The New York State Senate approved its one-house budget resolution early Friday — the latest step in the budget process as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders aim to reach an agreement on an on-time state budget for the fourth year in a row.
Here’s what Cuomo, state Senate leaders and others had to say about the Senate’s budget resolution:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo:
“Now that the legislature’s one house budget resolutions are being completed, real discussions can begin.
The main budget issue will be whether we have the will to do what is politically difficult and attack the waste and duplication of local governments that drive up property taxes. Property taxes are the single largest and most devastating tax in our state. I understand the pressure from local officials who want a ‘business as usual’ approach, but I also understand the crushing burden of these property taxes on homeowners across New York. Providing a state subsidy as a bandage to temporarily alleviate the pain of ever rising property taxes is the kind of short sighted approach we left behind three years ago. We must reduce the dysfunction and waste – not enable and subsidize it.
The future of charter schools must be protected in this budget, and I will fight to ensure that it is. Reforms to Common Core must be enacted to ensure that our students are not unfairly harmed by its implementation.
As we have said from the beginning, Pre-k funding will ultimately be determined by each individual school district’s actual ability to create an eligible program on a timely basis. Once it is determined that a plan is operational, the state will meet the locality’s need to that amount.
The Public Trust Act, including Public Campaign Financing, is a priority and is included in the budget negotiations.
I look forward to a budget that is fiscally sound, delivers real property tax relief to struggling homeowners, strengthens our education system for every child statewide, and creates a stronger, fairer, more progressive New York.”
Fair Elections for New York Campaign’s Karen Scharff:
“Under the leadership of Senators Klein and Skelos, the Senate Majority Coalition’s inclusion of public financing of state elections in its budget resolution is a very encouraging step forward in this process. With the Senate co-leaders working with Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver and Senator Stewart Cousins, there are no more excuses for inaction. Now it is up to Governor Cuomo to lead the way to final passage of real reforms in this year’s budget, including public funding of elections, strong enforcement, lower contribution limits and greater transparency requirements.”
Common Cause/NY Executive Director Susan Lerner:
“The governing coalition of the Senate has made progress today by including public financing in the one house budget. Common Cause/NY applauds the IDC and Senator Klein for holding fast to their principles and helping their coalition partners find a way forward in the public interest. Comprehensive campaign finance reform is a non-partisan issue which benefits both Republicans and Democrats. We will be working closely with both houses and the Governor to make sure today’s position develops into final law.”
Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education:
“It is unconscionable that the State Senate Majority is proposing to do more for private and charter schools than for our public schools. The Senate adds $250 million in state funding for private schools, but only adds $217 million for public schools. The $250 million the Senate is giving in state financed tax credits to fund private schools should instead be invested in restoring arts, music, and high quality curriculum in our public schools. They said their priority was to cut the Gap Elimination Adjustment, but when it came time to give out the money, private schools won out.”
Senate Majority Coalition co-Leader Jeff Klein:
“This year’s senate budget resolution puts the needs of working families first, by dedicating $540 million for Mayor de Blasio’s universal pre-k and after school program for each of the next five years, creating New York’s first paid family leave system, and restoring millions of dollars in funding for essential child care programs. I am pleased that our resolution also includes virtually all of the IDC’s Affordable New York agenda, including major new investments in middle-income housing through the Mitchell-Lama 2020 program, the launch of new college affordability programs, and an expansion of programs critical to our seniors, such as EPIC and SCRIE. I am also proud of the fact that the senate’s budget package does not balance tax cuts for businesses on the backs of working families. By working towards common goals and priorities, the IDC and Republican Conference have delivered a budget package that would truly lift-up New York families, students, and seniors.”
Senate Majority Coalition co-Leader Dean Skelos:
“The Senate’s budget resolution is a responsible action plan that will create bright new opportunities for all New Yorkers and put hard-working taxpayers and their families back in control of their futures. This document should serve as a blueprint for a fourth consecutive on-time budget and help build a stronger, more prosperous future for those who call New York home. I thank my governing partner, Senator Klein, as well as Senate Finance Chairman John DeFrancisco for their input, their ideas and their energy throughout this entire process.”
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins:
“Vague pledges on campaign finance reform are not enough and I urge the Senate Majority to provide concrete assurances and details to implement the public financing of elections. I am pleased that the Senators Skelos and Klein have listened to the Senate Democrats and included increased funding for universal pre-k and additional aid to localities as priorities in the Senate budget resolution.
“However, I am deeply concerned with the substantial funds removed from health benefit exchanges and regional economic development initiatives. There are still many issues that remain unaddressed in the Senate’s budget resolution including the DREAM Act and more targeted middle class tax cuts, and I am concerned by the lack of transparency in this process. My colleagues and I will continue to fight for the common sense progressive legislation and principles that New Yorkers demand and deserve from their state government.”
Make the Road New York’s Marcy Suarez:
“It’s truly disappointing to know that the NYS DREAM Act was not included in the Senate budget. The NYS DREAM Act could help someone like me, a young lady who has devoted so much time, energy, and passion in to my school and community. This news will also be disappointing to many other of my peers who have been hoping for the NY DREAM Act to be included in the Senate’s one-House budget. We will continue to fight to make sure it’s in the final State budget.
“With its failure to include the DREAM Act in the budget, the State Senate is showing that it does not recognize the urgency of getting students to college. Meanwhile, other states are ahead of New York and are providing financial aid to undocumented students, like Texas, New Mexico, California, Minnesota, and Washington State. New York, the state where I grew up since starting my education in second grade, is also now the state that is not allowing me to reach my full potential.
“We demand that Senator Skelos, Senator Klein, Assembly Speaker Silver, and Governor Cuomo include the New York DREAM Act in the final budget and give us an opportunity to make our dreams a reality. It’s the smart thing to do for all of New York. What are we waiting for?”
Richard Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers:
“This is nothing short of a fundamental and disgraceful attack on the children of New York’s public education system. The senators supporting this budget bill, both Republicans and members of the Independent Democratic Conference, have chosen their benefactors, hedge funders and financiers over the 97 percent of New York’s children who attend underfunded public schools. At a time when our schools have slashed art, music, foreign languages and other programs and laid off 30,000 educators, the Senate position is unconscionable and speaks volumes about their priorities.”
State Sen. Jim Seward:
“The Senate budget plan fulfills many of the priorities expressed to me by families, employers, and community groups that make up my senate district. Approval of the plan also means we are on track to pass an on-time state budget for a fourth straight year.”
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