SCHUMER: WHAT THE NEW OBAMA ADMINISTRATION MEANS FOR CENTRAL NEW YORK FAMILIES AND ECONOMY- SENATOR TO LAY OUT KINDS OF NEW HELP REGION CAN EXPECT UNDER NEXT PRESIDENCY
Will Address Rebuilding Roads and Schools, Property Tax Relief Via Aid to the Localities, Address Vacant Housing Crisis, Sparking Development of Alternative Energy and Green Jobs, Law Enforcement and Health CareSchumer, A Member Of The Senate Leadership, Will Say It Will Mean Millions For CNY Over Next Few YearsAt C & S Companies, Schumer to Outline Top Five Ways a New Obama Administration Will Benefit Utica and Entire Oneida County
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In the wake of this month's historic election, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today discussed the ways in which an Obama Administration and a Democratic Congress will help Central New York families and the economy by renewing focus on major state issues that have been neglected for the last eight years. Schumer said that for the past eight years, the Bush Administration has ignored the needs and concerns of Central New York. Schumer discussed how the new Congress and the new Democratic Administration will shift focus and listed the top policy areas where Central New York families can expect change that will benefit their communities.
"The Obama Administration and a Democratic Congress will be a shot in the arm for the struggling Central New York economy," Schumer said. "For the last eight years, we have endured an Administration that has put the needs of our communities and families on the back burner by taking money away from jobcreating infrastructure projects and slashing funding, which has put upward pressure on property taxes. We are going to work together to undo past and change the relationship between the federal government our communities."
"These initiatives mean hundreds of millions of dollars in new federal funding for New York State - and multiple millions for Central New York to help create jobs, ease the crunch facing our state's budget, and avoid tax hikes," Schumer added.
Schumer highlighted five different ways the new Administration and the Democratic Congress will refocus on the needs of families and the economy in Central New York, including funding for infrastructure projects in Central New York that will help to create hundreds, possibly thousands, of new jobs; aid to the State and Central New York counties to help stave off rising property taxes; resources for tackling the foreclosure and vacant housing crisis sweeping the region; funding to keep crime down; and the provision of health care for children.
Schumer said the new Obama Administration and the new Congress have already shown its strong support for a second stimulus package that would immediately address several key areas. Below are the five areas where New Yorkers can expect significant change:
1) Funding for Infrastructure and Job Creation
For years, New Yorkers have watched as roads, bridges, highways, and water and sewer infrastructure slowly deteriorated as funding for infrastructure projects continued to dwindle significantly. Local infrastructure projects that could benefit from an infusion of funding are the Onondaga Lake clean up effort, the Port of Oswego, OCWA potable water storage project, and others. The Obama Administration, as well as Democrats in Congress, favor dramatically increasing federal spending on infrastructure to repair our aging systems, and create thousands of new jobs during the current economic downturn. The second stimulus package would invest billions of dollars into expanding and improving the federal investment for infrastructure, including highways, technology, and sewerwater systems.
The investment would spur thousands of new jobs - including "Green Jobs" in Central New York. Job creation over the last eight years has been dismal across Central New York: In Onondaga County, the unemployment rate rose to 5.8 percent, up from 3.9 percent a year earlier. Madison County's rose to 5.4 percent, from 4 percent. Cortland County's rose to 5.9 percent, up from 4.1 percent. Oswego County's rose to 6.4 percent, up from 4.8 percent. Cayuga County's rose to 5.8 percent, up from 3.9 percent a year earlier. Oneida County's rose to 5.6 percent, up from 4 percent.
Jobs would also be created through business incentives for energy alternatives and environmentallyfriendly technologies. Schumer said that as the nation works to wean itself off foreign sources of energy, we must invest in domestic infrastructure that allows the country to harness domestic and renewable sources of energy - and create jobs. A new focus on building solar panels, wind farms, fuelefficient cars, and more alternative energy technologies will boost local jobs and the economy. The jobs would also be created through business incentives for energy alternatives and environmentallyfriendly technologies. Many green companies in Central New York - and their employees - would benefit from new investments, including C&S Companies, AnheuserBusch Inbev, the Center of Excellence & Environmental Systems, Northeast Biofuels, E.S.F, and DestiNY U.S.A.
2) Aid to States and Counties
Over the past eight years, the Bush Administration dramatically slashed funding to the states for critical programs, which in turn has forced state and local governments - like Central New York Counties to raise property taxes on middle class families. New York State ranks first nationally in Medicaid costs per person, spending a total of about $45 billion last year. In fact, Onondaga County spends 8.1 percent of its total budget on Medicaid costs, putting an extra burden on the locality and forcing it to raise taxes. Senator Schumer has long called for a stimulus plan that would include critical funding to states and localities to help stave off state and local tax increases, and the severe cutbacks that have had a weakening effect on an economy that is already on thin ice.
PresidentElect Obama has made this a top priority. The economic stimulus would invest in immediate efforts to provide relief to the increasing burden placed on the states. Economists agree that dollar for dollar, funding to the states is an effective means of economic stimulus. Senator Schumer and the Obama administration want to ensure that more federal health care funding comes into New York State. A second stimulus would mean a significant boost to Central New York counties as the state struggles to cope with these conditions in the economic downturn.
3) Foreclosures/Vacant Housing Crisis
During the past eight years, the Bush Administration dramatically cut back on funding for critical housing programs that enabled municipalities to respond to rising foreclosures and declining property values. As a result, vacant homes have littered Upstate New York neighborhoods, including Central New York. There are about 1,224 vacant homes in Syracuse alone that could be razed or renovated if the funding was available, which would help strengthen up neighboring property values. And in Central New York, home foreclosures have risen over 77 percent in the last year. Annual cuts to housing programs have cost New York State billions of dollars in redevelopment funding that has exacerbated the housing crisis that has taken its toll on household wealth.
The Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress will make addressing the housing crisis a top priority and will work to reverse the damage done to critical housing programs by the Bush Administration. In particular, they will work to slow the pace of foreclosures and make sure that community development grants are tailored to effectively address the blight of vacant housing. The stimulus package will also provide assistance for families who face foreclosure and housing assistance to renters who are victims of the foreclosure crisis.
4) Keep Crime Down
The COPS program has been one of the most successful federal programs, providing vital funding to local law enforcement to put more cops on the street and ensure they have the equipment they have to keep New Yorkers safe. Syracuse's crime rate remains high with 1,515 violent crimes per year. Yet, nearly every year in office, President Bush eliminated funding for the COPS programs, reducing resources available to Central New York's local police departments.
Schumer and Vice PresidentElect Joe Biden are two of the original sponsors of the bill that created the COPS program and will work together to not only restore this program, but expand it to ensure the local police departments have the resources they need to keep crime down during the economic down turn and avoid more severe staffing cuts.
5) Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)/New York's Child Health Plus
The Bush Administration repeatedly cut several children's health care programs and vetoed the Democratic Congress's attempts to expand those programs, including CHIP. This significantly limited the amount of federal funding available to New York's Child Health Plus program which is even more essential to Upstate kids and families as the state budget situation continues to worsen. Last year, CHIP helped cover nearly 400,000 kids in New York State. Increased funding would help cover the over 400,000 more children and teens - thousands of whom live in Central New York that still lack health insurance.
Schumer said that not only will the Democratic Congress restore funding for CHIP, sending millions of federal health dollars to New York State, but PresidentElect Obama has prioritized comprehensive health coverage for all children across the country. This commitment to our children will not only ensure that more kids are covered and receive better and more affordable care, but will ease the pressure on New York State and other state budgets under strain as the economic climate gets worse.
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