Our state faces a financial crisis of unprecedented difficulty. The national economy has slipped into a recession and this has had a tremendous impact on our state’s fiscal stability. The state faced a $17 billion budget deficit during this fiscal year.
In spite of the dramatic slowdown in state revenue we have continued to invest in our state’s future by restoring funding to education and health care. We were able to eliminate the proposed nuisance taxes through funding provided by the Federal Government. The American Recovery Act provided billions of dollars in aid that went to restoring education and health care cuts and reducing the proposed fun taxes and fees.
We were also able to restore a level of progressivity to our state’s tax code by implementing a temporary income tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers.
Although I am confident in the budget we passed this year, I am aware that there is still much work to be done. I pledge to you that I will continue to do all that I can to bring the necessary resources to continue the improvement of our community.
As always, if there is any way that I can be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me. My office is here to serve you.
With Love and Hope,
Carl E. Heastie
Member of Assembly
State Budget Restores $1.3 Billion to Health Care
Maintains affordable health care for working families
Assemblyman Heastie announced the final state budget reverses some deep cuts in health care, restoring approximately $1.3 billion to protect the most vulnerable patients and ensure working families have access to quality health care. In addition, the 2009-10 budget begins permanent health care reimbursement reforms and investments that will lead to $1.6 billion in savings this year and billions more in future years. “We’ve had to make tough decisions – but the health of New Yorkers can’t be compromised,” said Assemblyman Heastie. “We’ve worked hard to protect our health care facilities and programs in this budget so working families will continue to have access to quality health care.”
Helping hospitals and nursing homes
The Assembly health budget restores millions of dollars to New York’s health care facilities by rejecting $361.6 million in executive cuts to hospitals and $195.6 million to nursing homes. The enacted budget provides significant restorations for academic medical centers and primary care hospitals as well as valuable safety net providers.
The Assembly also supported the important investments in primary care and health care reforms advanced by Governor Paterson that will mean better health for New Yorkers and a stronger health care system. The Assembly made substantial changes to the hospital reimbursement system proposed by the executive, and made significant restorations for academic medical centers and primary care hospitals.
Preserving and expanding long-term care at home
The budget rejects $132.8 million in reductions to home health agencies proposed by the executive, including:
$64.6 million for Medicaid rate reductions, and
$48.7 million to preserve the amounts providers spend on administrative expenses
EPIC and Medicare Part D
The budget restores $49.9 million to the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program - which is designed to lower prescription drug costs for seniors with fixed incomes - and restores $2.8 million to the Medicaid program to restore “wrap around” coverage for drugs denied by Medicare Part D. “We need to ensure all seniors have access to affordable prescription drugs,” stated Carl Heastie. “Without access to their prescriptions, many seniors will end up in the hospital or emergency room.”
Health care workers
The Assembly rejected the executive’s proposal to eliminate funding for the Worker Retraining Program. “When possible, a skilled health care worker should be given the opportunity to be retrained in alternative, high-need health care professions before they face the unemployment line.”
Carl E. Heastie Announces Restorations in Funding for Higher Education
Assembly Carl Heastie announced that the SYF 2009-2010 budget helps New Yorkers obtain access to quality public higher education during this recession. “Higher education is the cornerstone to a successful future,” said Carl Heastie. “This is not the time to cut funding to higher education, it’s time to invest in our future workforce.” Recent statistics indicate that New York’s public colleges are receiving record numbers of applications, and now is not the time to make cuts to funding.
The SFY 2009-2010 budget includes higher education related items:
Invests $2.5 billion for SUNY, nearly $125 million more than last year.
Adds $144 million more for CUNY, providing it with a total of $1.4 billion.
Restores a $270 base aid cut for full-time equivalent students at SUNY and CUNY community colleges, bringing the total to $2675 per student.
Provides $591 million in capital funds for essential maintenance projects at SUNY.
Tuition Assistance Program
The final budget restored $49.9 million in proposed cuts to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for a total of $839 million. TAP is a program that provides eligible New York residents annual grants of up to $5,000 based on income that students do not have to pay back. The cut would have based TAP awards on the number of credits a student takes, reducing TAP grants for full-time students who take less than 15 credit hours.
In addition, the budget restores $3.6 million for the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), and maintains funding for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and the Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) program. Through counseling, tutoring, financial assistance and drop-out prevention, these programs are dedicated to not only encouraging enrollment in college, but also for helping ensure success.
“Many students and families couldn’t afford a college education without the assistance of these programs. They strengthen our higher education system and ensure that all students have access to an affordable college education,” stated Assemblyman Carl Heastie.
Also included in the spending plan is $50 million for the New York Higher Education Loan Program (NYHELP), which gives resident students and their families access to higher education loans with lower interest rates than those currently from private lenders. “At a time when a number of private banks have left the student loan business, NYHELP is essential to providing lower interest education loans to working families,” Assemblyman Heastie said.
The Bronx YMCA will continue “The Virtual Y Program” at P.S. 68 as the result of public funds secured by Carl E. Heastie. This program is designed to assist New York City public school children by practicing literacy skills to reinforce what is taught during the school day. The Virtual Y Program offers an enriched after school program consisting of a variety of academic, recreational and value based activities, all infused with experiences that enhance literacy.
Assemblyman Carl E. Heastie has secured financial assistance through the Local Initiative Program for the Fiscal year 2009-10 for:
Baychester/Edenwald Senior Center- Financial assistance provides for meals for the elder community.
Bridgefield Civic League, Inc.- Financial assistance provides for materials and supplies for summer day camp activities.
St. Luke’s Food Program- Financial assistance provides transportation and supplies to offer food to the local community.
Bronx Youth Uptown Developers Coalition- Financial assistance provides for materials to hold an annual basketball program. The UDC provides an SAT prep course and pre-college orientation and guidance.
East 233rd Street Senior Center- Financial assistance provides for materials for Senior Program and activities.
47th Precinct Community Council- Funds will be used to purchase supplies for a project that will create safer streets and neighborhood by utilizing volunteers to patrol the community and assist the local authorities with logistics
NAACP (Williamsbridge Branch)- Financial assistance provides for Math and Science materials for tutorial program.
Tilden Towers Senior Center- Financial assistance to provide project director for recreation activities and health/educational seminars.
YW Conservatory of the Arts- Funds will be used to purchase materials/supplies and supplemental instruction for the community dance program. This program offers an opportunity for young adults to receive instruction in the arts of dance and performance.
Mind Builders Creative Arts Center- Funds will be used to purchase materials and supplies for the Community Folk Culture Program. This program offers an opportunity for young adults to have hands-on experience with shared cultural arts and activities while documenting and archiving this heritage.
Unity Neighborhood Center, Inc.- Funds will be used to purchase materials and supplies to expand services in P.S. 87 and P.S. 21. This program provides instruction in dance, drawing, and painting.
Theatre International, Inc.- Funds will be used to provide an after school theatre arts program. The funds from this grant will be used for the purchase of materials to run this program from Richard R. Green Middle School.
New York Public Library- Funds will be used to purchase books for the Eastchester, Edenwald, and Wakefield Branch Libraries.
Gun Hill Youth Football and Cheerleading Program- Funds will be used to purchase materials and supplies to conduct football and cheerleading youth program.
Carl E. Heastie announced that the 2009-2010 state budget continues the Assembly’s commitment to provide a solid education for New York State’s children despite perilous economic times. The budget stabilizes aid to schools by restoring $1.1 billion to school districts and provides $376 million for universal pre-kindergarten. The budget lifts the Governor’s freeze on reimbursable expense-based aid, ensuring schools have access to the funds they need. Overall, schools will benefit by an estimated increase of $403 million in these aids over the 2008-09 school year. Foundation aid for the 2009-2010 school year will remain at current levels.
“Even during the worst economic downturn in decades, we maintained our strong commitment to educating our children and providing them with the tools and skills they will need to compete successfully for the jobs of the 21st century,” said Assemblyman Carl Heastie.
The Assembly has been on the forefront of fighting for the continuation and growth of the universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) program to ensure that every 4-year-old in the state has the opportunity to get a head start in school. The budget agreement provides $376 million for Universal Pre-K to this highly successful program. “Children attending pre-K are better prepared to meet the demands facing them in their schooling and, ultimately, in the global economy,” noted Assemblyman Heastie.
Contract for Excellence
School districts that are required to prepare a Contract for Excellence will maintain the same level of funding as last year, ensuring schools will not have to reduce spending on allowable programs, including class-size reductions, academic after-school programs and full-day kindergarten or pre-kindergarten.
The budget creates new reporting requirements for New York City regarding its Five-Year Class Size Reduction Plan to include detailed information by school on:
Before and after comparison of class sizes and number of class rooms;
Actual average class sizes for each year funding was received; and
Schools that received Contract for Excellence funds and did not reach class size reduction goals and the actions to be taken in those schools to reduce class sizes.
In addition, the budget restores:
$10.58 million in library aid;
$6.9 million for adult literacy education programs; and
$2 million for teacher salary enhancements.
The budget helps school districts by freezing the tuition rate public schools have to pay charter schools in the 2009-10 school year to the rates they paid last year. The budget also agrees to maintain the executive’s proposal to continue high tax aid funds at last year’s level. Additionally, the budget restores $30 million in funding for non-public schools.
Federal stimulus for education
During this economic crisis, the federal government, lead by President Obama, has provided funds to help stabilize state and local government budgets in order to minimize and avoid reductions in education. The budget uses the following federal funds to help local school districts over the next two years:
$906 million in Title I funds to assist schools with high percentages of disadvantaged children to meet academic standards;
$794 million for the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA);
$200 million for State Incentive Grant and Innovation Funds;
$253 million in Title I school improvement grants;
$55.5 million for schools to buy computers, networks and software;
$20 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund;
“Education is the key to our state’s success, and that’s why the Assembly and myself will continue to provide the funding needed for all children to receive the high-quality education they deserve,” Assembly Member Heastie said.
Assemblyman Carl Heastie was able to secure funding from the state budget to start up a graffiti removal program in the Northeast Bronx. These services are available to private homes and businesses in addition to public property. Assemblyman Heastie, working in conjunction with CitySolve, will help all the Northeast Bronx look clean and beautiful again.
CitySolve has been cleaning graffiti throughout New York City for twelve years using a specially designed truck which combines high volume paint spraying and high volume power washing. In paint over situations, they have 10-12 standard colors which precisely color matches virtually any graffitied surface. In power wash situations, using a combination of environmentally friendly removal products and a hot water pressure washer, CitySolve are able to remove graffiti from all “unpaintable” surfaces without “ghosting” or “shadowing.”
If you have a piece of property that you believe could use some graffiti remediation, please call Assemblyman Carl Heastie’s office at 718-654-6539.
The Bronx Business Alliance provides local business development initiatives for the Northeast Bronx. This program has been restored to the state budget for the 09-10 fiscal year as the result of Assemblyman Heastie’s efforts. The restoration of this program’s funding in this year’s budget at $153,000 will help the Business Alliance to continue to serve the businesses in our community. The Bronx Business Alliance has been a tremendous success since its launch on July 17, 2003, providing business assistance to local small business owners.
The Bronx Business Alliance is a great source for FREE business advice for small business and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Bronx.
The Business Alliance offers the following assistance and more: Start-up Assistance, Business Plan Development, Identifying Financing Opportunities, Marketing Assistance, and Financial Management Assistance. For more information call the
Bronx Business Alliance
4309b White Plains Road
718-231-2847 / 718-231-4324 fax
Assemblyman Heastie and Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson have successfully secured continued funding for The Doe Fund’s “Ready Willing & Able Program”. Since 2003, the Doe Fund has had a work crew along White Plains Road from Gun Hill Road to 236th Street, Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, that collects trash and keeps the sidewalks and streets clean.
The busy commercial corridor of White Plains Road between Gun Hill Road and East 236th Street is litter free through the hard work of the people of the Doe Fund’s “Ready, Willing and Able” initiative. The Doe Fund is a not-for-profit homeless service organization that provides permanent solutions to homelessness through paid work and a host of other social services.“White Plains Road is a wonderful place to live and shop, but like many neighborhoods in New York City, keeping a handle on the litter problem can often be a challenge,” said Heastie. “With the Ready
Assemblyman Carl E. Heastie and Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson secured $70,000 in funding for the Doe Fund Inc. during the 2009 Legislative Session to continue this highly successful street cleaning and community beautification project in the Northeast Bronx.