Russell: Assembly Outlines Budget Proposal

March 14, 2011

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell (D-Theresa) announced that the Assembly has put forth its budget proposal that, while adopting most of Governor Cuomo’s budget cuts, restores critical funding to areas such as education, health care, seniors’ programs and economic development.

“Working off the governor’s budget, we released a plan that keeps intact many of his proposals,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “However, unlike the governor’s budget, our plan includes a millionaire’s tax compromise that asks those earning $1 million or more to continue paying their current tax rates so we can restore critical funds to schools.”

Assemblywoman Russell said highlights of the Assembly’s budget proposal include:

  • Establishing additional criteria by which state correctional facilities can be closed;
  • Restoring $200 million in aid to schools and continuing to fund the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program;
  • Rejecting BOCES non-instructional aid cuts;
  • Rejecting cost shifts to local school districts that would force them to pick up the tab on special education programs for the blind and deaf, and pay for room and board costs for students placed in in-state residential facilities;
  • Restoring 50% of the governor’s cuts to SUNY Upstate Medical University;
  • Restoring 50% of the governor’s cuts to community colleges;
  • Holding the line on SUNY tuition;
  • Restoring funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program. In Jefferson County alone, the program has employed 374 young people since 2008;
  • Protecting seniors by rejecting the governor’s plan to force all EPIC participants onto a Medicare Part D plan;
  • Continuing ‘wraparound’ coverage for prescription drugs not covered by Medicare;
  • Rejecting cuts to the Early Intervention Program;
  • Maintaining support for the Center for Advanced Materials Processing at Clarkson University; and
  • Restoring funding to agricultural programs such as FarmNet, Integrated Pest Management, The Farm Viability Institute and The Wine and Grape Foundation.

“This budget is about making tough choices,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “Our plan closes the state’s $10 billion deficit and makes deep cuts in every area of state spending. And even though we were able to soften the blow to areas such as education and health care, lots of folks in the North Country are going to feel the budget crunch.”