The New York State Assembly and Senate are moving forward together today with a plan to finalize areas of the state budget that remain outstanding.
Legislation introduced yesterday accepts many of the Governor's proposed cuts but maintains access to quality education - from kindergarten through college -for all New Yorkers. The legislation will ensure that the operations of the state government will continue without interruption.
"We recognize that New York faces extraordinary fiscal challenges, and that this budget will include billions in cuts," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said on Friday. "However, we are committed to sparing our schools from the most devastating cuts and ensuring that our higher education system remains accessible to all New Yorkers. We are also committed to acting responsibly with Senate and the Governor to complete this process and to continue the operations of government."
"Government works best when we are working together. The budget bills introduced by the Legislature make the smart cuts and tough choices we need to give New Yorkers a budget they can afford," Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson said. "We will continue negotiations, meet our obligation, and pass a fair budget that keeps New York working."
Highlights of the Assembly/Senate budget legislation:
$600 million - including $177 million for New York City - of the Governor's $1.4 billion in devastating school aid cuts is restored, providing direct classroom support and property tax relief to working families throughout New York State.
To keep higher education affordable, the Legislature restores the Governor's devastating tuition assistance cuts ($49 million restoration) and community college cuts ($56 million restoration). The Legislature remains open to a responsible discussion with the Governor on tuition and tuition assistance.
All work on the state budget relating to health care, mental hygiene, human services and housing, education and the arts is completed with this legislation. The bills provide for the operations of 26 additional state agencies that had not been covered in legislation approved over the past two weeks. Most of the Governor's cuts in this area have been accepted - per Assembly/Senate/Executive agreement earlier in the week.
Funding for adult homeless shelters was completely restored, a $36 million restoration of the Governor's proposed cut.
This legislation includes health and mental health spending of $7 billion. In addition to already approved budget legislation, total 2010-11 spending authorization for health and mental health would be $68 billion.
This legislation includes education, higher education and human services spending of $57.9 billion . In addition to already approved budget legislation, total 2010-11 spending authorization for education, higher education and human services would be $62 billion.
Passage of these bills in the Assembly and Senate on Monday will provide for the operations of state government and prevent any state shutdown.