Ramos: Responsible Assembly Budget Cuts Spending While Protecting Suffolk’s Most Vulnerable Residents

March 22, 2011

Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Central Islip) announced the Assembly passed its budget that accepts over 95 percent of the governor’s proposed budget reductions, while restoring vital funding for programs that serve children and the elderly.

“The Assembly has crafted a fiscally responsible budget that also protects our values and our priorities,” Ramos said. “These tough economic times require tough choices to be made. I feel the Assembly budget brings state spending under control while preserving our long-term commitment to education and ensuring access to affordable health care for families and seniors.”

Recognizing the importance of preserving quality health care for Suffolk-area families, the Assembly rejects the executive’s plan to increase and establish new co-pays for people who rely on Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus programs.

The Assembly restores $34 million of the executive’s proposed cuts to Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC), helping preserve a program thousands of seniors living on a fixed income rely on to help pay for their prescription drugs. According to state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, the executive plan would end up costing seniors about $100 more a month in prescription costs. Further, the Assembly budget plan maintains the ‘wrap-around’ program for prescription drugs not covered by Medicaid, as well as state payment assistance for Part D premiums and deductibles, to help ensure that seniors can afford their needed medications.

In addition, the Assembly restores nearly $467 million in executive budget cuts for state aid to education. The Assembly maintains funding for Universal Pre-Kindergarten, restores aid for Summer School Special Education programs and rejects shifting millions onto local school districts and taxpayers for special education needs of blind and deaf children.

“Our proposed budget is both fiscally and socially responsible by closing our $10 billion deficit without gutting vital healthcare programs or slashing education aid, which only further burdens local property taxpayers,” Ramos concluded.