Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte: Assembly Passes State Budget Extender to Protect Funding for Schools, Emergency Services, Vital Programs

(Albany) - "Today, I voted to keep New York State government operating (A.7067/A.7068). Under our Assembly Leader Speaker Carl Heastie, we have been working tirelessly to produce a sound budget that would address this State's needs. However, important issues such as Criminal Justice Reform, Raise The Age for criminal responsibility from 16 to 18, saving SUNY/CUNY Institutions from being dismantled and rejecting tuition Increases, and a 421a plan that will not further compromise housing stability for many families, the Senate Republicans and Governor Cuomo would not bulge on our progressive agenda. Thus making us miss the budget deadline. Passing a budget extender when we have been working very hard to come to a full budget agreement is a hard decision to make, but it's the responsible thing to do. A government shutdown absolutely had to be avoided. I am disappointed that Governor Cuomo chose such a long 60-day extender just to marry it with Donald Trump's Federal Budget that will be released on May 21, 2017. Governor Cuomo should not be playing national politics on the backs of the people of New York.

Furthermore, I reject and resent the racist comments made by members of the State Senate Republican Party calling our children rapists and murderers, when addressing the Raise the Age agenda. New York State remains to be behind and non-progressive on a number of issues. My purpose is to help change that.

Why Did I Vote For This?

"I voted for this because if the state had shut down, funding to schools and emergency services would have stopped, lifesaving programs - such as those that help seniors afford their prescription drugs, food and housing assistance for the poor, and care for the sick and disabled - would have lapsed, state employees and union workers would not have gotten paid, programs for veterans and public protection would have shut down. Not only that school operations would have halted, but school districts' having a budget vote next month, would not have had a state spending plan for the next school year. We cannot let disagreements in government and politics become threats to the health and well-being of millions of New Yorkers.

"Now, with the extender in place as a safety net, we must focus on passing a comprehensive, fiscally responsible, fair state budget this week that addresses a real Raise the Age for Criminal Responsibility from 16 to 18, an increase in Tuition Assistance Plan for students versus a Tuition Hike proposal, a fully funded Foundation Aid for our Public Schools, and to take 421a off the table so we can appropriately start discussing a real affordable housing plan. I will keep fighting to ensure that a final state budget delivers for the residents of the 42nd Assembly District and to the people of the State of New York."