Assemblywoman Lifton: Assembly Budget Restores GEA, Includes $1.1B for Foundation Aid

March 11, 2016

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WFP-125AD, Tompkins/Cortland) today announced some details of the Assembly’s one-house budget resolution, praising the increased funding for education, which is $1.1B over the Governor’s Executive Proposal. The Assembly budget resolution provides $25.4 billion in School Aid, an increase of $2.1 billion, or 9.2 percent, over the 2015-2016 School Year. This increase includes $1.1 billion in Foundation Aid and $434 million to restore the GEA, both of which have left schools underfunded and school districts and taxpayers overburdened.

“I’m very pleased to have pushed for this Assembly budget resolution with a significant increase in Foundation Aid, part of a four-year phase-in that represents a significant commitment towards fulfilling the state’s promise of a sound, basic education for every child,” said Lifton. “We owe our schools $4.4 billion in Foundation Aid, which is allotted according to a formula that takes into account local property wealth, poverty, English Language Learners (ELL), and special needs students. I also argued strongly in the Assembly for an end to the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). It was meant as a temporary measure to make up for budget shortfalls caused by the Great Recession, but with the economy on the upswing, it’s time for significant restorations. This is critical funding that will ensure that our schools have the resources they need to give children the quality education they deserve.”

Assemblywoman Lifton has also argued forcefully for increased funding to SUNY and higher education, and she was pleased that the Assembly budget resolution reflects her priorities. The budget resolution includes a two-year tuition freeze for SUNY students, as well as a 20 percent increase for opportunity programs. The Assembly budget resolution also includes more than $819 million in capital assistance, $100 per FTE for community colleges, and increased grant awards under the tuition assistance program (TAP).

“This is a major commitment towards helping New York families afford a college education,” said Lifton. “Ensuring that all students have access to a quality and affordable college education is key to upholding the American dream.”