Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,C,I,WF-East Northport) announced today that as a result of a partnership with the public and fellow Minority state lawmakers in the Assembly and the Senate, they were able to beat back Governor Spitzer’s cuts in education aid, property tax relief and health care.
“From the moment the governor released his executive budget, it was clear that Long Island was getting shortchanged on education aid and property tax relief. Thankfully, after many long nights we have agreed on a much improved budget that is a significant step forward in providing relief from soaring property taxes and increased education aid for school districts on Long Island,” said Raia.
Raia noted that under the final budget, Long Island families would receive STAR Rebate checks similar to those homeowners received last fall. Under the plan, the income threshold for the maximum amount of benefits is increased from the proposed $80,000 in Governor Spitzer’s executive budget to $120,000 in the final budget accord. The checks will be approximately twice the amount homeowners received last year.
Additionally, after public outcry and persistence from Raia, aid to many school districts on Long Island will increase dramatically from what Governor Spitzer proposed in his executive budget.
While some victories for Long Island middle-class families were contained in the state budget, Raia noted that much more work remains to ensure long-term and meaningful relief from skyrocketing property taxes. Furthermore, Raia noted that in the final hours, the state budget process devolved into the dysfunction of old.
“While a final and workable state budget was enacted the final hours shed light on the fact that the state budget process is far from perfect,” Raia said. “In the coming weeks, we must refocus our collective efforts on enacting additional reforms to ensure that the next state budget process lives up to the promises of accountability and transparency set forth months ago.”