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P. 1
2012 Budget Letter 3.22.12

2012 Budget Letter 3.22.12

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Published by Celeste Katz

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Published by: Celeste Katz on Mar 22, 2012
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03/22/2012

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THr
Crrv
or
NEw
Yonx
OrrrcE
oF
THE
MRvon
Ne
w
Yonr,
N.Y.1ooo7
March
22,2012
TheHonorable
Andrew
M.
Cuomo
Govemor
State
of New
York
Executive
Chamber,
State
CapitolAlbany, New
York
12224
Dear
Governor
Cuomo:Taxpayers
across
New
York
are
gratefulforyour
determination
toprovidelocalities
with
long
overdue
and
desperately
needed
fiscal
relief.
As the
Stateprepares
to
enact
its
FY
2013 Budget,
I
ask
foryour
continuedleadership
in
order
toprovidemeaningful
and
equitable
relief
to
local
governments,
including
the
City
of New
York,
and
sound
public
policy
for
the
entirestate.
I
am
particularly
concerned about
a
number
of
proposalsbythe
Legislature
related
toMedicaid,
school aid,unfunded
mandates,
juvenile
justicereform
and
pollution
remediation,
as
outlined
below.
Uniform
and
EquitableTakeoverofLocal Medicaid
Growth
Your
Executive
Budget moved
to
address
the
local fiscal
burden
of Medicaid
costs
by
proposing
a
complete
State
takeover
ofMedicaid
growth.
New
York
City
would
see
significant
savings
fromyour proposal:
$65
million
in
the
first
full
year,
growingto
$421
million
inCFY
2017.
Your
proposaltreats
all
localities equitably,
and the
Assembly
should
be
applauded
for
supporting
an
equitable takeover
of
local Medicaid
costs.
By
contrast, the Senate'splan
for
the
State
takeover
of localMedicaidgrowth
treats
New
YorkCity
unfairly.
The
Senate
proposalrequiresthe
City
topayfor
2%o
of Medicaidgrowththrough2014
and
1o/o
staftingin2015,while all
other
local
governments
would
be
responsiblefor
just
1%
of
growththrough2013
and
0%
beginningin2014.
The
Senate
proposal
-
an
effective
transfer
of
funds
from New
York City
to therest
of
the
State
-
would
cost
the
City
$500
million
in
lostsavings over
five
years.
The
inequityof
the
Senate's
proposal is
particularly
egregious giventhat the
City
seles
two-
thirds
of the
Medicaidpopulation
in
the State.
Any
State
takeover
of
local Medicaidgrowth
should
provide
equitable
and
uniform
treatment
for
all
counties,
including New
York
Ciff,
across
the
State
-
just
as
your
plan provides.
Fair Distribution
of
School
Aid
Restorations and
Flexibilitvfrom
Obsolete
RestrictionsI
ask
that
you
continue
to work
with
the
Legislature to
ensure
that any restorations
of
school aid,
including
moneyredirected
from competitive
grant programs,
are
distributed
throughthe
mainfunding formulasin
current
law.
While
the
implementationof
the Campaign
for
Fiscal
Equity
 
settlement
has been
delayed
because
of the
State's
fiscal
crisis,
as
new funds becomeavailable,
they
should
be
directedtothose
districts
most
in
need.
The
Gap
Elimination
Adjustment
(GEA)
vehicle
employed
inyour
past
two
Executive Budgets
uses
careful
calculations of
wealth
andtaxes
to direct fundingtoward
those
districts
with
the
greatestneeds.
The
Assembly's
one-house
budget
proposes
this kind
of
equitable
redistribution
of
$178
million
through
Foundation
Aid,
including
an
additional
$74
million
in
school aid to the
Cify.
TheSenate's
one-house
budget,however,
represents
a
departure
from
the State's
commitmentto
fair
education
funding by
altering the
GEA.
The State's
commitmentto our children
should not
be
distorted bythe
politics
of
geography.
In addition,
theSenate's
one-house
budget
provides
school
districts
other than
the
City
of New
York with
flexibility
to
use
Contracts
for
Excellence
(C4E)
dollars
as
unrestricted school aid.C4E requirements,
while
laudable
in their
intent, weredesigned
to
work
in
conceft
with five
consecutiveyears
of
significant
increases
in
school aid thatwere never
realized.
Freedom
from
these
obsoleterequirements
wouldprovidedistricts
with
much-needed
flexibility
to target
resources
where
they
are needed
most.
To
be
clear, this
would
not
result in
a
single
dollar
moving
out
of
our
schools
-
quitethe
contrary;
it
would
enable
the more
effective
expenditure
of
the educationdollars we
have.
This
flexibility
should
be
approved
for all
districts in the
State,
including New
York
City.
Unfunded
School
Transportation
Mandates
I
strongly
urge
youto
rejectthe
imposition
-
solely
on
New
York
City
-
of two
new schooltransportationmandates
included in
the
Senate's
budgetproposal.
First,
the
City
would
be
required
toprovide
school transportation
forall
children in
grades3-8
who
live
more than
one
mile
away
fromtheir
schools,
and
forall
children
grades
K-2
and
their
grade
3-5 siblingswho live
more than
half
a
mile
away
fromtheir
schools.Second,
the
City would
be
required to
providetransportation,
or equivalentparentalreimbursement,
for
K-6
public
and
non-public
school
students
who
are
in
school
after
5:00p.m.
and
who live
morethan
a
mile
away
from their school. New
York City
Department
of
Education
(DOE)
elementary
and
middle
schools dismiss
their
students
well
before5:00p.m.,
and
regularbusing
service
for
generaleducation
students
in
the afternoon
is
provided
between2:00
p.m.
and
4:30
p.m.
The
City would
have
to
go
to
greatexpense
to
cover
schools
-
almost
all
private
Yeshivas
-
who
dismiss
students
long
afterthe
public
school
system ends
its
day.
Together,
thesemandates,
which
are
entirely
unfunded,
will
cost
the
City
tens of
millions
of
dollars
annually.
At
a
time
when the
State
should
be
finding
ways
toprovide
flexibility
and
relief
to districts,
these
new
mandates
would
amount
to
a
costly
micromanagement
of
the
City's
schooltransportation
policy
at
the
expense
ofother critical
services.Closeto
Home
Javenile
hsticeReform
The
City
workedclosely
with
youradministration to
develop
the
Close
to
Home
jrenile
justicereform
initiative
that is
included in
the
Executive
Budget.
Theplan
would allow
the
City
to better
serve
youngoffenders
byplacing
them
in
juvenile justice
facilities
closerto
their families
and
by
providing
additional
selices
through
alternativeprogramsthat have
been
proven
to
reduce
recidivism
andincrease
publicsafety.Various
amendmentshave
been
proposedby theLegislature
to
delay
or constrict implementation
of the
plan,
or
to onlygreen-light reform
for

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