Albany, New York – Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel announced that the New York State Legislature has passed an early state budget that closes a $3.5 billion deficit. The 2012-2013 final state budget restores critical funding to vital services and invests in job-creation and infrastructure programs.
“Working together with the Senate and Governor, my Assembly colleagues and I successfully fought to restore much needed funding for education, health care and other vital services,” said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel.
“While I am pleased by these aid restorations and the investments that this budget makes in infrastructure and economic development programs, I am disappointed that microstamping and a Health Impact Assessment on gas exploration and production was not included in the final state budget,” said Schimel, the Assembly sponsor of microstamping legislation and an outspoken leader against hydrofracking.
Key Highlights of the Final State Budget
Investing in Education: The 2012-2013 final state budget increases school aid by $805 million, a 4 percent increase over last year. In addition, $125 million will be available to schools through competitive grants. The budget rejects the executive budget’s proposal to shift costs for the Preschool Special Education program onto local school districts. With respect to education, the state budget also restores funding for teacher resource and training centers, restores the CAP reimbursement to parochial schools, and increases aid to public libraries.
Preserving Higher Education Funding: Recognizing the critical role that community colleges play in job training, the Assembly Majority increased state support to community colleges. Additionally, the state budget provides funding to support SUNY hospitals and the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP).
EPIC Restorations: The state budget restores $30.6 million to the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program-helping to reinstate co-payment assistance for approximately 300,000 EPIC enrollees. Currently, seniors enrolled in the EPIC program are forced to pay 25 percent of the cost of each prescription drug. With the co-payment assistance restored, enrollees will return to paying no more than a $20 co-payment for each prescription.
Increased Health Care Spending: The Assembly successfully fought to secure a 4 percent increase in health care spending. In addition, the final budget also includes funding for vital services such as the Adelphi Breast Cancer Network, neighborhood NORC programs, School Based Health Centers and family planning services. The plan also includes a provision for the state to take over the local share of the costs of Medicaid growth, to be phased in over three years, saving local governments $1.2 billion over the next five years.
Helping Businesses Create & Retain Jobs: The final state budget provides funding for various economic development projects that will help promote business growth and lead to job creation and revitalized communities throughout the state. The budget also includes funding for capital projects that will help rebuild our state’s crumbling infrastructure and put people back to work.