Assemblywoman Annette M. Robinson Assemblywoman
Annette M.
Robinson

Reports to
the people

Spring 2008

QUALITY EDUCATION BUDGET

This budget includes a historic level of funding to continue the Assembly’s strong commitment to educational excellence for the nearly three million school children throughout New York State.

This increase in education funding provides an additional $1.75 billion in general support for public school funding over the previous years, with a total investment of $21.4 billion. This critical funding maintains our long-standing commitment to providing a quality education for all New York children. The budget provides for a $622 million increase in Foundation Aid for New York City.

  • Universal Pre-K – expanded to include an allocation of $450 million, an increase of $96 million over last year.

  • BOCES – returns BOCES aid to its current level - the Assembly restored it by a total of $78 million.

  • Restoring Adult Literacy Education – adds $85 million for additional programs and restorations, this includes the adult literacy education, independent living centers and libraries.

We noted that a number of proposals contained in the budget would have had a negative impact on New York City schools. The Assembly rejected a proposal which would have lagged New York City’s building aid for 18 months.

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  • Rejected proposal to shift $42 million in preschool special education cost to the locality

  • Rejected a proposed elimination of a selected building aid ratio

  • Allocates $1.6 million to conduct fingerprinting and background checks of prospective employees along with certain workers who might come into contact with students.

Parents and children voice their concerns about education and after-school programs.




HIGHER EDUCATION

photo On March 12, 2008 Dr. Lester Young was elected by the New York State Legislature to serve the last two of a five-year term previously held by Vice Chancellor Emeritus, Adelaide L. Sanford. Dr. Young is an Associate Professor at Long Island University, Graduate School of Education. (Left – right: Sen. Kevin Parker, Assm. Barbara Clark, Councilmember Albert Vann, Assm. Darryl Towns, Assm. Michael Benjamin, Dr. Lester Young, Assm. William F. Boyland, Jr., Retired, Vice-Chancellor Adelaide L. Sanford, Assm. Annette M. Robinson and Sen. Velmanette Montgomery)

No tuition hikes at SUNY or CUNY but restoration of

  • SUNY – $38.4 million in operating aid

  • SUNY – $2 million nursing schools

  • CUNY – $19.6 million in operating aid

  • CUNY – $2 million nursing schools

  • Private colleges and universities - $1 million

  • Preserves $2,675 per full time equivalent student

  • TAP – restores $15.4 million

  • Provides $2.9 million allowing students in default on their federal student loans to continue to receive TAP

Opportunity Programs funding

  • EOP – $20.4 million

  • HEOP – $25.2 million

  • SEEK – $17 million

  • Liberty Partnership – $12.6 million

  • College Discovery – $881,265

Educational opportunity programs are instrumental in helping working families afford a college education. These programs will help strengthen New York’s higher education system and ensure that all students have access to an affordable college education.

Provides veterans returning from combat with a tuition grant – up to the value of in-state SUNY undergraduate tuition – which can be used at any public or private college or university in the state. ($2 million initiative)




HEALTH

The budget will strengthen New York hospitals, nursing homes and health care programs, furthering New York’s goals to provide quality health care for our residents. Approximately $49 billion for health care in New York State; restores $453 million in health care reductions, including a restoration of $408 million in Medicaid reductions. The Assembly,

  • Rejected a Child Health Plus premium increase, saving families $24 million

  • Rejected plan to increase Child Health Plus premium statewide

  • Rejected proposal to make EPIC drugs subject to authorization when there is a Medicare Part D denial

  • Restored millions of dollars to New York’s health care facilities, including $129 million related to hospital reform initiatives

  • Restored $62 million in proposed reduction in home care, including rejecting the Certified Home Health Agency rate freeze at the 2005 level

  • Restored $170 million to nursing homes to meet the reimbursement authorized in 2006-07 budget

  • Restored additional $30 million for a restoration of workforce recruitment and retention

  • Restoration of $31 million in pharmacy reduction

  • Creation of a discount prescription drug card for New Yorkers 50-64 years old or for the disabled

  • Rejected of the proposed elimination of the specialty HIV pharmacy program under Medicaid

  • Rejected of the proposed elimination of the exemption of anti-depressant medication from the Preferred Drug List, ensuring these medications remain available and affordable to those who need them

  • Acceptance of the “Doctors Across New York” program, which will expand health care to underserved areas, and further study of future inclusion of other health care professionals such as dentists, midwives, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistant




AFFORDABLE HOUSING INVESTMENT

The Budget includes more than $300 million in funding for affordable, supportive and workforce housing opportunities across the state. There is an increase of $200 million over the executive proposal to fund programs through the Division of Housing and Community Renewal and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and includes $25 million to address the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

The Budget includes significant capital funds for various programs:

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Assemblywoman Robinson address the audience at the New York City Housing Authority Residents Rally held on March 18th in Albany.

  • Housing Trust Fund – $60 million

  • Housing Finance Agency - $54 million

  • Affordable Housing Corporation – $45 million

  • Access to Homes Program - $4 million

  • Homeless Housing Assistance Program – $36.5 million

  • Public Housing Modernization Program – $25 million

  • Homes for Working Families – $10 million

  • Urban Initiatives – $3.5 million

  • Rural Area Revitalization Program – $6 million

  • HOPE/Restore – $4 million




FUNDING TO COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS 2008-09

Below is a list of community organizations which were funded in the budget:

  • American Red Cross (Brooklyn Chapter)

  • ACORN (Homebuyers Seminars & Counseling)

  • Bailey’s Café, Inc.

  • Bed Stuy Alive! Collective

  • Bedford Central Community Development (Homebuyers Seminar Series)

  • Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center, Inc. (Diabetes Prevention Program)

  • Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp. (Youth Arts Academy)

  • Bedford Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corp. (Trauma Troopers)

  • Billie Holiday Theatre, Inc. (Plays for Community)

  • Brooklyn Four Plus One, Inc. (Bed-Stuy Lecture/Jazz Series)

  • Brooklyn Historical Society (History Hunter)

  • Brooklyn Music and Arts Program, Inc. (Brooklyn “Stepper” Marching Band)

  • Brooklyn Old Timers Foundation, Inc. (Transition to College)

  • Brooklyn Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Inc. (Children at risk)

  • Brooklyn Public Library (Various Programs)

  • Brooklyn Housing & Family Service, Inc. (Preservation & Homelessness Prevention Program)

  • Brooklyn Information and Culture, Inc. (Center for Media Education)

  • Building Blocs Foundation, Inc. (Financial Literacy)

  • Caribbean Women’s Health Association, Inc. (Openings Doors)

  • Center for Law & Social Justice (Public School Parent Advocacy)

  • College of New Rochelle – Brooklyn Campus

  • DELBAC, Inc.

  • Fort Greene Senior Citizens Council, Inc. (966 Jazz)

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert Series (Summer Concerts)

  • MOCADA (Kidflix Film Festival)

  • Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic ( Technical Assistance & Training)

  • Parents as Primary Teacher (Shake, Rattle & Roll)

  • Prospect Park Alliance, Inc. (Youth & Education Program)

  • Seventy-ninth Precinct Youth Council, Inc. (After School Program)

  • Society for the Preservation of Weeksville & Bedford Stuyvesant History (History Research Project)

  • St. John’s Bread and Life Program, Inc. (Meal Program)

  • SUNY BEOC (Bridge Employment Services)

  • 81st Precinct Youth Council, Inc. (Youth Council)

  • Quest Youth Organization, Inc. (Youth Jazz Connection)

  • Vannguard Urban Improvement Association, Inc. (Youth Council)

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Congratulations! To Hon. Paul Wooten, he received the NYS Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc. Distinguished Service Award in February of this year and was appointed to the New York State Supreme Court on May 6, 2008. (Hon. Paul Wooten – center)



ASSEMBLY PASSES SUB-PRIME LENDING CRISIS PACKAGE

Our goal in the Assembly is to provide resources to the people who have been victims of predatory loan companies and prevent New Yorkers from falling into this trap in the future.

The specifics of the package are as follows:

  • Create the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 which provides temporary financial assistance to homeowners with sub-prime or unconventional mortgages facing foreclosure. Assistance payments would be capped at an amount equal to three months of mortgage payments and dovetails on the $25 million from the enacted state budget to provide legal services and counseling to assist certain homeowners in default or foreclosure (A.10083-A/Silver);

  • Establish the NYS 2008 Responsible Lending Act to protect consumers against abuses in the sub-prime and non-traditional home loan market, including loan limitations, duties of mortgage brokers and remedies for violations. This act establishes requirements on all home loans, including lenders’ responsibility to verify borrowers’ ability to repay loans and to verify income. It establishes an agency relationship between the mortgage broker and borrower and defines prohibited practices such as balloon payments, negative amortization and prepayment penalties (A8972-C/Towns);

  • Allow a court to delay the actual order to transfer title when faced with the foreclosure of a sub-prime mortgage under specific conditions for no more than one year in order to allow the mortgagor to apply for relief. This measure would allow residents to remain in their homes while granting them time to work with lenders to modify their mortgages. (A.9695-B/Brennan); and

  • Create the Mortgage Applicant’s Bill of Rights, which requires mortgage lenders and brokers to provide consumers with a bill of rights pamphlet that must be read and signed by the consumer prior to applying for a mortgage. The pamphlet will enumerate all the information that a prospective homeowner needs to know in order to make an informed decision about a home loan, including how to file a complaint with the Banking Department or the Department of State (A.10219-C/Peralta).




BOOKS FOR MACON LIBRARY

As a community resident you can assist Macon Library with stocking their shelves as well as contributing to the African American Heritage Center in Bedford Stuyvesant. When you make a donation it will be twice matched by the Independence Community Foundation Challenge Grant. Please feel free to contact the Brooklyn Public Library Foundation at 718-230-2738 or by going online at: www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/support/macon




2008 SUMMER READING CHALLENGE

Assemblywoman Robinson wants to remind children and families that the 2008 Summer Reading Challenge is just around the corner.

Summer is a great time to read books. Whether you’re at home, enjoying the outdoors, or traveling to visit friends or family, reading opens your imagination and gives you the opportunity to learn many new things.

To receive a New York State Assembly Excellence in Reading Certificate, children must read with a parent for 15 minutes a day, for at least 40 days throughout July and August.

Reading is a fun and beneficial pastime and a crucial tool for our children’s education. Nurturing a child’s love for reading begins at home. I ask parents and children to participate in the Summer Reading Challenge and help foster a generation of lifelong readers.

For information about the 2008 Summer Reading Challenge, call my district office at 718-399-7630.


THEY HAVE MOVED
DCAS Application Center

The walk-in center for civil service exam information has moved from 18 Washington St. (near Battery Park) to 2 Lafayette St., near City Hall.

The new address is: DCAS Application Center (Manhattan)
2 Lafayette Street, 17th floor
New York, NY 10007
Call 311 or 212-NEW-YORK

You can also visit DCAS:
Online: www.nyc.gov/dcas

Mr. Mark Daly, Director of Communications
Department of Citywide Administrative Services

2 Lafayette St. is located near the corner of Lafayette St. and Reade
St., where Lafayette St. merges with Centre St. The building entrance is on Lafayette St., next door to the Municipal Credit Union.

OFFICE INFORMATION

DISTRICT OFFICE
Hours: 9:30am-5:00pm Monday – Friday
1360 Fulton Street – Room 417
Brooklyn, New York 11216
718-399-7630
fax: 718-399-7690

LEGISLATIVE OFFICE
Hours: 9:30am-6:00pm
Monday – Friday (Session Days)
Room 729 Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12248
518-455-5474
fax: 518-455-5857

Summer Hours: 9:00am – 3:00pm
Monday & Friday Only (July 5th – Sept. 8th)


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