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Assemblyman Zebrowski Gives Pros, Cons Of State Budget

State Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski
State Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski Photo Credit: Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski/Facebook

NEW CITY, N.Y. -- Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski says he is disappointed with a number of proposals in 2016-17 state budget that was passed recently:

Although there are certainly some good things in this year’s budget, I am very disappointed with a number of proposals that were not included.

After being included the Assembly One-House resolution, my full day kindergarten proposal was not adopted.

North Rockland was excluded from a relief program to help communities with coal power plants that are about to close.

I won’t discount the positive progress that was made; like making large investments to education and cutting taxes for middle class families.

Budget highlights:

Increases in state aid

This year’s budget increases education aid by $1.4 billion, for a total of $24.7 billion which is far above the Governor’s original proposal.

Rockland school districts saw an average increase of 6.5 percent which is nearly $13 million. This increase also includes $627 million for Foundation Aid statewide.

Elimination of the Gap Elimination Adjustment

We were able to completely eliminate the outstanding $433 million Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA).

I am glad we were able to finally enact a complete restoration.

Freezing SUNY Tuition

The State budget will freeze tuition at SUNY and CUNY schools and provide increased support for the systems. We need to work toward making college more affordable.

Making NY more affordable

The final budget provides relief to middle class families by cutting personal income taxes by $270 million in 2018 compared to 2017 tax rates. The cuts will reduce middle-class tax rates incrementally and by 2025, the full phase-in will result in $3 billion in savings.

The budget also includes Paid Family Leave, which will help New Yorkers care for sick family members.

The state minimum wage will increase over the next five years to $12.50 and will be indexed thereafter until it reaches $15.

Combating the Heroin Epidemic New York is stepping up to address the heroin and opioid crisis: a significant investment of $28 million will go toward the epidemic.

Twenty-five million dollars of that funding will be allocated to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to implement a comprehensive Heroin and Opiate Treatment Prevention Package to strengthen our preventative and treatment services.

STAR Program

New homeowners will now see STAR relief through a rebate check instead of a direct reduction on their tax bill.

Investing in Infrastructure and Transportation

This year’s budget will provide an increase of $400 million over four years to the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) to help local governments with road paving and bridge improvements.

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