Assembly GOP, including Hawley and Norris, don’t want state cuts for library construction

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 February 2022 at 2:43 pm

Local State Assembly members – Steve Hawley of Batavia and Mike Norris of Lockport – are among 42 Republicans in the Assembly who signed a letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, requesting that the capital funding budget for libraries not be cut.

The proposed executive budget increases funding for library operating grants, the Republican members say they are alarmed to see that the governor’s plan slashed capital funding for library construction projects by $20 million, a 59% cut from last year’s state budget.

“There should be no barrier when it comes to providing our constituents with the essential tools necessary for their betterment,” the letter states. “Our constituents, who range from toddlers to the elderly, depend significantly on the services provided by our libraries. In addition, access to resources for job training, start-up businesses, consumer health, education, financial and technology training come from our libraries.”

In their letter, Republican members argue that since the executive budget proposes a 7.2% increase in school funds, library capital funding should be restored given the role libraries play in educating the public.

“Libraries are critical resources to people of all ages and backgrounds throughout New York state, providing our residents an equitable means of accessing information and technology vital to their success and happiness,” Hawley said. “A great equalizer for those willing to make the most of the opportunities they provide, we would be holding back the potential of our best and brightest New Yorkers by allowing library funding to be decimated as has been proposed by our governor. As someone who considers themselves a true believer in the American dream, I cannot overstate what a loss this cut would be for people with big ideas and limited personal resources.”