Finch Fighting For Local Libraries As Budget Talks Continue

February 27, 2018

As budget talks continue, Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport) is working with his colleagues to restore proposed cuts to funding for public libraries in the governor’s executive budget.

“Our libraries are critically important community resources. They’re continuing education centers. In rural areas across the state where many families still don’t have broadband internet access, the local library is a place where you can get connected to job opportunities, fill out college applications or even file a tax return. For one half of one percent of our total state budget, we can provide children with a priceless trove of information and instill a life-long love of reading and learning,” said Finch.

The governor wants to cut library aid by $4 million.

“Based on the funding formula in state statute, we should actually be increasing funding for libraries across the state by $7 million. For years, we’ve asked them to do more with less. They’ve consistently been ahead of the curve when it comes to creating efficiencies and sharing services,” said Finch.

“I would be very supportive of increasing the funding. What I’m adamant about is that we must restore the cut, and that’s the message I’m sharing with my colleagues in the Legislature as we continue to work on passing the budget.”

According to the New York State Library Association, a 2017 Siena Poll found that library use is up across the state. The trend cuts across all demographics, but the poll found a substantial increase in usage for households making less than $50,000 a year.

“Access to educational resources is access to opportunity. We increase public education funding every year. We should make a corresponding investment in our public libraries,” said Finch.

The Siena poll would indicate that most New Yorkers agree, with nearly 92 percent saying their local library is an important part of their local education system.