Assemblyman Jeffrion L. Aubry Assemblyman
Jeffrion L.

Reports to the people
35th A.D. • Queens County
Chair, Assembly Standing Committee on Correction
Fall 2008

NYS Seal

A Message For You...

Dear Neighbor:

It is an honor to be your representative for the 35th Assembly District. I am reporting to you about the efforts made by the Legislature this term to deliver an on-time budget for the SFY 2008-2009. With the turnover of leadership during a crucial time in the budget process, Governor David A. Paterson did a phenomenal job in guiding us to a final state budget delivered on April 9, 2008.

It is a pleasure to be able to report to you that even with the constraints on this budget we were able to increase school aid by $1.75 billion over last year. Our children are the future of this nation and their education is extremely important to our success. We were able to provide a $533 million increase in Foundation Aid for New York City’s public schools.

Increasing NYS residents’ ability to obtain adequate health coverage was a special concern this fiscal year. We will restore $453 million in health care and provide $25 million for S-CHIP to ensure health coverage for each of New York’s 400,000 uninsured children. We also denied the increase in S-CHIP premiums. We fully restored the $170 million cut to nursing homes and $63 million to home care.

Most importantly, we understood the necessities of affordable housing for our constituents. This budget adds $200 million to fund affordable, supportive and workforce housing opportunities across the state.

The unforeseen circumstances of the resignation of Governor Eliot Spitzer brought a sense of bipartisan cooperation. We all wanted to pass a budget on time and to give the most back to the citizens of New York State. I thank you for your patience during this time and look forward to seeing all the benefits of this budget throughout the year.

Jeffrion L. Aubry
Member of the Assembly
35th A.D. Queens County

Session a Glance

New York State Budget SFY 2008-2009

The $121 billion budget approved by the Legislature is in balance this year, but faces a $5 billion deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year according to Governor David A. Paterson.

Highlights of the SFY 2008-2009 Adopted Budget

photo Assemblyman Aubry speaks to our newly elected Governor David A. Paterson in the Assembly Chamber at the end of Session.
  • $320,000 for the Consumer Protection Board to ensure the health and safety of those traveling through New York’s airports.

  • $205,000 to increase health and safety testing and public notification of hazardous products, especially lead-based toys.

  • $450 million in funding for the Universal Pre-K program which will allow 121,000 four-year-olds to participate in this early childhood program.

  • $18.3 million to prevent cuts to student awards and restore funding to TAP and no tuition increase for SUNY and CUNY.

  • $207 million capital assistance funding for CUNY Community Colleges and $390.1 million for SUNY Community Colleges.

  • An additional $3 million to support community-based alternatives to incarceration projects.


Record Aid Increases. Provides a $1.46 billion (7.5 percent) increase for school aid—the largest ever increase proposed by a Governor. This brings the cumulative, two-year school aid increase under Governor Paterson to $3.2 billion.

Foundation Formula. Retains the key elements of the Foundation Formula created last year, to distribute funding based on objective measures of student need and district wealth, while making adjustments to further target aid to high-needs districts.

Contracts for Excellence. Requires that Contracts for Excellence accountability measures apply to districts’ annual school aid expenditures for at least three years once they have qualified for program. Districts that make adequate yearly progress in school improvement would no longer be subject to these requirements.

Reforming High Tax Aid. Provides High Tax Aid and reforms the distribution formula to better target funding to individual municipalities where the property tax burden is greatest relative to income.

Universal Prekindergarten. Increases funding for Universal Prekindergarten to a total of $452 million, providing funding for over 120,000 four-year-old children to receive these services, an increase of over 27,000.

Healthy Schools. Increases reimbursement to schools for the expansion of access to healthy meals—particularly for low-income students—by $5 million ($9 million 2008-09 school year).

Public Libraries. Includes $14 million in additional funding for the New York State Public Library Construction Grant Program. Funds will be provided to upgrade facilities and buildings at public libraries statewide.

Assembly provides increased funding and capital in budget for SUNY and CUNY.

The SFY 2008-09 State Budget will contain $15.5 billion in operating assistance and capital to public universities across the state. The funding will support additional tuition assistance, research facilities, revitalization and essential programs to our university systems.

The budget restores funding for both SUNY and CUNY to continue our efforts to make certain schools are meeting the needs of our communities. Our commitment to restoring the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) will ensure continued access to higher education. By restoring initial cuts and strengthening support for programs, we’re helping to ensure New York’s college campuses are both accessible and affordable.

We are pleased to have brought this support to our New York public higher education systems. This effort is a critical step in keeping our schools a central part of economic development efforts throughout the state and strengthening our public higher education systems. This budget is a realistic plan that provides important funding to help faculty and administrators continue to provide our students and communities with educational excellence.

The lawmakers said this legislation will bring $38.4 million in operating assistance to SUNY and provides $19.6 million in aid to CUNY, which will totally restore the 2.5 percent cut in operating aid to both systems, as well as partial restorations to prior operating aid cuts. The budget will also include $390.1 million in additional assistance to SUNY Community Colleges and $207 million to CUNY Community Colleges.

The budget provides $1.6 billion for SUNY, and CUNY will receive over $1.1 billion for strategically significant capital projects at senior colleges. Nearly $1 billion will go to SUNY and CUNY for critical maintenance.

The final state budget will bring $450 million in capital to SUNY hospital-backed projects. In addition, nearly $5 million is earmarked for nursing education programs, including nearly $2 million in funding to SUNY nursing schools, nearly $2 million for CUNY schools, and nearly $1 million for nursing programs at private colleges and universities.

Highlights of the bill would provide:

  • $15.4 million in restoration to the TAP program, rejecting a $50 across the board cut to all TAP recipients;

  • No tuition increase for SUNY and CUNY in 2008-09;

  • $4.1 billion to SUNY and $1.8 billion to CUNY for capital projects as part of a new five-year plan.

The budget plan supports restoring opportunity programs such as Higher Educational Opportunity Program, Educational Opportunity Program, the Liberty Partnership Program, and College Discovery to funding levels enhanced by the Legislature in 2007-08. Additional restorations are provided for teacher opportunity and nursing programs at independent colleges to 2007-08 funding levels.

Assembly passes Education Spending Plan aimed at keeping the promise of quality education.

The SFY 2008-09 budget includes a historic level of funding to continue the Assembly’s strong commitment to educational excellence for the nearly three million school children throughout New York State.

The historic increase in education funding provides an additional $1.75 billion in general support for public school funding over the previous school year, with a total investment of $21.4 billion. This critical funding maintains the Assembly Majority’s long-standing commitment to providing a quality education for all of New York’s children. The budget provides for a $533 million increase in Foundation Aid for New York City.

Universal Pre-K is expanded to include an allocation of $450 million and increase of $96 million over 2007-08. This expands the number of 4-year-old children attending pre-K from 93,000 up to 121,000, bringing New York even closer to achieving Universal Pre-K.

The final budget adds $85 million for additional programs and restorations, including adult literacy education, independent living centers and libraries. The aid will also support programs that provide needed services to disabled adults.

Recognizing the critical services provided by BOCES programs, this budget returns BOCES aid to its current levels. The executive budget reduced BOCES aid but the Assembly restored it by a total of $78 million in the final state budget.

In an effort to ensure that no high-needs school district lacks adequate funding and that all school districts have the tools necessary to help students succeed, the budget raises the minimum increase for foundation aid for school districts from 2 percent to 3 percent and restores the enacted state sharing ratio calculation, for a net increase of $21.5 million.

The lawmakers noted that a number of proposals contained in the initial Executive budget would have had a negative impact on New York City schools. Similarly, the final budget rejects a proposal which would have lagged New York City building aid for 18 months. In order to ensure that New York City building aid estimates are more accurate and that aid on those estimates will be paid in a timely manner, the budget calls for additional claims to be paid by the following school year and rejects the proposal to offset New York City operating aid with increases in reimbursable aids.


Universal Access for Children. Fully funds the federal share of the expansion of Child Health Plus, which was blocked by the Bush Administration. This will ensure access to health care for all the 400,000 children in New York State who currently lack insurance. This represents an additional investment of $19 million, bringing total spending to $37 million in 2008-09. The expansion will be partially funded through an increase in family contribution levels for the program based upon income level.

Doctors Across New York. Provides a new tuition loan repayment program to encourage primary care and specialist physicians either to establish or to join practices and providers in rural and inner-city medically underserved areas.

Nursing Scholarships. An existing scholarship program to assist nurses in their pursuit of higher education will be expanded in the SUNY budget, and a new program will be established in the CUNY budget.

Ambulatory and Primary Care. Offers improved access to primary care and preventive medicine by redirecting $84 million through the updating of reimbursement methodologies for hospital inpatient care.

Public Health Investments. Provides $15 million for new investments in public health and aging programs, including anti-smoking, pregnancy and obesity prevention, services for the frail and elderly, and others.

Fighting Medicaid Fraud. Expands the State’s ability to combat waste, fraud and abuse through $5 million of additional funding for the Office of Medicaid Inspector General. This funding will be used to add 75 new staff, including 55 auditors and investigators, upgrades the Office’s data mining technology, and to expand its Card Swipe Program. These new investments are expected to increase fraud collections by $160 million compared to the levels initially projected in the 2007-08 Enacted Budget.

Overall Cost Containment. Reduces overall costs by $980 million, including decreases in pharmacy reimbursement, significant increases in Medicaid audit savings, modifications in acute and long-term care reimbursement methodologies, a partial elimination of inflationary increases for hospitals, nursing homes and home care providers, increased assessment on insurers, reductions in planned premium increases for managed care, managed long-term care and Family Health Plus, better managing high cost users and eliminating the inflationary increase for the Early Intervention Program. This year, Medicaid spending is projected to be $46.3 billion, an increase of 2.7 percent.

Preferred Drug List. Saves $18 million by expanding the State’s Preferred Drug List (PDL) to cover additional drugs, including anti-depressants. This will allow the Department of Health to control the inappropriate utilization of these drugs. This proposal would still maintain the provision that the prescribing physician’s decision prevails in all instances. Additional savings of $18 million will be achieved by expanding the Clinical Drug Review Program.

Nursing Home Reimbursement. Saves $85 million by not allocating nursing home rebasing funds from the prior year because a plan for expending them has not been approved by the Federal government. However, nursing homes will still receive $90 million in 2008-09.

State budget includes $54 million for Mitchell-Lama and other affordable housing programs.

The SFY 2008-09 budget includes $54 million dollars in funding for the Mitchell-Lama Rehabilitation and Preservation (RAP) and All Affordable housing programs.

There are 280 Mitchell-Lama housing projects statewide, and more than 120,000 apartment units, more than half of which are located within New York City.

RAP offers flexible, low-cost debt service financing to help the owners of Mitchell-Lama housing to make needed improvements to their properties or restructure their debt in return for committing to remain in the program and keep rents affordable.

All Affordable loans support the construction of housing in which every unit is affordable to low- and moderate-income tenants.

This year’s budget works to ensure the maintenance of these buildings and encourages participating property owners to stay in the program. The Mitchell-Lama program is essential in providing affordable units for thousands of families in New York City’s highly competitive housing market and across New York.

This budget helps participants make the necessary renovations, repairs and restorations of their buildings and extends the availability of affordable housing units for hardworking New Yorkers.

The RAP program helps Mitchell-Lama participants make needed repairs, keep their buildings up to code and become more energy efficient. Through the low-cost financing of this program, many affordable housing units throughout New York can modernize so they can continue to meet the needs of working families.

State Budget Increases New York’s Capital Investment in Affordable Housing: The SFY 2008-09 budget includes more than $300 million in funding for affordable, supportive and workforce housing opportunities across the New York State. Included in that amount is an increase of $200 million over the executive proposal to fund programs through the Division of Housing and Community Renewal and the Office for Temporary and Disability Assistance and includes $25 million to address the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

The Assembly Majority understands the challenges New York families face in finding reasonably priced housing in communities throughout the state. Among our priorities was the addition of more than $200 million to invest in initiatives that help residents find affordable housing, create housing opportunities for homeless New Yorkers and assist communities in their efforts to restore and revitalize existing structures.

Reinvigorating New York’s economy and ailing communities requires dedication to provide housing funds so that hard working residents can afford to live in the communities in which they work. This budget includes an historic increase in funding to provide greater affordable housing availability for New Yorkers.

This year’s budget includes significant capital funding for various programs including:

  • $60 million to the Low Income Housing Trust Fund, an increase of $31 million over the Executive proposal.

  • $54 million to the state Housing Finance Agency for its Mitchell-Lama Rehabilitation and Preservation and All Affordable Programs.

  • $45 million for the Affordable Housing Corporation, an increase of $20 million from the Executive proposal.

  • $36.5 million to the Homeless Housing Assistance program, an increase of $6.5 million from the Executive proposal.

  • $25 million for the Assembly’s Sub-Prime Foreclosure Prevention Services Program.

  • $15 million for the Greater Catskill Flood Remediation Program.

  • $10 million to the Homes for Working Families program.

  • $6 million for the Homeownership and Economic Stabilization for Long Island program.

  • $6 million for the Rural Areas Revitalization program.

  • $5 million for the Main Street Program

  • $5 million to the Infrastructure Development Demonstration program.

  • $4 million to the HOPE/Restore program.

  • $4 million to the Access to Homes program.

  • $3.5 million for the Urban Initiatives program.

The budget also contains millions more in funding increases to fund improvements in urban, suburban and rural communities.

Governor David A. Paterson announced that the 2008-09 Enacted Budget includes a $700 million Upstate Revitalization Fund that will promote economic growth and opportunity throughout Upstate New York.

“Especially in these difficult economic times, when families are feeling the effects of a likely recession, we must make the critical investments that will create jobs and expand opportunity for all New Yorkers,” said Governor Paterson. “The strategic plan for growth we are implementing today will help unlock Upstate’s great economic potential and enhance communities throughout our state.”

Though the overall dollar amount originally proposed for the Upstate Revitalization Fund was reduced due to fiscal pressures (from $1 billion to $700 million), the major strategic components were left intact. The fund, which will be institutionalized in statute so future capital plans continue to invest, in Upstate revitalization in a strategic fashion. These initiatives include:

Regional Blueprint Fund ($120 million): Reflecting the need to move away from a “one-size-fits-all” approach to Upstate economic development, the Enacted Budget creates a $120 million Regional Blueprint Fund, which will be used to take advantage of the unique assets in each part of New York. This fund will be administered by the Empire State Development Corporation and will build on Regional Blueprint sessions held last fall to identify projects that will enhance each specific Upstate area’s economic advantages.

City-by-City Investments ($180 million): In the Enacted Budget, $150 million will support the historic commitment announced last year to break gridlock on several critical economic development projects throughout Upstate cities. These include Midtown Plaza ($55 million) and the University of Rochester’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute ($50 million) in Rochester; the Connective Corridor ($20 million) in Syracuse; housing in the Fort Drum area ($10 million); and inner and outer harbor revitalization efforts ($15 million) in Buffalo. Additionally, another $30 million will be provided to fund new City-by-City projects, which will be awarded competitively.

Upstate Housing Investments ($100 million): Increasing the availability of affordable housing is a crucial means of attracting the talented employees growing businesses need. As such, an estimated $100 million will be dedicated to the development of affordable, supportive, and workforce housing projects throughout Upstate, as part of a $200 million statewide commitment.

Rebuilding State Parks ($70 million): To draw residents, tourists, and private investment, $70 million (as part of a $95 million statewide commitment) will be provided for Upstate projects that help transform our natural treasures, including State parks, campgrounds, fairgrounds, historic sites, and other facilities.

Agricultural Development Fund ($40 million): This funding will support the continued growth of the food and agricultural industry by encouraging investments that promote the development of alternative fuel products, access to markets, and improvements in farm and agricultural infrastructure.

Upstate Infrastructure Investments ($30 million): To continue efforts to maintain and upgrade local road systems in Upstate, the Enacted Budget provides nearly $30 million in additional Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) aid to municipalities.

Other Initiatives ($160 million): Additional funding will also be provided as part of the Upstate Revitalization Fund to finance:

  • $35 million for an Investment Opportunity Fund that supports Upstate projects, including up to $13 million for Magna Powertrain located in Syracuse. This $35 million is part of a new, larger $50 million statewide initiative aimed at growing the New York’s business community, as well as ensuring opportunities are provided to those businesses expanding operations and growing their workforce;

  • $45 million for infrastructure improvements at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County;

  • $20 million for community development activities;

  • $15 million to expand and improve our state’s arts and cultural assets;

  • $5 million to expand the Universal Broadband initiative;

  • $3 million for a business marketing program targeting Upstate;

  • $12 million to enhance existing state programs supporting the development of high technology; and

  • $25 million for other Empire State Development Corporation investment and job creation programs.

The Enacted Budget also supports additional funding for downtown capital projects. These initiatives include:

Downstate Housing Efforts ($100 million): As part of the $200 million statewide commitment for the development of affordable, supportive and workforce housing, an estimated $100 million will be dedicated to downstate areas.

New York City Waterfront Parks Funding ($30 million): A total of $30 million will be provided for waterfront improvements at Governor’s Island ($10 million) and Hudson River Park ($20 million).

Downstate Regional Projects ($35 million): The budget includes $35 million for regional projects downstate. It will fund research and development activities on Long Island, including $5 million for the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and $10 million for the SUNY Stony Brook Energy Research Center. Additionally, resources for infrastructure development in the Hudson Valley, including $10 million for waterfront improvement initiatives, $5 million for the development of the solar energy industry, and $5 million for the growth of the semiconductor industry will be made available.

Investing in Communities ($35 million): In the budget, $35 million will be provided to fund a new downstate revitalization program that will support investments in inner cities and distressed communities by encouraging smart growth efforts and business development in economically distressed areas.

Other Initiatives ($75 million):

  • $35 million for a Downstate Revitalization Fund;

  • $25 million for rebuilding downstate parks;

  • $15 million for an Investment Opportunity Fund efforts downstate;

  • $15 million for community development;

  • $15 million for arts and cultural grants;

  • $5 million for the Universal Broadband initiative.

The Legislature will allocate $700 million in economic development capital funding ($350 million for the Assembly, $350 million for the Senate) statewide. At least $300 million of this allocation will be dedicated to Upstate, of which $35 million will specifically be dedicated to the Upstate Revitalization Fund.

The State’s capital plan will be supported by the issuance of $1.5 billion in Personal Income Tax (PIT) bonds, $40 million in General Fund resources, and the use of $100 million in State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) excess Mortgage Insurance Fund reserves.

Assembly Increases Assistance for Economic Development Projects: The state budget agreement for the SFY 2008-09 will provide over $1 billion for economic development initiatives around the state. This includes $350 million for the New York State Capital Assistance Program (NYSCAP), an Assembly program to help develop a strong, job creating climate.

As part of the budget, NYSCAP will focus on supporting projects that have an economic and social impact on the state. The focal point of this program will be providing capital grants and loans to support development projects for the state, including state universities, infrastructure, health care facilities and homeland security.

Significant Legislation of 2008
Number Summary History Status
Creates a rebuttable presumption in favor of excluding evidence of an employee’s past criminal record in a negligent hiring case that complies with Article 23-A of the correction law. New Bill. Passed Both Houses.
Relates to unlawful solicitation of ground transportation at an airport; whereby provides penalties for violations thereof. Referred to Transportation Committee in 2007. Passed in Assembly
Makes a technical amendment relating to the probation detainer warrant pilot program. New Bill. Delivered to Governor 2/8/08. Governor signed Chapter 16 on 2/19/08
Exempts county jails from the requirement to deliver inmates with serious mental illness to a residential mental health treatment unit. New Bill. Delivered to Governor 1/25/08. Governor signed Chapter 2 on 1/28/08
Relates to the confinement conditions and treatment of convicted persons with serious mental illness; repealer. Vetoed on 8/16/06. Delivered to Governor 1/18/08. Governor signed Chapter 1 on 1/28/08
Allows for the discretionary discharge from parole for persons with a maximum sentence of life. New Bill. Delivered to Governor on 7/11/08. Governor signed Chapter 310 on 7/21/08.
Requires an employer to provide prospective employees with a copy of Article 23-A of the correction law when such employer received a consumer credit report containing criminal history information. Also requires employers to post Article 23-a of the correction law in the workplace. New Bill. Delivered to Governor 7/25/08. Governor signed Chapter 465 on 8/5/08.
Includes the State Regional Park Police within the definition of “law enforcement agency having jurisdiction” for the purposes of Megan’s Law when a sex offender expects to reside in a state park. Departmental Bill #8 Delivered to Governor on 7/11/08. Governor signed Chapter 303 on 7/21/08.
Allows for the electronic transmission of notification to local law enforcement of the release of an inmate convicted of a felony. Departmental Bill #37 Delivered to Governor on 7/11/08. Governor signed Chapter 302 on 7/21/08.
Creates a pilot project to help ensure that inmates can access Medicaid benefits upon release from incarceration. New Bill. Passed in Assembly.
Clarifies that a non-violent drug offenders presumptively released are eligible for a discharge from parole supervision. This bill is a cleanup of an oversight in the 2004 Rockefeller Drug Law reforms. New Bill. Delivered to Governor 7/25/08. Governor signed Chapter 486 on 8/5/08.
Enhances the State’s ability to respond swiftly when probationers violate the conditions of their probation sentence. Departmental Bill #226 Passed in Assembly.
Ensures prompt resentencing of persons in prison or under supervision who were to receive a specified period of post release supervision, but the sentencing judge failed to specify that term. Governor Program Bill #73 Delivered to Governor on 6/25/08. Governor signed Chapter 141 on 7/9/08.

District Office
98-09 Northern Blvd.
Corona, NY 11368
FAX: 718-457-3640
Assemblyman Jeffrion L. Aubry
My offices are here to serve you. If you have a question, problem or an idea, please do not hesitate to call or drop by and we will do our best to try to assist you.
Albany Office
Room 526, LOB
Albany, NY 12248
FAX: 518-455-4565