May 2003 Education
Bipartisan Budget Veto Override

From the NYS Assembly • Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Steve Sanders, Chair, Education Committee
What the experts are saying...

"It simply is not realistic to conclude that school districts can absorb those and other increases, plus an average 10 percent loss of state aid under the governor’s proposal, without either raising property taxes or cutting back on the quality of education our children receive."

- Long Island Association President Matthew Crosson

"School boards throughout the state stand poised to restore critical education programs and moderate property tax increases the minute they are assured this legislative budget will become law. We appreciate the legislators’ concern for the future of New York’s children and for the burdens born by the owners of businesses and homes who pay our property taxes. The Assembly and Senate have adopted a balanced approach to supporting public education that maintains the state as a full partner with local communities."

- New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy Kremer

"... Senator Bruno and Assembly Speaker Silver restored the majority of the g overnor’s school aid cuts, clearly recognizing that maintaining vital school programs and staving off radical property tax increases were New Yorkers’ highest priorities this year."

- Alliance for Quality Education Executive Director Regina Eaton

"The Legislature heard the voice of tens of thousands of parents, children and education supporters that the cuts in educational programs throughout the state could not stand. ... The Legislature clearly understood that the governor’s school aid cuts would kill many more jobs than a small income tax increase. It’s simple economics: large education spending cuts would drive New York’s economy into a deeper recession."

- Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York and a co-chair of the Alliance for Quality Education Karen Scharff

"School district leaders appreciate the Assembly and Senate’s efforts to prioritize education funding. Although a small cut remains, the $1 billion that the Legislature has added will help school districts restore valuable programs for children and lessen the impact on local taxpayers."

- New York State Council of School Superintendents Executive Director Tom Rogers

"Governor Pataki has chosen to put political considerations above the practical realities of effectively managing local school districts."

- New York State Association of School Business Officials Executive Director George Perry

Legislature makes the right choice —
Veto override restores $1.1 billion to education

The Assembly and Senate stood up to the governor’s irresponsible vetoes and enacted a state budget that provides New York schools with $1.1 billion more than his budget and blocks his double-digit property tax hike. Our state could not afford the governor’s wrong choices. That’s why the Assembly and Senate came together in a spirit of bipartisanship to make the right choices for children and taxpayers by helping schools avoid cutting essential educational programs, laying off teachers and increasing local property taxes.

Had the governor’s veto been sustained, elementary and secondary schools would have been slammed with a $1.4 billion education cut – the largest in New York’s history. In addition to eliminating early childhood education programs, the governor’s budget would have cut funding for after-school programs, classroom technology and the necessary maintenance of school buildings.

Assembly rejects Pataki’s 20% property tax hike

This year’s state budget deficit forced a lot of tough decisions, but instead of leading our state forward through this crisis, the governor refused to negotiate and vetoed the Legislature’s bipartisan budget.

The Legislature’s budget rejects the governor’s attempt to force property taxpayers and local governments to foot even more of the bill for quality education. The governor’s budget would have increased regressive property taxes 20 percent on average – hitting working families and seniors on fixed incomes, those who can least afford more taxes, the hardest. And the budget rejects the governor’s plan to freeze basic STAR property tax savings.

Saving early education programs

While the governor wanted to shut the door on New York’s commitment to our youngest students, the Legislature’s budget continues to invest in universal pre-K, full-day kindergarten and smaller classes. The Assembly has steadfastly championed the merits of early education and the unique and lasting advantage it gives students.

Research shows that smaller class sizes and pre-kindergarten benefit children through higher achievement, lower dropout rates, and less disruptive behavior. Early education investments also save money in the long run by reducing the need for costly special education placements and helping prevent students from repeating grades.

If the governor had his way, approximately 240,000 students would have lost the benefits of personal attention in smaller classrooms and 60,000 children would have been forced out of pre-K. Another 60,000 would have been denied pre-K this coming fall, losing an opportunity that can never be regained.

To protect these invaluable programs, the Legislature’s budget fully funds early education and protects pre-K from elimination by the governor. At a time when our schools and children are facing higher standards, the Assembly remains committed to ensuring every student has access to a quality education taught in a top-notch school.

Legislature’s budget protects students and taxpayers

This budget continues the Assembly’s strong tradition of standing by our schools. Since the governor took office in 1995, when he said “let me tell you flat out, we aren’t going to give ... any school district in the state more money in 1995,” the Assembly successfully restored $2.8 billion that he tried to cut from education, established the landmark LADDER early education program, and helped create the STAR tax-relief program.

The governor’s assault on our schools was the wrong choice. Now we need to move on and hope that the governor provides the leadership New York is depending on.

For more information about the Legislature’s budget and school aid funding for your district, visit:

For a comparison of the governor’s School Aid Plan to the Legislature’s budget for individual school districts see:

For a detailed look at the Legislature’s education aid for individual school districts see:

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