2003-03-01 / Community

Governor’s Budget Proposal Denounced By Sen. Smith

Governor’s Budget Proposal Denounced By Sen. Smith

State Senator Ada L. Smith has said that Governor Pataki’s proposed budget would have a devastating effect on New Yorkers, especially the state’s middle-class families.

"This year is going to be a particularly difficult one, especially in light of our weakening economy," Senator Smith said. "Knowing that, there is no reason why the pain we’re all going to feel shouldn’t be spread fairly and evenly among the people of this state."

The Queens lawmaker pointed to the severe cuts in health care services, education aid and higher education funding as those items that will cause undue hardship in middle class New Yorkers.

Senator Smith said, "I refuse to stand by and watch as the Governor attempts to balance this budget on the backs of our working families. With this proposal, he is pricing our children out of their futures and denying our families and seniors the fundamental health care they deserve."

Specifically, Senator Smith ref-erred to the Governor’s plan to:

• cut a billion dollars from the health field, including deep cuts to Medicaid. The plan also proposes taxes and fees on the health care industry that, according to the Senator, will most likely be passed on to the patient; again, those least likely to be able to afford them.

• slash funding for our elementary and secondary schools by proposing a $2.1 billion decrease. The proposal also seeks to eliminate funding for Pre-K programs, leaving 60,000 children without a vital start to their education.

• increase SUNY/CUNY tuition by 40%. Senator Smith said this increase, coupled with nearly $150 million in cuts to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), would prevent tens of thousands of New Yorkers from seeking a higher education.

"Simply put, the Governor’s spending plan overburdens the middle class and I intend to fight this shortsighted proposal," Senator Smith said. "We cannot allow our working families, including our children and seniors, to become the sacrificial lambs in this process. As I said before – and I will continue to speak loudly and clearly about this – the pain associated with a deficit like the one we are facing, must be distributed fairly."

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