Once again, it is an honor to serve as your representative in the New York State Assembly.
As we all may know, February was Black History Month, and let us not forget Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was a historic voice of leadership, and the values he preached and dreams he shared inspire us to this day. His struggles continue to this day, and it can be seen in the eyes of victims who have been overlooked in communities and schools that have been underserved, and on the faces of children and families who have been underprivileged and forgotten.
It’s a battle that I am trying to ultimately win in every way by providing more funding for schools, better affordable health care for those who need it most, better wages for New York’s working families, and anti-discrimination measures to ensure that everyone is treated fairly. Those are the values I fight for.
Now that the budget process is completed, it was up to the Legislature to analyze it carefully and determine how it impacts the everyday lives of New Yorkers. Most of all, we need to keep our senior citizens safe and build a stronger firewall to help protect them.
The housing stock in our district has risen substantially since the days of empty lots and debilitated houses. Housing is a basic need, so making it more affordable is a requirement.
I am proud to announce that the MTA has added the 3 and 4 train lines in their Capital Program, which means we will be receiving a new station on the elevated lines starting at East 98th Street, Rutland Road, Saratoga Avenue, Rockaway Avenue, and Junius Street on the L line. The MTA project will be taking place progressively over a period of time starting this year.
Please continue to voice your opinions by stopping into the district office or coming out to the Advisory Council Meeting that is held the 2nd Saturday of each month. The meeting is held at 444 Thomas S. Boyland Street, starting at 10:00 a.m.
The final state budget strengthens New York hospitals, nursing homes, and health care programs, furthering New York’s goal to provide quality health care for its residents.
Now that the budget is passed, it came through for working families. The Assembly came together in a bipartisan way to pass this important budget bill.
In total, the final state budget for 2008-09 provides approximately $49 billion for health care in New York State; it restores $453 million in health care reductions, including a restoration of $408 million in Medicaid reductions.
“Making sure our health care system works is of the utmost importance,” Assemblyman Boyland, Jr. said. The economic climate in which this budget was drafted is a difficult one, and we’ve had to make tough choices. But we recognize providing affordable, reliable health care is a necessity so we’ve done everything we can to make sure we protect and improve our health care facilities and programs.
Child Health Plus and EPIC
An important component to improving our health care is the expansion of health insurance coverage to the uninsured, especially children. The Assembly is committed to the idea that no child in this state should be without health insurance.
The final budget rejects a Child Health Plus premium increase, saving families $24 million. The health care budget places the focus where it should be—on keeping our families healthy. We rejected the executive budget’s plan to increase Child Health Plus premiums statewide. Now is not the time to be raising health care premiums. Our children’s health shouldn’t be jeopardized simply because some parents bring home a smaller paycheck than others, and the program will remain an affordable option for those who need it.
In addition, the Assembly rejected the executive budget proposal to make EPIC drugs subject to prior authorization when there is a Medicare Part D denial, and instead helped shape an alternative program that places the burden on EPIC—not the beneficiary—to appeal Medicare. As a result, seniors will be able to continue to get the medications they need without facing unnecessary obstacles.
Health Care Facilities:
The final health budget restores millions of dollars to New York’s health care facilities, including $129 million related to hospital reform initiatives, and maintains critical new funding for hospital and non-hospital out-patient investments, including funding for clinics and critical care centers.
In order to create more efficient health care centers while also ensuring quality care, we need to shift our focus from cost-prohibitive in-patient, hospital care to cost-effective out-patient, ambulatory care.
The reform initiatives put forth in the budget will gradually phase this in over the next four years and will also enable the medical community to participate in the process, ensuring an effective transition.
The final budget restores $62 million in proposed reductions in home care, including rejecting the Certified Home Health Agency (CHHA) rate freeze at the 2005 level.
Apart from hospitals and clinics, the final health budget fully restores $170 million to nursing homes to meet the reimbursement reform initiatives authorized in the 2006-07 budget, and provides an additional $30 million for a restoration of workforce recruitment and retention.
Nursing homes play essential roles in our communities by caring for the elderly and disabled. We need to protect and preserve the critical services these institutions provide because without them, patients won’t get the care they need. Moreover, nursing homes aren’t just about health care—they also provide invaluable employment opportunities for the communities they serve, and this budget will go a long way to protect nursing home jobs in an uncertain economy.
Other Health Budget Highlights Include:
The current difficult economic situation is not particular to New York alone—it is national, it is global. Considering how bleak the overall picture looks at times, we’re pleased that this budget will deliver for New Yorkers in so many significant and positive ways that work toward promoting and preserving good health.
HEAP: Home Energy Assistance Program
Assemblyman Boyland announced that New York State is supplementing its Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) with $82.3 million in additional federal aid to help eligible households meet their home heating needs this winter. The funding comes in additional to the $178 million issued throughout the state so far this heating season.
“The exorbitant cost of keeping warm during the cold winter months has presented a real struggle for too many families,” Assemblyman Boyland said. “Regular HEAP benefits and now this added emergency benefit allows low-income households, as well as households with vulnerable members like children, seniors or people with disabilities, to keep their heat turned on throughout the cold weather, keeping thousands of New York families safe and warm this season.”
The additional funding released this month covers a second emergency benefit of up to $700 per eligible household that will be made available to those who have already received HEAP funding this winter. The previous emergency benefit had a cap of only $600. So far this heating season, HEAP has issued benefits to more than 719,000 families statewide. This is the second time in HEAP history that a second level of emergency help has been made available; the program was added this year because of record-high energy costs.
Qualified New Yorkers in a heating crisis can benefit from HEAP assistance. Those who face an imminent power shut-off because of unpaid bills or have less than a 10-day supply of heating oil are eligible for the emergency funding. I urge people who need assistance to seek it. Keeping warm during the winter is a crucial matter and can be one of life or death.
HEAP applications are available on the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Web site at www.otda.state.ny.us/main/heap or through the Kings County Department of Social Services at Web address and/or phone number. Applications will be accepted through May 15.
The Following List is Funded Under
William F. Boyland, Jr.:
Keeping the Commitment to CFE
This demonstrates the Assembly’s ongoing dedication to improving New York City schools, especially by rejecting an elimination of building aid for 2008-09 and saying “no” to a proposed 18-month lag for building aid for current projects.
This historic aid should help improve our city’s schools – as long as the city remains committed as well.
The final budget helps all of New York’s children:
|Maxwell High School staff and students travel to Albany meeting with Assemblyman Boyland to discuss how to keep their education and future bright.|
|Faculty and students from Brooklyn College (CUNY) and Stony Brook (SUNY) traveled to Albany to meet with Assemblyman Boyland to voice their opinion about higher education. In the 2008-09 budget, the proposal is a solid plan for higher education that invests in our public universities and colleges while working to ensure they remain affordable and accessible for all.|
The Eagle Academy is a public 6th through 12th grade school where young men come prepared to learn dressed in blue shirts, ties and grey slacks as if they were prepared to take on any corporate challenges.
The Eagle Academy is a structured and safe school community where the academic and social needs of young men are being aggressively served. The goal of the program is to increase high school performance and graduation rates, expose young people to corporate finance, and encourage in young people the desire and strategies to succeed. The students show pride and fraternity that is usually only seen at the college level.
Eagle parents are an integral part of the learning process at the Academy. Each parent must affirm their commitment to support their child’s educational experience. At Eagle, we welcome, value, and require high parental involvement in further shaping our young men into Eagle Scholars.
Academic Excellent, Leadership, Character Development, Mentoring, Integrity and Community Service. The Eagle Academy will make a difference, not only in our lives, but in our communities.
We fought extremely hard to assure this educational option for the children of the 55th Assembly District.
Street Renaming Propositions
Rockaway Avenue will be renamed after Joe L. Parker, Pastor of Wayside Baptist Church. East New York Avenue will be renamed after Ronald Ward, long time community activist and president of Howard Houses and Patchen Avenue between Fulton Street and Bainbridge Street will be renamed after Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery, Mrs. Montgomery was President of Breevort Houses.
|Members from Brooklyn and Staten Island Physical Therapy travel to Albany to voice their concerns to Assemblyman Boyland, Jr.||United Federation of Teachers (UFT) traveled to Albany to personally voice their concerns to Assemblyman Boyland, Jr.|
Just a Reminder!
Advisory Council Meeting
It is not certain when it will be visiting the district again, however, when the date becomes available to me, I will let it be known to you.