1. BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS:
Due to better than expected revenues and aid from the federal government, we were able to invest in New York’s recovery with measures such as further phasing in a middle-class income tax cut, a $2.4 billion fund for rent and mortgage relief, and $1 billion for a Small Business Recovery Fund. We were also able to make substantial investments in infrastructure with a focus on Upstate roads and bridges, transit systems and airports.
This was also an excellent budget for agriculture; I helped secure record funding for vital programs like the Diagnostic Lab at Cornell that traces infections from animals to humans. We also continued funding the Nourish NY Program that purchases food from farmers for food banks across the state.
2. RECORD SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION:
Every school district in Broome County will see an increase in state aid this coming year. Broome County schools received an additional $32,298,231, an overall increase of 10%. This will help support everyone who worked so hard this past year and will help stabilize the finances for our schools and our taxpayers.
On the higher education side, the budget increased the maximum TAP award by $500, froze SUNY tuition, provided a 20% increase in funding for the Opportunity Programs, and increased the funding for community colleges. The goal is to make college more affordable and accessible to all. I am very grateful to Binghamton University and SUNY Broome for their extraordinary effort during the pandemic and am working to make sure they have the resources needed to get back to normal.
3. CHILD CARE FINALLY IN FOCUS:
The NYS budget allocated $2.3 billion in federal resources to expand and reinforce the state’s child care industry. This includes $1 billion in grants to stabilize child care businesses, $700 million to expand subsidized child care, and $105 million to expand universal pre-kindergarten to over 200 school districts. After years of advocating for child care providers, it took a worldwide pandemic for everyone to realize how absolutely essential they are for families and for the economy. Lack of access to affordable and accessible, quality child care greatly impacts the workforce and the quality of life in communities. Among other investments, the budget reduces the co-pays that many families pay, and strengthens the Employer Provided Child Care Credit.
4. BROOME VACCINATION RATE HIGH:
As of today 47.5% of Broome County residents are at least partially vaccinated, which is outpacing the statewide average. Starting April 29, all mass vaccination sites started taking walk-ins from any New Yorker at least 16 years old. If you would prefer to make an appointment or go elsewhere, appointments have also become easier to find. Please click for more information.
While the vaccines have helped us begin to turn the tide against the spread of COVID, it’s still important to wear masks and socially distance, where needed. As the weather warms up many activities are starting to slowly resume. The New York State Fair and the Rumble Ponies baseball are just two things I’m looking forward to.
5. HONORED BY THE AMERICAN RED CROSS:
I was honored this month by the American Red Cross in Greater New York as one of their 2021 Legislators of the Year. The Red Cross is one of community’s strongest partners rising to the occasion every time. During the last year alone, the Red Cross across New York conducted 5,500 blood drives, responded to 3,400 local emergencies, installed 45,000 new smoke detectors, and assisted 7,400 members of the military and their families across New York. Advocating for additional funding in the state budget and partnering with our local Red Cross is an important part of my work. I was truly honored to accept this award in a virtual ceremony.