Assemblymember Bronson: Assembly Budget Proposal Makes Crucial Investments in Education and Housing

Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson (D-Rochester-Chili-Henrietta) announced that the Assembly’s 2017-18 state budget proposal made significant investments in education and supportive and affordable housing development - critical steps aimed toward making life more affordable for New Yorkers, particularly for hardworking middle to low income families.

“From prekindergarten all the way through college, the Assembly’s proposal makes significant investments in our education system,” said Assemblymember Bronson. “Furthermore, it invests in those most vulnerable - the hard working families that struggle to get by each day.

Investing in education

The Assembly budget allocates of $26.5 billion in school aid, an increase of $1.8 billion or 7.4 percent over last year’s budget. It also rejects the Governor’s proposal to repeal the Foundation Aid formula and increases Foundation Aid to $17.8 billion, an increase of $1.4 billion.

The Assembly continued its commitment to provide our children with the necessary resources for a sound education, particularly those in the neediest schools. The Assembly’s proposal increases Community School Aid by $50 million, a total of $150 million, and restores $25 million in capital funding for programs in struggling schools. Struggling and persistently struggling schools can thus be converted into community schools that offer valuable services to students and families, providing vital support to at-risk children, strengthening neighborhoods and preventing the schools from being taken over by the state.

In addition the Assembly proposes $847 million in funding for prekindergarten, provides financial assistance for Rush-Henrietta and other school districts offering new full day kindergarten and includes $50 million for new prekindergarten, an increase of $45 million over the Governor’s proposal.

“Quality education shouldn’t depend on a child’s ZIP code or their families’ income, the goal should always be to build a solid educational foundation for all our children,” Bronson said. “When we provide the necessary resources our school districts succeed, our teachers succeed and most importantly our students succeed with a sound education that prepares them for the 21st century.”

When it comes to helping our students afford a higher education the Assembly’s budget proposal increases the maximum award for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) by $335 from $5,165 to $5,500 per student and would gradually increase to $6,500 over a period of four years. Part-time TAP would be funded at $40 million making sure all families have access to affordable colleges.

Investing in housing

The Assembly’s plan invests $2.5 billion in supportive and affordable housing development including $1 billion for supportive housing and $125 million for senior housing. The Assembly proposal also included a new statewide rent supplement program aimed at providing subsides for low-income households facing eviction or homelessness. The Home Stability Support program would replace existing rental supplements, helping families receiving public assistance stay in their homes rather than move to a homeless shelter.

“The Assembly’s budget recognizes the importance of affordable housing, especially for our most vulnerable populations and seniors who are on a fixed income. By adequately investing in affordable housing now, we save taxpayers millions of dollars in the future,” Bronson added.