Assembly Budget Plan Focuses on Quality Education and Health Care, More Jobs, and Lower Taxes
The Assembly has approved an $85.97 billion
budget resolution that will help meet the
needs of New Yorks working families. The Assemblys
2001-2002 plan restores the Governors proposed cuts
to education, keeps college tuition affordable,
ensures families get quality medical care, creates
good-paying jobs and provides targeted,
responsible tax cuts.
Despite budget surpluses for six consecutive years, serious problems persist in our state from overcrowded schools and staff shortages in our nursing homes, to a lagging upstate economy. Its time for New York to invest its resources to improve the lives of working families, and rebuild our communities. The Assembly Majority urges the Senate to quickly meet with us in joint conference committees so we can agree on a timely budget thats fair to all New Yorkers.
Giving schools the resources they need to ensure academic excellence
Our plan will help schools invest in education programs with proven results, such as small classes, early education programs, and up-to-date computer technology. Education experts agree that reaching kids earlier is the best way to ensure theyll reach their full potential later on, and much of our budget emphasizes early childhood education.
The Governor originally agreed to a four-year phase-in of the LADDER program, but has repeatedly tried to back out of this commitment proposing a $660 million cut to LADDER this year. Unlike the Governors budget, the Assemblys budget proposal fully supports LADDER.
Keeping a quality college education affordable
New York needs a well-educated work force to compete in a high-tech economy. Thats why the Assembly budget proposal also increases funding for higher education, by $107 million more than last year a $136 million increase over the Governors budget. In all, the Assemblys budget would double TAP awards for graduate students to $1,100, increase awards for families with more than one child in college, and create a supplemental TAP program to help students who need an additional semester to graduate. It also helps increase full-time faculty at public colleges and universities while boosting child care funding so more parents can get their education.
For several Higher Education budget items, the Assembly will create for the first time a five year budget plan that will enable colleges and students to formulate their plans with more certainty.
Restoring the Governors cuts to nursing homes and home health care services
At a time when New Yorks nursing homes are facing severe staffing shortages, the Governor has slashed funds for Medicaid.
The Assembly proposal restores all of the Governors Medicaid cuts. The Governors cuts would result in a total $327 million cut when federal, state and local funds are included. In addition, we add $100 million to address quality-of-care and staffing issues so that nursing homes have the resources to provide the best care to the most vulnerable members of society.
The Assembly proposal also allocates $50 million to help hospitals recruit and train experienced health care workers; provides $5 million to address home health care work force issues; and expands eligibility of working families for childrens health insurance, family planning services and prenatal care.
Jobs Agenda 2001 will strengthen struggling regional economies
The Governors one-size-fits-all approach to economic development has failed to capitalize on the longest economic expansion in history. Since 1995, state employment has grown at only about two-thirds the national rate. If New York had kept pace with the nation since 1995, there would be approximately 384,200 more jobs for working families today.
The Assembly recognizes that New York needs a smarter economic development strategy that takes into account our diverse regional economies. A key component of our budget is the $470 million Jobs Agenda 2001 proposal, an aggressive 7-point plan that will draw on our regional strengths and promote a high-tech economy.
The Jobs Agenda 2001 would:
Tax cuts will save families and businesses $519 million
For too long, high taxes have been a large burden on our businesses and hard-working New Yorkers. Our tax cut plan will help create jobs and keep more money in the pockets of working families where it belongs.
The state surplus enables the state to provide funding for essential programs and still give New Yorks working families and businesses tax relief. The Assembly budget resolution includes $519 million in new tax cuts over five years.
The Assembly-passed plan creates a new Child Tax Credit, which will provide families earning under $25,000 with a state tax credit worth up to $100 per child. Families earning between $25,000 and $50,000 would be eligible for a percentage of the $100 per child credit.
Among the other Assembly tax cuts are measures that would:
Preparing libraries for changing needs of the Information Age
The Assembly Majority recognizes the need to increase funding for New Yorks vast network of public libraries as they work to ensure that all New York residents have access to up-to-date information resources.
Thats why the Assemblys budget resolution also includes a $27.7 million increase in funding to help libraries across New York State improve facilities and update technology.
Libraries play a crucial role in the educational, economic and social development of our communities, and they must be prepared for the advances of the 21st Century. Changes in the way we gather and process information present libraries with a unique opportunity to offer innovative programs and services and the challenge of keeping pace with the rapid growth of the Internet and computer technology.
To help libraries develop activities and outreach for new parents and their infants, the Assembly budget plan also proposes adding $1 million to the budget to fund Baby Steps an innovative new library program designed to encourage libraries to provide programs for parents to interact with and read to their newborns and toddlers.
During the first three years of a childs life when 75% to 80% of the brain develops a childs parents or caregivers have the chance to provide an infant with a range of experiences that will actually result in essential brain cell connections. Interacting with young children both physically and intellectually holding, playing with and reading to them on a regular basis provides them with the experiences and the stimulation they need to develop learning and social skills that will serve them throughout their lives.
To help new parents take advantage of this "window of opportunity" for learning, many libraries have begun to create programs, on site and at other locations, which give parents the opportunity to spend quality time with their young children while exploring the many resources our public libraries have to offer. These programs, open to the public and free of charge, help parents to expand new learning environments for their children and create a bond of shared interests and activities which will enrich the lives of both parents and their children.
New Yorks local governments count on revenue sharing to carry out vital services like police and fire protection, garbage pick-up, and even the street lamps that light our neighborhoods. Providing municipalities with unrestricted aid will help ensure that cities, towns and villages can preserve our safety and quality of life without further burdening property taxpayers.
With this budget, the Assembly has once again demonstrated its commitment to solving the problems faced every day by New Yorks working families and businesses. We will continue to fight for the best education possible for our children, better jobs for our families, and the best medical care for our loved ones.
The Assembly Majority urges the Governor and Senate to join us in doing whats right for New Yorks working families. The Assembly is ready to convene joint conference committees immediately so we can get the job done.
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