Senators: Stimulus would help region

Funds in the federal economic stimulus package that passed in the U.S. Senate Tuesday would help fam

Funds in the federal economic stimulus package that passed in the U.S. Senate Tuesday would help families, schools and municipalities in the Capital Region, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said soon after the vote took place.

One of Schumer’s highest priorities — $10 billion in federal aid to counties paying Medicaid costs — made the final cut.

The stimulus package would give a $42 million shot in the arm to Capital Region counties for Medicaid payments, easing the burden on other county programs.

“This was my number one goal in the bill,” he said. “It means that we won’t have to have massive tax increases or massive layoffs at the local level.”

The economic stimulus package also brings money upstate for education and infrastructure, said Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

Differences between the House and Senate bills now need to be hammered out in conference before the bill can go to President Barack Obama’s desk for a signature. That may happen by week’s end.

Speaking in a conference call after the economic recovery bill cleared the Senate, Schumer said the funds will bring thousands of new jobs to upstate New York.

“Everywhere you go, you hear of layoffs from people who were making high incomes, middle incomes and low incomes. We have to do something, and this package should help dramatically.”

Schumer said that compared to the House’s $819 billion bill, the Senate’s version cuts “pork” like furniture for federal office buildings while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in New York state.

Gillibrand also voted for the stimulus package and afterward touted the $13 billion it provides for infrastructure improvements — road, bridge, water and sewer facilities — in the state.

The new senator serves on the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee. “The investments in infrastructure and alternative energy development will create jobs and build a foundation for long-term economic growth in our state,” she said in a statement.

Infrastructure money will be divided up based on a federal formula, Schumer said.

Gillibrand voted against the highly criticized financial sector bailout last fall while she was a member of the House of Representatives, saying that plan overpaid for bad assets.

Here is a look at some of what the Senate’s economic stimulus bill would mean for New York:

* $1.9 billion for schools to make up for state budget cuts and keep local property taxes from increasing.

* $1.1 billion for the state to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind.

* $862 million for special education.

* A $2,500 college tuition tax credit for each family, at least two and a half times more than the currently allowed tax credit.

* $87.5 million to address drinking-water infrastructure and $439.3 million for clean water needs.

* $992.3 million for roads.

* $1.2 billion for mass transit.

* $235 million for state seniors to weatherize homes.

* $96 million to hire local law enforcement officials.

Categories: Schenectady County


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