FOLLOWING TODAY'S SENATE VOTE ON OBAMA STIMULUS PACKAGE:
SCHUMER: FEDERAL ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE WILL BE A GOOD BOOST FOR UPSTATE NEW YORK - SENATOR DETAILS EXPECTED IMPACT ON NEW YORK STATE
Schumer Fought to Secure Direct Budget Aid for NYS and Localities; Education Funding; Infrastructure Dollars; College Tuition Tax Credit; and More in Senate Bill
Senator Outlines Details of Bill and Process Moving Forward; Vows to Fight to Make it Better, Restore Cuts in Conference
Schumer: Senate Economic Stimulus Package a Leaner, Tougher Bill That Eliminates Pork and
Following today’s Senate vote on the economic stimulus package,U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the Senate version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes millions in direct budget aid for New YorkState localities – a provision Schumer fought to include; and critical funding for education, infrastructure, weatherization, an increased and enhanced college tuition tax credit and local law enforcement programs like the COPS program. Schumer said that though the stimulus package will certainly help alleviate the state’s budget crunch, it won’t eliminate the problems and tough choices county and state officials are going to have to make. Over the past several months, as Upstate New York counties face an historic budget deficit and the national economy continues to decline, Schumer has fought to secure the much-needed funding for the state in the Senate bill to help close budget gaps, create and save jobs, and stave off property tax hikes. Schumer vowed to continue to fight for the funding as the bill goes into a House-Senate conference, and said he would fight to restore the education cuts in the bill.
“The Senate economic stimulus bill will be very good for Upstate New York. The Senate bill is a leaner, tougher bill that eliminates much of the pork in the House bill and focuses on the three main functions of the Obama stimulus package: creating jobs, cutting taxes for the middle class, and building a stronger, more viable infrastructure project,” Schumer said.
Schumer today detailed the many ways the economic stimulus package will help Upstate New York families and get the economy moving again.
Schumer today announced that the economic stimulus package includes an $86.6 billion boost in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) over the next nine quarters. New York will receive a total of approximately $10 billion, with Upstate New York counties slated to get a direct injection of approximately $737 million. Currently, Medicaid is funded using a formula that determines how much the federal government contributes and how much the state is obligated to pay for Medicaid services. In New York, the federal government covers just 50 percent of Medicaid costs. New York is one of eleven states that divide the remaining bill between the state and the counties, putting a massive burden on county budgets. As a result of this, Upstate New York counties expect to pay $1.580 billion in Medicaid expenses this year.
Because New York counties are faced with such a large share of Medicaid expenses, Senator Schumer fought to make sure that a portion of the FMAP boost for New York would go directly to the counties. In the bill that passed the Senate today:
Counties in the Capital Region will receive approximately $42.8 million in budget reliefover the next year.
Counties in Central New Yorkwill receive approximately $44.1 million in budget relief over the next year.
Counties in theHudsonValley will receive approximately $104.6 million in budget relief over the next year.
Counties in the North Country will receive approximately $23.7 million in budget relief over the next year.
Counties in the Rochester-FingerLakeswill receive approximately $55.8 million in budget relief over the next year.
Counties in the Southern Tier will receive approximately $27 million in budget relief over the next year.
Counties inWestern New York will receive approximately $70.4 million in budget relief over the next year.
With all states facing massive budget deficits due to declining tax revenues, many are considering enormous cuts to education, including teacher lay-offs and cuts to important programs. Other states are considering raising property taxes to make up the shortfalls. The bill that passed the Senate today will send New YorkState billions of dollars to prevent cuts and tax increases, and to make sure schools continue to make the grade. Schumer noted that some education funding was cut from the Senate bill, but said that much of the funding for the much-needed state fiscal stabilization fund remained intact. Schumer said that this funding will help to make up budget shortfalls. Schumer also vowed to fight to restore the cuts in conference.
For New YorkState, the bill includes:
$1.9 billion for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund to prevent massive cuts to education. New York spends approximately one-third of all tax revenue on education. All states, including New York, face massive budget deficits due to declines in the tax base. This funding will help make up that difference and prevent cuts to education, teacher lay-offs, and property tax increases. $862 million for Special Education Part B State Grants to help educate individuals with disabilities. The federal government currently funds IDEA at only 17 percent. This bill raises the federal contribution to an unprecedented 27 percent.
$1.1 billion for Title I of No Child Left Behind. No Child Left Behind has been chronically underfunded, which means schools have had to live up to the demands of NCLB without the resources to do so. This funding is a much needed injection of funds to help schools meet the requirements of NCLB.
Schumer has pushed for investments in infrastructure to help rebuild New York’s aging water and sewer infrastructure and crumbling roads, highways and bridges. Investments in physical and cyber technology will put New Yorkers immediately to work rebuilding roads and bridges that will create more efficient infrastructure in the future. Schumer said the hundreds of millions of dollars in new stimulus funding would go directly to long-delayed projects, giving Upstate New York infrastructure a significant and overdue boost. The bill includes:
$87.5 million through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to address the backlog of drinking water infrastructure needs
$439.3 million through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to address the backlog of clean water infrastructure needs
$992.3 million in Highway Funding to be used on activities eligible under the Federal-aid Highway Program’s Surface Transportation Program and could also include rail and port infrastructure activities at the discretion of the states
$1.2 billion in Transit Formula Funding for investments in mass transit
COLLEGE TUITION TAX CREDIT:
The stimulus bill that passed the Senate today included Senator Schumer’s new tax credit for families paying college tuition. The new credit of $2,500 represents an overall benefit that is at least two-and-a-half times greater than the current tax deduction available under law. The House stimulus bill included the same provision, and Schumer vowed today to make sure that the tuition tax credit is included in the final version of the bill that comes out of the conference committee. With the skyrocketing cost of tuition, and the need for higher education in the global economy, Schumer said this new, expanded tax credit will give families the means to provide their children with a college education.
OTHER TAX BREAKS FOR NEW YORK FAMILIES
The stimulus package that passed the Senate today includes tax breaks for struggling middle class families across New York. Schumer today said that combined with the spending programs, these tax cuts will help New York families and businesses get through this economic crisis. The Making Work Pay Tax Credit will put money directly into the hands of New York families. The bill also will protect millions of middle-class New Yorkers from the Alternative Minimum Tax in 2009.
Up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for married couples for the Making Work Pay Tax Credit
$300 to Social Security beneficiaries, SSI recipients, and disabled veterans
Up to $15,000 for the Improved Homebuyer Tax Credit for all those who purchase a home in the next year.
$2,500 for the College Tuition Tax Credit (an increase in the tax credit for higher education and allowing the credit for four full years)
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 would protect over 26 million working families across the nation from the Alternative Minimum Tax, representing thousands of dollars in additional income taxes. According to the Congressional Research Service, 3,142,000 New Yorkers would be protected from the Alternative Minimum Tax in 2009.
FUNDS FOR SENIORS & FAMILIES TO WEATHERIZE THEIR HOMES:
With Upstate New York seniors and families expected to pay a total of $8.4 billion on utility bills this year, Schumer today said that the federal economic stimulus bill will include nearly $235 million in weatherization funds for New York seniors and families to help reduce their sky-high home heating costs and create thousands of new jobs. This investment will save families up to $800 each on their utility bills and will create approximately 18,000 jobs in New York alone. It will also make New York more energy efficient and begin to reduce our dependence on volatile foreign sources of energy.
FUNDS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT:
The stimulus package that passed the Senate today includes millions of dollars for New York law enforcement efforts. It is a sad reality that during economic downturns, crime increases, and funds to hire more law enforcement personnel to combat rising crime are hard to come by. Increases in grant programs that send New York millions of dollars each year will help New York combat rising crime, and help police departments maintain current employment levels. Many communities face massive budget deficits and without this help, may be forced to lay-off police officers. Schumer today vowed to make sure this vital funding remained in the final version of the bill, so that safety was not short-changed. The bill includes:
$96 million in COPS grants to hire and rehire local law enforcement officials. Schumer fought to make sure this funding was included in the bill so that local police departments could afford to maintain current staffing levels or hire new officers to combat rising crime.
$68.4 million in Byrne/JAG grants to support law enforcement efforts
$6.2 million for crime victims compensation and assistance
$1 million in Internet Crimes Against Children Grants to help law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative response to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or other computer technology to sexually exploit children
$17.5 million in Violence Against Women Grants for victim services programs to improve the criminal justice system’s response to violent crimes against women and to assist victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking who are in need of transitional housing, short-term housing assistance, and related support services