Assembly Advances State Budget That Protects Working Families
Addresses largest budget gap in state history through responsible cuts, and asking wealthy to do more
March 30, 2009
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush) announced the Assembly will begin passage of the 2009-2010 state budget on March 31. Budget bills have been introduced and are currently aging on legislators’ desks. Noting the extraordinary economic challenges facing the nation, Ms. Jacobs said the $132 billion spending plan closes a projected $17.65 billion gap by implementing $5.1 billion in necessary spending cuts, raising $5.2 billion in revenue, utilizing $1.1 billion in non-recurring revenues and maximizing $6.2 billion in federal stimulus dollars. Assistant Speaker Jacobs added that the budget prevents the deepest cuts to schools, reverses some damaging cuts in health care, and begins implementation of permanent health care spending reforms that will lead to $1.6 billion in savings this year and billions more in future years. “This budget advances three long-held Assembly priorities: reform of the Rockefeller drug laws to emphasize treatment and prevention over incarceration, an expansion of New York’s nickel deposit law to bottled water – a move that will clean up New York’s environment and raise an additional $115 million – and an increase in the public assistance grant for the first time in nearly two decades,” Jacobs said. “This budget balances the need to take drastic action to rescue the state’s finances. It cuts over $5 billion, while preventing the deepest cuts to our schools and health care system and protecting our most vulnerable residents – our kids, seniors and the sick.” Jacobs said the budget is a sound, fiscally prudent plan that reflects the economic realities of our state. The introduction of these bills follows a long series of public hearings and public testimony. Restoring $1.1 billion to School Districts The 2009-2010 state budget continues the Assembly’s commitment to providing a quality education for New York State’s children despite tough economic times. The budget stabilizes aid to schools and reduces the burden on taxpayers by restoring $1.1 billion to school districts. “The budget could have been a disaster for schools, students and taxpayers,” said Jacobs. “Even during the worst economic downturn in decades, we maintained our strong commitment to educating our children and providing them with the tools and skills they will need to compete successfully for the jobs of the 21st century.” The budget lifts the freeze on reimbursable expense-based aids, including transportation, building aid and BOCES – ensuring school districts have access to the funds they need. Overall, schools will benefit by an estimated increase of $403 million over the 2008-2009 school year. Foundation aid for the 2009-2010 school year will remain at current levels. The Assembly continues its historic commitment to foundation aid by phasing in full funding over three years, a year earlier than the executive’s proposal, starting in 2011-2012. The budget also uses federal funds to help local school districts over the next two years, including:
- $906 million in Title 1 funds, which is financial assistance for schools with high percentages of disadvantaged children, to help ensure all children meet the state’s academic standards; and
- $794 million under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), ensuring that mandatory early intervention, special education and related services are provided to children with disabilities.
- the number of classrooms and teachers that existed prior to receiving CFE funds and the number of new classrooms and new teachers created with funds;
- actual average class sizes for each year funding was received; and
- those that received CFE funds and did not reach class-size reduction goals and the actions to be taken in those schools to reduce class sizes.
- $31 million to reject the reduction of TAP awards relative to the amount of credits taken;
- $6.5 million to reject arbitrary academic eligibility standards;
- $5.7 million to provide award enhancements for families with multiple children in college;
- $3.7 million restoration for awards to students in default of federal student loans not guaranteed by the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC); and
- $3 million to provide awards to graduate students.
- $17.3 million for Operation IMPACT, which coordinates state, federal and local law enforcement in cities across New York;
- $21 million in federal assistance to support law enforcement, drug courts, drug treatment programs and alternatives to incarceration initiatives (ATI) in conjunction with enactment of Rockefeller Drug Law reform;
- $79 million for the Crime Victims Board, including funds to pay for victim compensation counseling and forensic rape examinations; and
- consolidation of the capacity Department of Correctional Services facilities, as well as the closing of three prisons at a savings of $22 million for taxpayers.