April 1, 2016

Speaker Heastie: State Budget Helps New Yorkers Climb the Ladder of Economic Opportunity

The Assembly Majority has long advocated for investments and policies that support workers and enable them to climb the ladder of economic opportunity. We have always believed that if we put our families first and invest in their future success, our state will move forward in a direction that promotes a better New York for all the communities in the state.

We are proud of the victories we have won in the SFY 2016-17 budget. It is proof of our commitment to the promises we have made to stand by hardworking families. With this proposal, we have won our longstanding fight to raise the wage floor across New York to $15 per hour, and we have provided every worker and every family with the long awaited protection of paid family leave benefits.

This budget makes record investments in foundation aid, fully restored the gap elimination adjustment and promotes the development of community schools to ensure a well-funded and holistic approach to educating our students. The spending plan also includes funding support to implement the My Brother's Keeper initiative here in New York, a step that will ensure all of our children will have a fair chance to achieve.

We have always fought to ensure that the City of New York receives the support it needs to meet the needs of the millions of New Yorkers who call these communities home. Throughout this budget process, we made it a priority to preserve the affordability of higher education by freezing tuition at the CUNY and SUNY systems and by maintaining full state support for CUNY. We are also proud that we successfully fought back against efforts to shift a greater share of Medicaid costs to the City of New York, a victory for hardworking taxpayers.

From the very first day of this session, we promised New Yorkers that we would do everything in our power to promote fairness in opportunities for all. We believe that every family and every community deserves our support. As the affordable housing crisis continues to erode the stability of families in communities around the state, we have secured one of the largest multi-year investments in affordable housing to fulfill our promise to stem the flow of families into homelessness and assist those who are struggling to regain their footing. This commitment to the stability of our families has also brought us to a budget that delivers important tax cuts that will help workers access and remain in the middle class.

This budget is a win for New Yorkers across this state, and it would not have been possible without the commitment and the heartfelt participation of all the members of the Assembly Majority. I also thank our partners in government, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, for their hard work in crafting this budget. We are proud to have fulfilled our promises to the millions of hardworking men and women around this great state.