2003-05-09 / Community

Smith Votes To Restore Funding

Smith Votes To Restore Funding

Senator Malcolm A. Smith has voted to restore funding to a number of critical economic development, transportation, housing and community renewal programs.

The Governor’s proposals included slashing funding for Empire Zones, Neighborhood Preservation Programs, and sorely needed highway and bridge improvements. According to Smith, "the best interests of the people of Queens are not served by these draconian budget cuts."

"While we are faced with a state budget that demands tough choices, I am determined that we make the right choices," Smith noted. "Creating jobs, attracting business, ensuring affordable housing, and maintaining vital transportation are all goals that are more fully realized by restoring funds to these critical programs."

"I, along with my Senate colleagues, have consistently expressed a willingness to work with the Governor in determining the tough budget choices we are all confronting today, but unfortunately that has not happened. Nevertheless, we must move forward to make those choices that we were elected by our constituents to make, and in this case – restoring funds to programs that serve New Yorkers well – the Senate elected to do just that," Smith said.

Among the programs that were fully or partially restored as a result of an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the Senate include economic development ($2.3 million for Empire Zone administration), transportation ($100 million for highway and bridge improvements), and housing/community renewal ($4,966,500 for the Neighborhood Preservation Program).

In addition to supporting the restoration of funds to these programs, Smith remains committed to also ensuring that the education of New York’s children and the health care needs of New Yorkers are not significantly endangered by budget proposals made by the Executive Branch.

"Since I first arrived in the Senate in March of 2000, I have consistently fought for the working families of Queens by advocating affordable quality health care and a solid education for our children, and that has not changed," Smith stated.

"These are daunting and uniquely challenging times, and it is in times like these that we are also presented with unique opportunities in meeting them. I remain optimistic that the Governor will join me and my colleagues in the Senate and Assembly, and we will rise together to meet these challenges and take this opportunity to serve the best interests of the people of New York. They deserve nothing less from their elected leaders,’ said Smith.

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