Ramos: Budget Provides for Suffolk County Children, Taxpayers and Hospitals

April 3, 2007
Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Central Islip) announced that the final state budget passed by the Legislature will provide record funding for education, help to ease the tax burden, and provide much-needed support for hospitals and nursing homes. “We’ve passed a budget that provides for our children, for taxpayers, and for our hospitals and nursing homes,” said Ramos.

Included in the budget are historic funding levels for New York State’s schools, adding $1.7 billion statewide this year alone. Funding for local schools include increases of 5.36% for Bay Shore, 9.76% for Islip, 12.64% for Brentwood, and 8.52% for Central Islip.

“I came to Albany to fight for Suffolk County’s fair share of state funding. I am happy to report that in this budget, I was able to secure funding for schools in my district above and beyond the Governor’s historic funding levels for education,” said Ramos. “These increases mean that our schools will be able to continue, and improve on their traditions of academic excellence for our children.”

Included in the budget is the governor’s “Contract for Excellence” between the state and school districts, to use proven strategies to improve the standards and success of our schools. “Our state, our country, and the entire world are all changing, presenting new challenges all the time. Education is the key to meeting these challenges head-on, and succeeding,” said Ramos.

According to Ramos, the state budget also includes a multi-year funding structure to help local governments with their long-term planning. State funding for the Town of Islip is $1,895,755 for the year, for use on essential services and to keep property taxes down. “Perhaps more than anywhere else, Suffolk County taxpayers know the pressure of property taxes,” said Ramos. “This additional state funding for the Town of Islip will help to keep local property taxes down.”

The enacted budget will also improve overall health care, Ramos said, by expanding access to health care, protecting the most vulnerable patients, and reforming a system that needs adjustment in a measured, sensible way. “Eligibility for Child Health Plus will be expanded, amounting to health care coverage for 400,000 currently uninsured children, and we’ve simplified the enrollment process for important programs like Family Health Plus and Medicaid. Our focus is on healthy families, as it should be,” said Ramos.

In addition, the budget will continue a significant portion of hospital and nursing home ‘trend factor,’ an important inflation adjustment that helps hospitals and nursing homes cover rising medical costs, and eliminate the ‘sick tax,’ a burdensome 0.35% tax on hospital gross receipts. Reforms in the budget will shift Medicaid dollars to hospitals and nursing homes with a higher proportion of Medicaid patients – ensuring help goes to those patients who need it most.

Assemblyman Ramos expressed satisfaction with the final enacted state budget. “We are investing in our children’s future, and in the health of every New Yorker. That alone means this is a successful budget.”