Assembly Budget Preserves Vital Programs

Restores cuts to the public assistance grant, Safe Harbour program and Early Intervention

Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson (D-Rochester/Chili/Riga/Rush/Wheatland) announced the passage of an Assembly budget proposal that maintains essential programs for children with special needs and families struggling during this economic downturn.

Rejecting costly co-pays

The Assembly budget rejects the plan to increase or establish co-pays for Medicaid, Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus. This $7.5 million restoration will help families better afford health services.

“Families are already scrimping and saving in this tough economic environment,” Bronson said. “It would be unfair for the state of New York to nickel-and-dime struggling families in need of medical care by raising co-pays and fees at the doctor’s office and the local pharmacy.”

Public assistance for those in need

The Assembly provides $27.8 million for the third and final phase of the public assistance grant increase to take effect on Nov. 15, 2011, which the executive proposal delays until July 1, 2012.

“The falling economic tide over the past few years has lowered all boats,” Bronson said. “If we delay the public assistance grant increase for struggling Monroe County residents, they and their families risk being run aground.”

Safe Harbour maintained

The Assembly budget restores $3 million for the Safe Harbour program that was eliminated in the executive budget. The program was passed by the Legislature in 2008 for the protection of sexually exploited youths in New York. The program would provide children under the age of 18 who have been subject to sex trafficking with critical services to rehabilitate their health and well-being.

“The sexual exploitation of a child is a shocking and atrocious crime, and the trauma endured by the victims of these acts is too awful for words,” Bronson said. “These brave individuals are reaching out to us for help in rebuilding their lives – it would be especially cruel to deny them the support they need at such a critical time.”

Early Intervention for children

The Assembly proposal also maintains Early Intervention (EI) reimbursement rates at current levels, rejecting an executive proposal to reduce rates by 10 percent. The total restoration for EI is $11.6 million for 2011-12.

“It’s no accident that New York State has one of the best Early Intervention programs in the country,” Bronson said. “It’s because we place a high value on protecting vulnerable infants and toddlers, and we make the needed investment to reflect this value.”

Additional restorations

The Assembly budget restores $36.3 million for various programs, including:

  • Child care demonstration projects ($5.3 million);
  • Wage Subsidy Program ($5.2 million);
  • Settlement Houses ($1 million);
  • Child care SUNY/CUNY ($949,000);
  • Supplemental Homelessness Intervention Program ($581,000);
  • Refugee resettlement ($289,000);
  • Disability Advocacy Program ($279,000);
  • ACCESS – Welfare to Careers ($144,000);
  • Caretaker relative/kinship ($144,000); and
  • Emergency homeless ($500,000).

The Assembly also restores funding for prevention programs in the Office of Children and Family Services, which include:

  • Youth Development & Delinquency Prevention/Special Delinquency Prevention Program ($14.2 million);
  • Runaway and Homeless Youth ($2.4 million);
  • Settlement Houses ($451,000); and
  • Kinship ($339,000).