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PR: NY Legislature Passes $2.8B Deficit Reduction Plan

Senator Oppenheimer and Senate Democrats Reject Mid-year Cuts in Education Funding

Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck) announced on Monday, December 7, passage of a bipartisan Deficit Reduction Plan (“DRP”), which closes the nearly $3 billion state budget gap, while protecting schoolchildren and property taxpayers from potentially devastating mid-year cuts in education funding.

“New York’s current fiscal crisis required us to dig deep to find spending cuts that would balance the budget without harming local schools, increasing property taxes or sacrificing health care,” said Senator Suzi Oppenheimer. “My priority as Chair of the Senate Education Committee was to identify responsible reductions in education spending and avert mid-year cuts in school aid that would have taken money out of the classroom and potentially raised property taxes on already overtaxed homeowners. The budget we have passed accomplishes that goal.”

By taking a careful and deliberate approach to deficit reduction, the Legislature was also able to preserve over $750 million in federal funding for hospitals and medical services, while reducing state healthcare costs by nearly $170 million through fiscally prudent spending cuts and cost savings. The DRP also rejected the Governor’s proposed cuts in job-creation and employment programs for unemployed New Yorkers and preserves over 12,000 jobs that would have been lost from cuts to vital services.

“While the budget negotiations were at times painful and time-consuming, the bipartisan DRP that emerged from this process helps to restore New York to a sounder fiscal footing. But there are significant challenges still before us,” observed Senator Oppenheimer. “Given our slow economic recovery, we will be faced with some very difficult decisions in the coming budget year.” Senate Democrats are advocating a performance-based budgeting approach that will require state agencies and authorities to justify every dollar of public funds spent.

In education, Senator Oppenheimer will continue to push for changes in state law that will allow school districts to reduce costs, share services and expand the use of Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to achieve greater efficiencies in the provision of back-office and administrative services.

“These remain very difficult times for our State and our Nation. As we approach the 2010-2011 budget season, I will continue to fight for responsible reductions in state spending, reforms that change the way services are provided in order to lower costs and oppose changes that increase property taxes,” said the Senator.

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7 comments to PR: NY Legislature Passes $2.8B Deficit Reduction Plan

  • Lauren


    Dear Ms. Oppenheimer -

    Your PR piece leaves out a lot of information. Would it be possible to actually mention where you did make the cuts? If the cuts were “fiscally prudent spending cuts and costs savings” as you say above then why haven’t you made them before? And could you please address the following quote from The New York Times on December 2? “The Senate has been widely criticized for championing a deficit plan that largely avoided spending cuts, favoring a host of one-time steps. “  On another note directed to the Gazette , why are you letting all of this PR fluff into your newspaper? Thank you.

    • Judy Silberstein

      Lauren asks the Gazette: Why are you letting all of this PR fluff into your newspaper?

      Lauren, as much as the Gazette would like to have the resources to reliably provide independent reporting on activities of our representatives and their legislative bodies in White Plains, Albany and Washington D.C., reality is that we don’t.

      Publishing PR directly from our representatives, and clearly labeling the postings as such, fills a news gap. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than leaving our readers with no information on what our representatives are doing or thinking.

      Anyone interested in government reporting for the Gazette?

  • Y on Earth

    Last time I checked, PR was synonymous w/ Fluff. PR belongs in the press, why on earth would you expect otherwise? Public Relations, is all about the written and spoken word.

    Let’s get real: smoke and mirrors, fluff, spin, massaging, any way you say it, it’s all PR to me ;-)


  • follower of the leader

    Major elements of the plan include:

    _ $1.6 billion in cuts and temporary cash transfers from agencies to the general fund, already ordered Sunday by Paterson. The cuts include 11 percent cuts to most state agencies, which are supposed to avoid layoffs.

    _ $391 million in federal stimulus funds for education that was supposed to be used in the 2010-11 fiscal year.

    _ $250 million projected to be collected under a new tax amnesty program.

    _ More than $600 million in cuts to several programs, including health care, that don’t eliminate jobs.

    The plan includes several tentative revenue raisers, including $200 million anticipated in up-front payments for the vendor yet to be chosen to build and operate video slot machines at the Aqueduct race track and $200 million from the Battery Park City Authority, something that requires approval from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    All in all this is the usual budgetary wizay. There is also a projected new tier for public employee pensions, at the cost of a protection for ever of the teachers’ current pensions at the expense and burden of the collectivity and its children for generations. No doubt another priority for the fearless leader Suzy O. Chair of the Senate Education Committee, but one who will presumably be PR’s in other circles, such as the all-important New York State Rural Schools Association (”RSA”) and even more important circles of teachers’ union supporters of her leadership in difficult times.