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State legislators seek to reverse cuts

State legislators seek to reverse cuts

The state Senate and Assembly majorities have agreed to restore $120 million in spending that was sl

The state Senate and Assembly majorities have agreed to restore $120 million in spending that was slashed from the state budget in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 30-day amendments.

“Both majorities have already agreed to restore these cuts,” said Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif.

The amended budget would have lowered the reimbursement rate for nonprofit providers that care for people with developmental disabilities. Reif added that it is always a priority to assist the impacted providers of this vulnerable population.

Since the cut was announced, state Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, said his office has been inundated with calls and emails opposed to a reduction in the rate. “It didn’t make sense, because you’re also losing federal money,” he said, noting the potential loss of matching federal funds if the cut was adopted. “It was a double whammy.”

State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, gathered Friday morning at Schenectady ARC’s Maple Ridge Center with developmentally disabled people and their caregivers to highlight this issue.

Tkaczyk spokesman Jim Plastiras noted that she has been consistently highlighting this issue and was pleased by the planned restoration of funding.

Also Friday, the Assembly majority released their version of the state budget. Their proposal included a 10 percent increase for state aid to municipalities.

Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Colonie, said the proposed increase was needed and would help relieve local tax burdens. In a statement, Santabarbara said of the proposed increase, “It’s the state’s turn to help out.”

“Although this modest increase is not a cure-all for our communities, it will help ease the pain,” he added. He noted that the two biggest recipients of such aid in his district, Amsterdam and Schenectady, would see increases of $320,866 and $1,254,287, respectively, for totals of $3,187,536 and $12,460,281.

The full breakdown of aid increases can be found at the Capital Region Scene.

The Assembly’s budget also increased state education aid by $334 million compared with Cuomo’s proposed budget. The proposal includes $208 million for foundation aid, $25 million for high tax aid and $100 million for Gap Elimination Adjustment.

Additionally, this proposal restores about $250 million in school aid that the governor wanted to withhold from New York City for failing to adopt a teacher and principal evaluation plan.

The Assembly’s proposals may not be included in the Senate’s budget and might be dropped when the two sides negotiate the budget in upcoming conference meetings.

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