Silver: Budget Includes More Than $1 Billion for New York City
Speaker, Assembly Majority Secure Strong Support for Schools,Lower Manhattan Revitalization, Economic Development Programs
The 2002-2003 New York State budget being approved by legislators today in Albany includes $600 million for city schools as well as millions for Lower Manhattan revitalization and economic-development efforts in New York City, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said today.
"Throughout budget negotiations, the Assembly Majority remained committed to addressing the needs of all New Yorkers - including the people of New York City - despite the fact that the state faces huge financial challenges, and the result is well over $1 billion in support for the city," Silver said.
"This budget meets the expectations of city leaders regarding support for schools, continues the revitalization of Lower Manhattan by strengthening neighborhoods and providing millions of dollars in support for small businesses and ensures that the city can effectively participate in statewide economic-development initiatives."
Silver noted that the Assembly is expected to act Monday on tax legislation sought by the city to generate additional revenues, which will bring the total revenue increase for the city to more than $1 billion.
As part of budget negotiations, millions of dollars in relief was secured for Lower Manhattan residents who were living in the area on 9/11 and have remained there and significant changes were incorporated in the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) assistance plan for individuals. These changes, which had been called for by Silver, include larger cash grants to more families in more neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan and alters grant rules to facilitate an end to a rent strike by tenants and owners in Battery Park City.
The 2002-2003 budget secures through state actions and the LMDC an aggressive marketing plan to help support and revitalize small businesses in Lower Manhattan. The plan, valued at more than $15 million, includes three three-day sales-tax-free periods - one each in June, July and August - during which state sales tax will not be charged on retail purchases and restaurant meals under $500.
A $4.7 million joint marketing initiative for downtown cultural institutions is also included in the budget.
"We expect that the city will join the sales-tax-free efforts by lifting city sales taxes during the same periods and will participate with us in these marketing efforts," Silver said. "Our ultimate goal is to stabilize the residential and small business communities, while at the same time focusing on rebuilding, infrastructure redevelopment and creating an appropriate memorial to the victims of 9/11."
Silver noted that the Legislature also secured in the budget provisions for oversight, accountability and public input on federal funds being spent for Lower Manhattan rebuilding and revitalization.
Silver and the Assembly Majority secured a substantial increase of $163 million in permanent school aid for New York City and have advanced a range of options to bring an additional $37 million in support for city schools. The budget also includes more than $400 million in payment of prior year claims to New York City schools.
"The bottom line on city schools is that we have met the needs expressed by the city, coming up with more that $600 million in additional support for New York City schoolchildren and teachers," Silver said.
The final 2002-2003 spending plan includes New York City in a statewide program to provide millions of dollars in financing for biotechnology, high technology, education, transportation, tourism, cultural and other projects aimed at stimulating job creation and retention and fostering economic development and public-private partnerships.
-30-Click here for: An Economic News Update from the Assembly regarding the New York City economy
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