Assemblyman Jones Working toward a State Budget that Delivers for the North Country

January 21, 2020

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Plattsburgh) announced that he will fight for a state budget that addresses the needs and concerns of North Country families after listening to the governor’s budget address earlier today. The proposal includes critical funding for North Country schools, veterans and small businesses, as well as a plan to close more prisons.

“From improving voting laws to protecting victims of crime, the North Country benefited from last year’s legislative session, and I’m determined to keep this momentum going in 2020,” Jones said. “The governor’s budget proposal offers a promising start; however, his proposal to close more prisons across the state is a threat to residents’ safety and our region’s economic well-being. In the coming months, I’ll work with my Assembly colleagues to ensure this plan doesn’t end up in the final state budget and, instead, fight for funding that improves the lives of North Country families.”

The idea of closing more prisons across the state is something the North Country has grown familiar with. In 2014, the Chateaugay Correctional Facility was shut down, causing more than 100 community members to lose their jobs.[1] Along with the financial burden this puts on families and the local economy, the safety of our correction officers is also put in jeopardy due to issues such as overcrowding.

“As a former correction officer, I know the serious impact this could have on our communities and will do everything in my power to prevent this proposal from coming to fruition,” Jones said.

The governor’s budget proposal also offers funding to improve the North Country, including an increase in education funding. An investment in our schools is an investment in our future, which is why it’s imperative to put the needs of our students and teachers at the forefront, Jones noted.

In addition, the governor’s proposal includes funding for a state veterans cemetery, which is similar to a bill that Jones introduced last year to ensure proper funding for this important site (A.887). Jones will push for this proposal to be passed in the final state budget, adding that he’s hopeful the eventual site will be located in the North Country. The governor also announced a proposal, similar to a bill that Jones co-sponsored (A.6309), that would increase the corporate tax threshold to $390,000 and expand the small business exemption from 5% to 15% for farms and businesses with a net income under $250,000. Farms and small businesses are an essential part of what makes the North Country thrive, and these tax deductions will help these community staples continue to grow and prosper, Jones noted.

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[1] pressrepublican.com/news/local_news/impact-of-prison-closure-debated/article_bd7d0cf9-0689-5f1f-b61e-5aa4ae4c6584.html