‘DOWNSTATE RULE REARS HEAD IN STATE BUDGET’

            “As usual, the state budget was passed in the middle of the night, rushed through the Legislature with little time for public input or discussion and ridden with contentious policy proposals that should be debated separate from a spending plan.

            “I am concerned that the Gov. can now close up to three state prisons within 90 days and state leaders are content with ending bail for some felonies, putting the public at risk and sending the message that those who have broken the law should be given more and more leeway.

            “While we did secure funding for key bridge repair and infrastructure projects I am concerned at the growing disparity between upstate and downstate infrastructure spending with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) consuming billions of tax dollars per year with little oversight or accountability.

            “I have been a champion of easing the burden on local governments for years and tonight our conference offered a budget amendment to fully restore Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding – this was shamelessly defeated by the Assembly Majority. Gov. Cuomo has drastically changed the AIM formula, forcing counties to fend for themselves instead of offering state help to bolster local services.

            “I am pleased to see our direct-care professionals receive funding for retention and salary increases but more needs to be done to protect those who protect our most vulnerable New Yorkers. Our conference has advocated for a living wage for these dedicated men and women for years and will continue championing their cause until a true living wage is achieved.

            “As session continues I will keep banging the drum for tax relief, an end to mandated Albany spending passed down to homeowners, reforming our charitable gaming laws and fighting the pro-criminal, anti-Second Amendment policies pushed by Gov. Cuomo.”

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