Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled his budget proposal Tuesday, Jan. 21. It includes: funding for Universal Pre-K statewide, increasing school aid by $800 million, increasing support for after-school programs, creating a college scholarship for STEM students, a panel to oversee Common Core and work to correct problems identified by parents and teachers.
The promise to fully fund Universal Pre-K for all New Yorkers and the increase in school aid are excellent starting points. I remain committed to seeing a much greater increase in school aid and a more progressive way to pay for the expansion of Universal Pre-K.
Some items were not included in the budget proposal, including the enactment of the New York State Dream Act and other legislative priorities many had hoped to see proposed.
We will continue working to ensure educational support for immigrant youth in New York State, and we will continue to fight for an accelerated increase in the minimum wage and to promote access to child care services.
The Executive Budget calls for:
* An increase in education aid by $807 million;* $1.5 billion over a five-year period to fund a statewide universal full-day pre-K programs;
* Authorization for $720 million over a five-year period to expand after-school programs;
* A $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act to ensure that all of our children have access to the latest technology needed to compete on the global stage;
* Provision of $1.2 billion in capital funding to help hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities restructure to provide quality community-based care;
* A renters’ personal income tax credit to help defray the impact of escalating rental housing costs;
* Increasing the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) by $4 million to $157 million;
* Legislation requiring the State Health Department to adjust Medicaid rates to address cost increases stemming from the home care wage parity law for home-care workers in New York City;
* Strengthening of our public higher-education system so that students may excel both academically and at the same time also serve as an economic engine, by providing $110 million for new and expanded round of SUNY2020 and CUNY2020 programs, plus $8 million in funding for a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) scholarship program;
* Connecting the successful NY Youth Works program to community colleges and expanding the tax credit program from $6 million to $10 million annually to help encourage more employers to hire inner-city youth
* New economic opportunities for veterans.
All provisions in the governor’s proposed budget are subject to review by the legislature. The Assembly and Senate have begun reviewing the governor’s proposed budget and will conduct public hearings before taking action. Public hearings will begin next week in Albany.
For a schedule of the budget hearings visit the Assembly’s website here: assembly.state.ny.us/comm/WAM/20140110/
Assemblywoman Rhoda S. Jacobs represents the 42nd Assembly District, which includes sections of the Flatbush, Flatbush Gardens, Midwood, and Victorian Flatbush neighborhoods of Brooklyn. She serves in the leadership as the Assistant Speaker, and on the Rules, Ways & Means, Health and Insurance Committees as well as the Task Force on Women’s Issues and the Task Force on New Americans.