Assemblymember Wallace: Assembly Budget Proposal Invests in Our Schools and Provides Relief for College Debt

March 21, 2017

Assemblymember Monica Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that the Assembly’s 2017-18 state budget proposal includes vital investments in education and more support for college students.

“The budget proposal I helped pass reflects my strong commitment to strengthening public schools and making sure our children have every opportunity to succeed,” said Wallace. “An investment in our schools is an investment in our future.”

Funding for public schools

The Assembly’s state budget proposal provides a total of $26.3 billion in education funding, an increase of $887 million over the executive’s proposal and $1.8 billion more than last year.

The Assembly also rejects the executive’s repeal of the Foundation Aid formula and instead includes some changes to the formula to accurately reflect the cost of educating a child living in New York and accounting for current numbers of children in poverty. It also distinguishes Community Schools Aid as an independent category to ensure these schools receive the funding they need. The Assembly’s proposal increases Foundation Aid by $1.4 billion for a total of $17.8 billion for the 2017-18 school year.

The Assembly’s budget proposal also provides $25 million for Career and Technical Education (CTE) statewide to ensure students are well-prepared to take on good-paying jobs after graduation.

“Foundation Aid helps ensure that schools and teachers have equal support and resources to provide our children with the best education possible,” said Wallace. “Additionally, we need to ensure they are prepared to utilize their skills in the job market upon graduation.”

Supporting higher education

The Assembly’s budget proposal includes significant support for higher education. The maximum annual Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) award would be increased by $335, bringing it to $5,500 per year, with gradual increases up to $6,500 over a four-year period.

The proposal also allocates $40 million for Part-time TAP at community colleges, helping students afford college while balancing work and family responsibilities.

To help adults struggling with college loan debt, this year’s budget proposal requires the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) and the Dormitory Authority (DASNY) to come up with a plan to refinance debt for New York State residents who have been out of college for at least 10 years. In addition, the budget proposal creates a refundable tax credit equal to 5 percent of the amount of interest deducted on an education loan claimed on the taxpayer’s federal income tax return.

“The crushing cost of college debt is preventing many people from buying homes and starting families,” said Wallace. “We need to do more to help New Yorkers gain from the investment of a college education, not go broke from it.”

Expanding options for child care

The Assembly proposal is also a staunch advocate for families and fights to reduce the burden of child care expenses. To this end, the proposal allows a 12-month work exemption to families with a child under the age of 1 receiving temporary assistance in the event that the commissioner of the local social services district can’t provide all eligible families with a child care subsidy.

“Access to affordable child care is a crucial component when raising a family and providing a solid foundation for a child’s future,” Wallace said.

The proposal also enhances the Child and Dependent Care Credit for taxpayers earning between $50,000 and $150,000. The credit is based on a sliding income scale for working parents who pay for child care or those who live with a spouse or dependent who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care.

Protecting public libraries

The Assembly’s budget proposal restores $4 million in aid to public libraries, for a total of $95.6 million, and provides $25 million in capital funds for libraries, which is $11 million more than the executive’s proposal.

“Our local public libraries are an essential part of our community,” said Wallace. They not only offer education materials, access to technology and job search resources, but they can be pivotal centers for learning and growth for younger generations.”