The Executive Budget proposed and presented to the Legislature by Governor Paterson is a patchwork of painful decisions that will make life more difficult for working families throughout the State of New York.
We understand quite clearly the immediacy of the fiscal challenge facing our state and are committed to balancing the budget through thoughtful and responsible cuts in spending. At the same time, we will ensure that the sacrifices called for in the final enacted state budget are shared.
While we agree with the Governor that all sectors of our state need to be part of the solution, his budget proposal cuts school aid by $1.4 billion and leaves the state $4.2 billion below what we originally pledged under our CFE commitment. Four years after the Court of Appeals found that New York was shortchanging the education of our highest-needs children, the Governor's proposed cuts go too far.
The Governor's proposed health-care actions will make it harder for working families and seniors to obtain the health-care services they depend on. His authorization to raise tuition at our SUNY and CUNY schools in conjunction with his proposed cuts to TAP and to our community colleges threaten to shut the gates to higher education and a brighter future for middle-class families and to those in need of job training.
New York State's most vulnerable and least fortunate citizens will suffer as well. Cuts such as those proposed in summer youth employment, domestic violence programs, childcare services and homelessness prevention will save the state very little but cause many New Yorkers harm.
Although we disagree with these cuts, we remain steadfast in our commitment to work with the Governor, with the Senate, and with leaders and citizens throughout our state to meet New York's fiscal obligations head-on and in a timely fashion.
In the weeks to come, the Assembly will hold public hearings (view schedule) on the executive budget proposal to assist us in identifying and making the responsible spending cuts that will put our state on sound financial footing and protect the programs and services our working families depend on.