As budget season is in full swing, my colleagues and I continue to discuss the issues facing New Yorkers and find solutions that will make our state stronger and safer for all. I’ve held several budget town hall meetings where I’ve had the opportunity to hear from many residents about their priorities and now, as we negotiate the final state budget, I want to let you know that I’ve listened and am bringing your ideas to the bargaining table.
This week I helped pass the 2019-20 Assembly state budget proposal and fought to make sure it includes the issues that matter most to us. The Assembly spending plan provides increased funding for our schools, makes a college education more affordable for hardworking families and invests in local transportation, infrastructure and economic development.
To support Central New York’s public transportation, our proposal provides $226.5 million for upstate transit systems, an $8.8 million increase over the executive proposal. The Assembly spending plan also includes a $20 million increase for non-MTA upstate and downstate transit capital projects. With this sizeable investment, transit systems like CENTRO will be able to preserve much needed services.
Boosting our local economy begins with making necessary infrastructure repairs. This year’s Assembly proposal provides $438.1 million for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program to repair and replace our aging roads and bridges; $65 million restoration for the Extreme Winter Recovery as well as $100 million for the PAVE-NY program. These programs are vital because they allow municipalities to fund projects without draining local budgets or raising taxes.
To further support local governments, our plan restores the governor’s proposed $59 million cut to Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM), bringing total AIM support to $715 million. We’ve seen how important this aid is to our region, as towns and villages in Onondaga County alone received nearly $2.5 million in AIM funding last year. As we enter final negotiations, I’ll fight to protect this critical funding source.
I also advocated for $1 million for the Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems at Syracuse University (SyracuseCoE) to promote further collaboration between the university and local businesses while strengthening our burgeoning high-tech industries. The spending plan also restores $750,000 for Small Business Development Centers, which offer invaluable business counseling and entrepreneurial training services. To further expand our regional economy, our proposal provides funding for CenterState CEO and the Manufacturers Association of Central New York to help local businesses grow and create more good-paying jobs.
Another important component of the Assembly’s spending plan is investment in our students. That’s why we made sure to provide $28.4 billion in education funding, a $1.6 billion increase over the previous year and $644 million more than the executive proposal. Foundation Aid would also be increased by $1.16 billion for a total of $18.9 billion, which is $823 million more than the executive proposal.
And I know many Central New York families send, or want to send, their kids to SUNY schools so they can continue their education and land good jobs. This year’s Assembly proposal funds a host of programs to support our public colleges, including maintenance funding for SUNY expansion projects and a $1 million restoration to Advanced Technology Training Information Networking labs. Along with these programs, the proposal includes funding for the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry as well as SUNY Upstate Medical University.
To help give every child an equal opportunity to succeed, the Assembly proposal restores $4.5 million for the Foster Youth College Success Initiative to support foster students on their path to higher education. Additionally, our proposal provides $3 million for the creation of the Family First Transition Fund to help children in foster care find a home and give them a framework to prevail and prosper.
These are just a few of the important highlights from this year’s Assembly budget proposal that will help strengthen Central New York. As we come together in Albany to negotiate the final budget, I’ll continue advocating for our region’s needs and ensure your taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.
If you have any questions about this or any other community issue, don’t hesitate to contact my office at 315.452.1115 or at StirpeA@nyassembly.gov.