2006-07 Executive Budget Contains Educational Benefits, Property Tax Relief, Medicaid Integrity and Tax Cuts to Encourage Small Business Expansion and Population Retention

A statement from Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick
January 18, 2006

Gov. George Pataki’s 2006-07 executive budget contains many program proposals that would provide incentives for the future growth and stability of New York through fiscal responsibility and tax cuts.

One such proposal would boost educational benefits to students and school districts. Investing in our future means investing in our children, and the commitment to our children starts with a series of educational initiatives to strengthen math and science education programs. In preparing our children for the future, we are preparing them for an ever-changing work force.

Programs such as:

  • “Partnership for Prosperity” would strengthen science and technology education through a public and private partnership.
  • “Engineers of the Future” would cultivate an interest and proficiency in engineering.
  • Summer institutes for math and science provide opportunities for middle school students to learn during their summer vacations and allow teachers to refresh and renew their competencies.
  • “Teachers of Tomorrow” would provide recruitment incentives such as tuition reimbursement for potential new teachers.

In addition to educational benefits, homeowners would receive property tax relief through increased eligibility benefits to the School Tax Relief (STAR) program.

The new initiatives would provide: performance funding; additional flex aid to school districts that demonstrate significant improvement on statewide achievement tests; cost efficiencies; more school districts that are eligible for STAR Plus; adoption of a school spending cap; eligibility for an additional 2 percent flex aid bonus; and state and local partnerships between school districts and state agencies to develop ways to reduce costs.

The “Medicaid Integrity Plan” would improve the state’s ability to combat fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicaid program by establishing an independent Medicaid inspector general’s office to dedicate resources for specific fraud-fighting tools.

Finally, the governor proposed economic incentives for small businesses to expand and grow here in New York by expanding the Empire Zones and Linked Deposit programs, allowing the immediate expensing of the state’s depreciable assets, and expanding economic development programs to attract businesses, create jobs and retain a viable portion of our population.