Assemblywoman Buttenschon: Assembly Budget Proposal Invests to Build the Mohawk Valley’s Post-Pandemic Recovery Plan

“Now more than ever, our communities need critical support so they can recover from these trying times and create a path toward a better future. This sentiment was at the forefront of my mind as my Assembly colleagues and I worked together to construct the 2021-2022 budget proposal. From providing much-needed support to our schools and students, rebuilding our healthcare system and boosting public safety, the plan we introduced will go a long way in helping us move forward.

“Spearheading efforts to restore critical funding needed to ensure the future success of our small businesses, farmers, and meet our communities housing needs, which includes our landlords, is a priority when it comes to rebuilding the Mohawk Valley. That is why I am working to protect the STAR Program by rejecting the Executive Budget proposal, safeguarding our Veteran’s programs and providing resources needed for our local municipalities.

“Right now, our health care workers and hospitals are struggling from the heavy strain the COVID-19 crisis brought upon them. We have a responsibility to provide immediate assistance to New York’s healthcare system and ensure that everyone can receive comprehensive health care moving forward. I stand with the Assembly in proposing $376 million in restorations to the Medicaid program, including $73.9 million for hospitals and $74.25 million for Managed Long-Term Care (MLTC) programs. This proposal also includes $393 million in restorations to public health programs, which were eliminated from the Executive Budget.

“School districts have been forced to face unimaginable challenges throughout the past year, as they quickly adjusted to remote learning, distributed PPE to students and staff and enacted safety measures, all while struggling to balance severe funding cuts. Our young minds and hardworking teachers deserve better. That’s why I fought to provide an increase of $1.4 billion in Foundation Aid, which would be fully phased in over three years. The Assembly budget proposal also boosts funding for our local libraries.

“Small businesses are the heart and soul of our community, as they play a key role in our vitality and economic development. As we take steps to carefully recover, the Assembly has allocated $1 billion for small businesses, including a relief Grant program that would set aside $500 million for companies that fall into priority categories.

“During these challenging times we prioritized the safety of our residents, as we feared a rise in homelessness due to economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, those secondary effects put our landlords in precarious financial positions. I fought to secure $100 million in rental assistance for distressed landlords whose tenants failed to pay rent, or otherwise did not qualify under the parameters of the Federal Rent Relief Program in an effort to move forward and acknowledge the detrimental impact our property owners have faced.

“Programs that support our most vulnerable are necessary to promote physical, mental and emotional support. That’s why the Assembly plan rejects the Governor’s proposal to decrease funding for services that help individuals living with developmental disabilities. These programs address housing and employment needs and are vital to ensuring New Yorkers with disabilities can live fulfilling, independent lives. The Assembly proposal also reimburses many of these support services for PPE costs they accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From daily school and work commutes to the drivers delivering food and medical supplies to our community, Mohawk Valley residents depend on well-maintained roads and bridges to travel safely. That’s why I fought to include $503.1 million for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) in our budget proposal, which includes $65 million for extreme weather recovery. This investment in our local infrastructure will not only protect travelers, but also help keep our economy moving and running smoothly. Further, our proposal rejects the Governor’s proposed cuts to the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) program and instead, increases funding to ensure our cities and towns receive the aid they desperately need in the wake of this pandemic.

“The Assembly budget proposal prioritizes the health and well-being of our families so we can all work toward a stable tomorrow. As negotiations continue on the final budget, I’ll be a strong voice for the Mohawk Valley and fight for what our communities need and deserve to recover.”