Senator Ken LaValle Releases New State Budget Highlights for Long Islanders

Written by Long Island News & PR  |  04. April 2018

Long Island, NY - April 4, 2018 - Senator Ken LaValle announced that the newly approved NY State Budget highlights include many benefits for Long Islanders.
  • $1 Billion Increase In Funding for Schools
  • Maintains Middle Class Tax Cuts
  • STAR Property Tax Rebate Program Continued
  • Property Tax Rebate Checks Increased
  • Record Investment in Opioid Abuse Prevention
Senator Ken LaValle said, “Despite being an extremely challenging budget year, we were able to provide new funds for education and rebate checks, preserve more property in the Pine Barrens and continue to fund the STAR property tax relief program.  We continue to invest in Long Island and protect taxpayers to work towards a better future, while maintaining a 2% Cap on State Spending.”
Increasing Education Funding to Help Children Succeed
Senator LaValle said, “As a former teacher and principal, maintaining a quality education for our children has always been a priority of mine.  The state budget this year includes substantial funding to ensure students have the proper tools for learning.”
The education budget includes record support for schools of $26 billion, which represents an increase of $1 billion over last year’s funding. This increase continues our commitment to funding education at a rate higher than the growth of the rest of the budget.
Other highlights include:
  • Nearly doubling the Governor’s Foundation Aid proposal with $281 million in additional funding, for a total increase of $619 million;
  • Fully funding expense base aids at $240 million;
  • Increasing funding for charter schools;
  • Increasing funding for STEM programs in nonpublic schools by $10 million for a total of $15 million;
  • Continuing $15 million in security grants for non-public schools;
Continuing the Middle-Class Tax Cuts; Maintaining STAR rebate program & Increased Property Tax Rebate
Senator Ken LaValle said, “We have continued tight fiscal discipline at the state government level now for 8 years in a row.  As I fight for the 2% self-maintained State Spending Cap to be made permanent, it has saved taxpayers nearly $52 Billion over the last 8 years.” He continued, “By adhering to this Spending Cap, we have been able to maintain the Middle-Class tax cuts that we implemented, plus protect the STAR Property Tax Rebate program, and increase the Property Tax Rebate Check Program reimbursement amounts.”
The state budget protects the highly-successful STAR Property Tax Relief, and rejected the Governor’s proposed Cap on STAR benefits.  The Property Tax Rebate Check Program that was instituted over the last few years has also been extended with many homeowners projected to see their rebate checks double.
Providing Record Support for Heroin and Opioid Abuse Prevention and Treatment
Senator Ken LaValle said, “Heroin and opioid addition continue to harm our communities. The new budget provides major increases in funding as we continue to fight this crisis together.  While we have made progress over the last few years both legislatively and within the budget, there is still a long way to go. Be assured, I remain dedicated to eradicating the Heroin and Opioid epidemic and its effect upon our families.”
The budget includes a major increase in funding to combat the opioid epidemic for a new record investment of $247 million. Among the highlights are:
  • $10.6 million to support services including more residential treatment beds, a new Recovery and Community Outreach Center, and an Adolescent Clubhouse program to provide peer support activities and events that help maintain a sober and substance-free lifestyle;
  • $3.8 million for the development and implementation of substance use disorder treatment in local jails; and
  • $1.5 million for the creation of an Independent Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Ombudsman to assist individuals in receiving appropriate health insurance coverage.
In addition to the record funding, the budget includes an initiative to help prevent and address an increase in the number of babies born addicted to opioids. The budget creates a new program and provides $1 million to further educate and assist health care providers in caring for expectant mothers and new parents with substance use disorders and help ensure they receive appropriate care, with an additional $350,000 provided for infant recovery centers.
The budget also prohibits prior authorization for outpatient substance abuse treatment to ensure people are able to get the help they need immediately.  We also make permanent the state’s certified peer recovery program, where those in recovery utilize their expertise and experiences to promote the success of others battling substance abuse.
To help increase the tools available to law enforcement to get dangerous drugs off the streets, the budget adds two new derivatives of fentanyl and several new hallucinogenic drugs, synthetic cannabinoids, and cannabimimetic agents to the state’s controlled substances schedule.

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