NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
February 28, 2005


Statement on Governor’s Visit to Washington D.C.

With New Yorkers facing Governor George Pataki’s health-care cuts and taxes of more than $2.5 billion, it is my sincere hope that while he is in Washington D.C. today, he will make it a point to appeal for New York State’s fair share of Medicaid reimbursement and homeland security funds. Securing the funds we deserve from Washington will go a long way toward achieving the fair and timely budget New Yorkers want and deserve.

For too long, New York State has been shortchanged by the federal government and the taxpayers in this state are paying the price for Governor Pataki’s unwillingness to stand up and fight for funds that are so desperately needed here at home.

New York State currently has the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rate in the nation, receiving aid for just half the program’s costs. If New York’s reimbursement rate was increased by just one percent, we would have another $450 million - nearly the amount county executives say is needed to cover annual Medicaid cost hikes.

Instead of slashing health care programs and cutting needed services, Governor Pataki should be lobbying the Bush administration for an equitable reimbursement rate.

And while he is there, he should also make a pitch for a fairer distribution of federal homeland security funds, so we can ensure necessary security throughout the state. As I have said in the past, despite the consensus of experts that New York State is one of the nation’s likeliest terrorist targets, we continue to get shortchanged.

The current federal allocation scheme of homeland security funds perpetuates a scenario in which, per capita, Wyoming receives seven times more funding than New York State. While there have been monetary enhancements to the federal Urban Area Security Initiative, benefiting only New York City and Buffalo, there has been an overall decrease in other homeland security funding streams. The Assembly Majority urges the governor to fight for a more equitable formula for the distribution of all homeland security funds.