases is a great initiative, and I am confident our legislation will once again be met with approval,” said Senator Harckham.
“With New Yorkers taking to the outdoors in record numbers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, never has it been more important to make substantive investments in research, education, and prevention initiatives to help stop the spread of Lyme and tick-borne diseases,” said Senator Serino. “This bill gives New Yorkers the opportunity to play an active role in this endeavor, and I thank Senator Harckham for taking on this issue, tackling ticks head-on and working across the aisle to make the fight against Lyme and TBDs a real priority. While this bill is a step in the right direction, we will not stop pushing to ensure that meaningful funding to combat the spread of Lyme and tick-borne diseases is included in this year’s final State Budget.”
New York is home to the second highest number of confirmed Lyme disease cases in the nation. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are nearly a half million new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year, which makes Lyme the third most common bacterial infectious disease in America. Due to inaccurate diagnostic testing, however, the actual number of cases remains elusive and is thought to be much higher. While cases of Lyme and TBDs used to be concentrated in and around the Hudson Valley and Long Island, in recent years the spread of Lyme and TBDs has become a significant statewide issue, with case numbers on the rise in nearly every region. Despite the prominence of vector-borne diseases in the state and numbers rising across the country, funding for Lyme and TBD research has lagged at both the federal and state levels.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously and is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblymember Didi Barrett.