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$168 billion state budget passes after midnight

Staff Reports Posted 31 March 2018 at 8:56 am

State legislators approved a $168.4 billion state budget early last night that boosts education funding by $1 billion and also rejects some of the tax increases proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The budget was passed just before a March 31 deadline.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, issued this statement.

“Although the budget process was rife with secrecy and failed to include much-needed ethics reform, we did secure funding for many programs crucial to Western New York.

“I am pleased we were able to restore Gov. Cuomo’s proposed cuts to Library Aid – providing millions in additional funding. We secured hundreds of millions in CHIPS to repair local infrastructure, programs to support up and coming farmers, a record amount of education aid and ensured protections for our valiant veterans.

“I am concerned that we once again increased spending, failed to curb our bloated Medicaid program and must absorb tax increases handed down by New York City politicians.

“Going forward with the rest of session I am confident we can work toward making New York more affordable for all and protecting upstate values from radical special interests.”

State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, voted for the spending plan.

“There is much to be proud of in this year’s budget, namely, the ability of my colleagues and I in the Senate to block over one billion dollars in new taxes and fees proposed by Gov. Cuomo and even higher taxes proposed by Assembly Democrats.

“The Senate continues to fight for our most vulnerable as evidenced by new disability funding and substantial funding to address mental illness – specifically prioritizing children’s mental health. In addition, a record $247 million in funding will help further combat the heroin and opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

“I successfully fought for the inclusion of $40 million for flood relief so we can continue to assist the residents along Lake Ontario, and ensure government makes good on the promises made when the waters first ravaged our shores. Finally, thanks to new reforms, New York’s taxpayers will no longer be forced to foot the bill for perpetrators in workplace sexual harassment cases.

“Unfortunately, I am disappointed that Assembly Democrats rejected the Senate’s proposal to provide schools with necessary funding for resource officers. Instead of choosing to help protect our children, they opted to continue their anti-gun political posturing.”

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