Smith Talks About Budget Restorations
Senator Malcolm Smith, who represents all of Rockaway in the State Senate in Albany, believes that the governor’s budget did not meet the needs of his constituents, and has pledged to restore many of the cuts made by Pataki.
"Restorations were made in many categorical areas, from public protection to environmental conservation but perhaps the most important and historic restorations have been made in the areas of Education and Health Care," said Senator Smith.
"The restorations of funding to Higher Education, including over $20 million, on top of what the Governor proposed, specifically to the CUNY Community College system, was a necessity," said the Senator. "This money will directly benefit students such as Tameco Fuller of Far Rockaway, Rinaldia Painson of Cambria Heights, Jaqi Thomas of Queens Village, Sara Ramirez of Jamaica, Marie Marcier of Rosedale, Anthony Abreu of Jackson Heights, all of who are students at LaGuardia Community College and who took the time to write me on this very issue."
Smith explained that, "a complete restoration of funding, almost $4 million, for Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs, which time and again have proved their worth, as children emerge from them strengthened and ready for kindergarten and really, the rest of their lives."
Smith advised, "other Higher Education priorities were funded such as $18.7 million in Bundy Aid, $11 million to the Higher Educational opportunity Program (HEOP) and $10 million to the C-STEP Program." "Finally," he added, "over $7.3 million was appropriated to the Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge Program (SEEK)." "I believe these programs are essential because they open the door for higher education to those communities that have historically not had such opportunities." "Now I can tell Camille Francis of Arverne and Wanda Holder of Springfield Gardens that those programs have been saved and extended," Senator Smith advised.
Smith addressed the area of Health Care and explained, "the Legislative Budget that we sent to the Governor had over $1 billion in restorations, primarily in the area of Medicaid." He added, "over $100 million will go to hospitals in Queens and $20 million will go directly to the hospitals in the fourteenth Senatorial district." This includes over $15.2 million in funding to the Catholic Medical Centers of Brooklyn and Queens, including St. John’s Hospital in Flushing and over $1.3 million will be allocated to the Peninsula Hospital center." Lastly, added the Senator, "over $3.4 million will be provided to Episcopal.
Smith concluded by saying, "other restorations include, over $5 million were appropriated for HIV/AIDS services, including $2.1 million for the HIV/AIDS Communities of Color Program, over $11.8 million have been earmarked to save the Institute for Basic Research and Developmental disabilities (IBR) in Staten Island, and almost $5 million for the Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP), which will benefit certain housing programs.