Blankenbush Says $164 Million In Extra Revenue Should Go To Rural School Aid, Not Political Pork
Assemblyman says money could boost struggling North Country Schools and give relief to property taxpayers
March 22, 2012
In response to talk of newfound revenues and a potential surplus in state tax collections, Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C-Black River) is calling for any extra state revenues to be dedicated to restoring school aid to upstate rural, low-wealth school districts. Blankenbush said the possible revenue – recently announced by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli – must not be used for political pork-barrel spending, as previously suggested by the Assembly Majority. Blankenbush said he is dismayed that the Assembly Majority would consider using these much-needed funds for political gain and pet projects. “If DiNapoli’s projections of extra revenue are, in fact, a reality, these funds should be immediately distributed to rural, low-wealth school districts to benefit our students, ensure the viability of our schools and give further relief to property taxpayers, especially in the North Country,” said Blankenbush. “It’s bad enough that North Country kids took the biggest cuts in school aid in the state, but the mere suggestion of the Majority taking these funds for downstate political pet projects is insulting. We must do the right thing and return these funds to New York’s students and taxpayers.” Assemblyman Blankenbush explained that these additional funds have been forecasted but not guaranteed. He said the legislature must be cautious about adding new spending to the state budget, noting that while there has been some improvement in the overall health of New York’s economy, there still is much more work to be done. Blankenbush has pledged to vote against any pork-barrel spending in the budget.