From the left, Nassau Deputy County Executive Robert Walker, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, Assemblyman Michael Montesano and Nassau County Spokesman Brian Nevin discussing the impact of the 2012-13 budget on their county.
Assemblyman Michael Montesano (R,I,C-Glen Head) today was pleased by the open and proactive approach taken by the Legislature in addressing significant issues facing New York State as well as Long Island in this years on-time state budget.
While the 2012-13 budget isnt perfect, there is a great deal in it for New York families and job creators, said Montesano. Unlike in the past, in 2012, my colleagues and I had an opportunity to review and debate the budget bills in an open and transparent way. We were able to tackle a broad range of subjects and continue last years course of setting New York in the right direction.
One of the most important areas of concern for Long Islanders has been education and school aid. Assemblyman Montesano was proud to note that the 2012-13 state budget restores Long Islands fair share of school aid and calls for family court-mandated education for juvenile offenders of anti-bullying laws to prevent the psychological damage of cyberbullying.
Education has always been a topic close to my heart. Thats why I am excited to see Long Islands share of school aid restored to its past levels in order to support our education programs and help reduce property taxes, said Montesano. Im also relieved to see cyberbullying formally addressed by the Empire States elected officials, since this issue cuts across party lines to affect moms, dads and kids equally.
Also among the inclusions in the 2012-13 budget are measures to consolidate more state agencies and eliminate both defunct commissions and unnecessary government offices, a measure Assemblyman Montesano wholeheartedly endorsed.
Following the example set by Governor Cuomo in his State of the State address earlier this year, we were able to successfully eliminate over 60 state boards and commissions that were outdated and havent been used in years, said Montesano. We also managed to consolidate the Divisions of Lottery and the Racing and Wagering Board into a single Gaming Commission. By merging these two departments into one, we can have a more transparent, efficient and effective agency overseeing gaming in New York State and achieve core-saving efficiencies.
Assemblyman Montesano again noted the conspicuous absence of comprehensive mandate relief, however, in the budget. While some action was taken to ease the financial burden on county governments, he insisted, more work is still necessary.
The states 4 percent increase in Medicaid spending and capping counties share of the cost of the programs growth, combined with a new Tier VI pension program, will help reduce these escalating costs on our county governments, said Montesano. These are great first steps in providing the financial relief that our municipalities demand, but still more work needs to be done. I am going to continue to fight to end the burden of unfunded mandates for our Long Island schools and taxpayers.