Statements In Support Of The 2024 Senate Majority One-House Budget Proposal

March 13, 2024

In endorsing the 2024 NYS Senate Majority One-House Budget Proposal, it becomes evident that a transformative and pragmatic approach to fiscal policy is not only desirable but imperative.

This proposal embodies a strategic alignment of resources to address pressing societal needs while fostering economic growth and stability.

Through thoughtful allocation and prioritization, it aims to fortify critical sectors, enhance social welfare, and pave the way for a prosperous future for all Americans.

Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO said “The Senate Democratic Majority’s budget proposal prioritizes helping working families across the state. The priorities address worker recruitment and retention problems by making changes to the Tier 6 pension system while also improving worker rights and benefits in the unemployment and disability benefits systems. We strongly support their continued commitment to labor standards in the construction of renewable energy projects. In addition, their proposal makes increased and necessary investments in school districts, health care, and other vital public services including in the workforce that provides those services. We thank Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the Senate Majority for putting working people first.”

1199SEIU said, “1199SEIU applauds Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Finance Chair Liz Kruger, Health Chair Gustavo Rivera, and their Senate colleagues for their One House Budget proposal. This budget would reverse cuts and make critical investments into Medicaid, putting us on a path to finally close the Medicaid gap. Fully matched by Federal dollars, this would stabilize our healthcare system which has seen a wave of hospital closures and service cuts. New Yorkers overwhelmingly support protecting our hospitals, nursing homes, homecare, and community-based services, which this budget proposal recognizes. We call on the Governor to finalize a budget which accomplishes these priorities, protecting access to care and reducing health disparities.”

NYSUT President Melinda Person said, “We thank our partners in the Legislature for making it clear that our students and educators are a top priority. Great things are happening in our public schools, universities, colleges and hospitals, and in New York we are united in supporting them with the resources they need.”

NYSNA Executive Director Pat Kane, RN said, “NYSNA applauds the Senate Majority’s leadership on important issues that impact nurses and patients. New York needs more access to care, not less. From funding our safety-net hospitals to protecting nursing practice, we look forward to continuing to work with the Senate Majority to ensure lawmakers pass a state budget that prioritizes the health of New Yorkers and our families.” 

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers said, “The Senate is standing up for New York’s students and educators by calling for increased investment in public education. We also applaud their efforts to address the issues with Tier 6 pensions, a long-standing problem and barrier to the retention of teachers and other public employees.”

Kenneth E. Raske, President of the Greater New York Hospital Association said, “The New York State Senate’s one-house budget resolution reflects several of GNYHA’s most important advocacy priorities, including a major Medicaid reimbursement rate increase for hospitals and the elimination of Governor Hochul’s proposed health care cuts. These provisions would help stabilize New York’s financially struggling hospitals and help ensure that our most vulnerable communities receive the high-quality care they deserve. The entire hospital community is grateful to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Health Chair Gustavo Rivera, and their Senate colleagues for these vital investments in New York’s health care system.”

Bea Grause, President of  Healthcare Association of New York State said, “The Senate’s proposed Medicaid rate increases and restoration of essential supportive funding are an incredibly welcome sight for New York’s hospitals and nursing homes. Decades of chronic Medicaid underpayment have taken their toll on our providers’ stability and have put New Yorkers’ access to care at risk. We are grateful to the Senate for recognizing this ongoing crisis and proposing meaningful action.”

Gary LaBarbera, President New York State Building & Construction Trades Council said, “We thank Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the Majority Conference for putting forward a budget proposal, which prioritizes labor protections and workforce development opportunities.  We look forward to continuing to work with them and our partners in government on a final budget that moves New York State and its workforce forward.”

Melissa O’Connor, President and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State said, “The complexity of organized retail crime and habitual retail theft in New York requires a thoughtful, comprehensive legislative response. As an industry, we strongly support the creation of an organized retail crime task force and related funding, along with additional allocations for prosecutors, the State Police and local precincts. The Senate budget proposal supports these priorities, and also acknowledges that the worst offenders must be held accountable by clarifying that retail theft crimes can be aggregated under certain conditions. The Retail Council will continue to meet with lawmakers and the Executive to ensure the 2024-25 FY State Budget includes a strong and effective plan to stop retail crime and promote community safety.”

Manny Pastreich, President of 32BJ SEIU said, “Our members, like many other families across the state, are in desperate need of more affordable housing. We’re encouraged that the housing plan included in the Senate’s budget is a strong step toward constructing a new housing ecosystem that will meet the critical demands of this moment and deliver the affordable housing New Yorkers deserve. If we’re going to dig our way out of this affordability crisis we need to start by building up our housing stock, increasing tenant protections and lifting up workers with fair wages and labor standards. That’s what the Senate proposal does and we’re hopeful that their partners in government will take a similar path.” 

Robert Schneider, Executive Director, New York State School Boards Association said, “The Senate’s one-house budget proposal hits virtually all of the critical funding priorities NYSSBA has identified as necessary for school districts to meet the educational needs of New York’s students. We are heartened to learn that the Senate shares our sense of urgency in rejecting proposed Foundation Aid cuts, ensuring full funding and a minimum increase for all districts, enhancing investments in career and technical education and other essential priorities. We also applaud the decision to reject piecemeal adjustments to the Foundation Aid formula and, instead, allocate funding for a comprehensive formula review by the State Education Department. Funding for universal school meals for students in all schools is among other welcome features of this budget plan.” 

Dennis G. Trainor, Vice President of Communications Workers of America District 1 said, “CWA District 1 commends the NYS Senate for putting forward a budget that will greatly advance the wellbeing and stability of our communities. The Senate’s resolution to increase Medicaid funding is especially critical to strengthening New York’s hospitals and the healthcare workforce we depend on. We urge legislators to vote in favor of this resolution.” 

Firefighters Association of NY said, “FASNY strongly supports the Senate’s budget proposal once again providing a long overdue increase to the volunteer fire and ambulance worker income tax credit. This measure would have a significant positive impact on the problems surrounding recruitment and retention, and we will continue the push for the final enacted budget to reflect this need. The Senate has also continued their support of the capital needs of volunteer fire departments by infusing an additional $25M to the V-FIRE grant program established in last year’s budget. Our local fire departments – especially in the rural parts of the state – require this support for capital projects, apparatus and equipment to best serve their communities.”

Vanessa Fajans-Turner, Executive Director, Environmental Advocates NY said, “The New York State Senate, led by Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, has championed the environment in their budget proposal. By thoroughly rejecting the Governor’s proposed cuts to water infrastructure, they’ve not only preserved but enhanced our commitment to safeguarding New York’s water resources. Their budget reflects a steadfast dedication to community well-being, making clear that environmental protection and affordability go hand-in-hand. With initiatives like the NY Heat Act, holding polluters accountable, and cutting tax breaks for fossil fuels, the Senate is steering New York towards a more sustainable and equitable future.”

Stephan Edel, Executive Director of NY Renews said, “The NY Renews coalition, representing hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers statewide, applauds our State Senate leaders for taking a clear, decisive stance on climate and environmental justice by including the NY HEAT Act, the Climate Change Superfund Act, the Renewable Capitol Act, and the Stop Climate Polluters Handouts Act in their one-house budget proposal. It’s clear our Senate leaders care about protecting future generations of New Yorkers from the worst effects of the climate crisis and ensuring that we build a just, equitable, and clean energy economy. We look forward to collaborating with the Senate to see these bills in the final budget as we continue working to pass the remainder of our Climate, Jobs & Justice platform: the Just Energy Transition Act and the $1 billion People’s Climate Justice Budget.”

Blair Horner, NYPIRG Executive Director said, “The Senate budget plan shifts billions of dollars in climate costs off the backs of New York taxpayers and onto Big Oil — where it belongs. It ends the ratepayers subsidy for gas hook-ups and limits utility rates. The Senate plan modernizes the state’s 50-year-old Tuition Assistance Program, restores cuts to vital college opportunity programs, boosts funding to higher education, mass transit, and elections. NYPIRG applauds these measures and urges that they shape the framework to a final budget deal.”

Wayne Spence, President, NYS Public Employees Federation said, “Under the leadership of Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the New York State Senate Majority’s budget proposal greatly improves upon the Executive Budget proposal submitted in January. The New York State Senate Majority provides the support necessary to ensure that the critical services provided by SUNY Downstate Medical Center remain available to the residents of Central Brooklyn while also establishing a working group of stakeholders to develop a sustainability plan for continued long-term operation of the facility as a state-owned and operated entity. The Senate also advances responsible and affordable improvements to the Tier 6 pension plan designed to increase public sector hiring and retention and reduce the more than $1 billion the state currently spends on overtime compensation due to low staffing. In addition to those top two PEF priorities, the Senate’s proposal includes:

A recurring revenue stream for the Department of Labor to enforce violations in order to protect workers and businesses that abide by the state’s labor laws;

Expansion of the Governor’s work to improve mental health services by providing a new student loan forgiveness program for mental health professionals;

A more transparent and fairer approach to right-sizing the state’s correctional facilities;

Protection of patients by rejecting the Interstate Nurse Licensure Compact, which would lower standards for out-of-state nurses working in New York;

Significant steps to regulate the use of artificial intelligence in state agencies in order to protect against implicit biases and to protect the data of New Yorkers.

PEF looks forward to working with the Governor, the Assembly and the Senate to enact these sensible proposals into law.”

Rich Maroko, President of the Hotel & Gaming Trades Council said, “We applaud the New York State Senate and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins for proposing a thoughtful budget document that addresses New Yorkers’ most critical needs. From bold proposals on affordable housing to providing much-needed unemployment insurance reform, this document prioritizes the needs of New York’s working families who are trying to make ends meet in the face of serious economic challenges.”

Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) said, “We are pleased to see the priorities put forth in the Senate’s One-House Budget Resolution released todayOnce again, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has prioritized the needs of working people, putting forth funding for issues that impact their daily lives, such as expanding for facilitated childcare, tax credits, expanding funding for cannabis workforce development, and a much-needed wage increase for direct service providers across the State. We stand ready to continue working with the Senate to pass this budget on time and continue to work to pass our other priorities in the remaining months of session.”

James McCartney, president of the PBA of New York State said, “The more than 1,100 New York State University Police, Park Police, Environmental Conservation Police, and Forest Rangers represented by our union are deeply appreciative of the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Civil Service and Pensions Committee Chair Robert Jackson, and the members of the New York State Senate to deliver retirement parity for our members by including a 20-year retirement provision in their one house budget proposal. By doing so they have signaled the critical importance of retirement parity in recruiting and retaining the specialized state law enforcement officers tasked with protecting New York’s environment, educational, cultural, and natural resources. The PBA of New York State stands ready to work with Governor Hochul and the state legislature to ensure that long overdue retirement parity is included in this year’s final budget.”

Gerry Geist, Executive Director of the NY Association of Towns said, “The one house budget demonstrates that the Senate does more than simply say it supports and understands local government, those words are backed up with funding. The proposed increases to AIM, CHIPS, Extreme Winter Recovery, and State Touring Routes would go a long way in providing the best services to New Yorkers and show a willingness to be a partner with local governments as we work toward that common goal. AOT thanks the Senate for their continued support and leadership.”

Rosemary Rivera, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York said, “The State Senate’s budget proposal shows a commendable commitment to everyday New Yorkers. From the inclusion of progressive revenue proposals to investments in climate resilience, education, childhood poverty, and more, the Senate One House is a roadmap for what working communities deserve in a final budget. For far too long, the wealthy and their special interests have profited at the expense of low-income and working-class families in New York State. Citizen Action of New York applauds Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and the members of the Senate for putting forward a budget proposal that explicitly prioritizes the many and not the privileged few.”

Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters said, “We applaud the State Senate for coming out with strong funding for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act and including other critical environmental measures in their one-house budget. From halting the raid of the EPF for staff funds to prioritizing clean school buses to funding unionized thermal energy network projects at the University at Buffalo and SUNY Purchase to pushing for the NY HEAT Act – the State Senate’s budget puts us on a strong path to ensuring our clean energy transition is a top priority in the state budget.”

Sam Fresina, president of the New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association (NYSPFFA) said, “On behalf of our 18,000 professional fire fighters, we are grateful the Senate’s 2024-25 State Budget Resolution recognizes that the recruitment and retention of first responders can be boosted by taking steps to address pension tier equity. And, the Senate’s direct support of health, training and safety programs for professional fire fighters ensures those who respond around-the-clock receive the support required to reduce the risks they face on every shift. Thank you for making the well-being of New York’s professional fire fighters a priority.”

Beth Finkel, AARP New York, State Director said, “AARP New York applauds the New York State Senate for including an additional $15 million for non-Medicaid home- and community-based services and $11.3 million in additional funding for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) in their one-house state budget proposal. This funding will help older New Yorkers age with dignity and respect, and will support family caregivers caring for aging loved ones. Thanks to the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senate Aging Chair Cordell Cleare, older adults are a priority in the Senate budget proposal.”

Robin Chappelle Golston, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts said, “Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts is grateful that the Senate’s one House budget resolution has included important provisions to fortify reproductive health access for New Yorkers. Inclusion of the Reproduction Freedom and Equity Program along with support for medication abortion access are clear indications that the Senate is taking necessary steps to advance a budget that centers the needs of patients and the sexual and reproductive health care providers that make access to care a reality. As we confront attacks on our reproductive freedom, we must ensure our state budget is a reflection of our shared commitment to breaking down barriers to care and increasing access to sexual and reproductive health care for all who need it.”

Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung, Co-Executive Directors of CACF said, “CACF appreciates the New York State Senate for the restoration of $30 million to the AAPI Equity Budget in the One-House Budget. The AAPI Equity Budget is a holistic investment in New York State’s Asian American and Pacific Islanders which not only focuses on lifting up our communities at a time when they continue to face anti-Asian hate but also strengthens the culturally responsive and linguistically accessible resources our AAPI-led and -serving community-based organizations provide to New Yorkers each day. As co-leaders of the Equity Budget Coalition – a diverse group of over 130 AAPI-led and -serving organizations across New York State — we have seen firsthand just how much our community’s need for culturally responsive support has grown in recent years. With this move, the New York State Senate is sending a clear message to AAPI New Yorkers that their needs are being seen and addressed in the halls of power.”

Rose Duhan, President and CEO of the Community Health Care Association of NYS said,  “CHCANYS is so grateful to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for standing with Community Health Centers! We asked for rate reform and telehealth parity – and the Senate Majority delivered – proposing a budget that includes a mandate to update health center rates that have remained stagnant for a quarter century; an immediate rate increase; and a change to telehealth rules that benefit patients and providers, helping ensure CHCs can continue offering high quality care to all for years to come. We look forward to working with the Senate throughout this budget process to ensure that the majority’s vision for the future of CHCs is realized.”

Jasmine Gripper, co-Director of the New York Working Families Party said, “As New Yorkers struggle with the rising cost of living, we need a budget that makes our state more affordable for working families. We commend the New York State Senate for a one-house budget proposal that includes investments in public education, fairer taxes on the ultra wealthy, and puts money in the pockets of working families. The inclusion of Working Families Tax Credit and the Mothers & Infants Lasting Change legislation are key programs that will help New York families thrive. We look forward to working with Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins to ensure these policies are included in the final budget.”

Bill Banfield, Assistant Executive Secretary-Treasurer, North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters said, “If a budget is a statement of values, the Senate’s one-house budget clearly demonstrates that union carpenters are a priority for Senate leadership. This budget proposal is a blueprint for driving economic growth throughout New York State and expanding access to quality jobs for the hard-working men and women of the construction industry.” 

Kate Breslin, Schuyler Center President and CEO said, “Schuyler Center applauds the New York State Senate for prioritizing policies that make our state more affordable for families, especially those struggling to make ends meet. Robust tax relief, like the Senate’s Working Families Tax Credit proposal, is among the most effective and equitable ways to make meaningful progress toward ending child poverty statewide and ensuring that families can not only afford to live in New York but choose to stay and flourish here. Additionally, the Senate’s proposal to establish a permanent Child Care Workforce Retention Grant program is the type of bold, systemic solution that will meaningfully address New York’s child care crisis for both providers and families if robustly funded this year and into the future.”

Gary J. Fitzgerald, President and CEO Iroquois Healthcare Alliance said, “The Iroquois Healthcare Alliance is grateful to Senate Leader Stewart-Cousins for her leadership in building on the work that was started in last year’s budget to support hospitals in Upstate New York. The Senate one house budget would restore deep cuts proposed in the Executive Budget and would increase hospital and nursing home Medicaid rates by 10% and 9.5% respectively. It provides critically important capital funding and distressed hospital funding, which is sorely needed. It also proposes a plan for sustained funding for healthcare. We urge our State leaders to work together in the coming weeks to ensure these proposals are adopted in the final budget.”

Michelle Zambrano, NY Program Director Coalition for Doula Access said, “The New York Coalition for Doula Access (NYCDA) fully supports the allocation of funding aimed at broadening doula accessibility in communities and their integration into maternity care teams. This funding is critical to fostering the policies and practices that will make Medicaid reimbursement for doula services most effective and support the community based doula workforce, ensuring life-saving support for all birthing people across New York.” 

David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President said, “The New York State Senate’s proposed budget fully funds many of the priorities that New York Farm Bureau members are advocating for, including increased funding for critical research and promotion programs. New York Farm Bureau is also pleased to see broad support for Healthy School Meals for All, along with budget money to improve farmworker safety and lift up struggling cannabis farmers. We are grateful to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Michelle Hinchey, and their colleagues for recognizing the importance of family farms in this spending plan, and we urge all lawmakers to support agriculture in the final state budget.”

Vincent Albanese, Director of the NYS Laborers’ PAC said, “The NYS Laborers applaud Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins and the New York State Senate for their commitment to working class New Yorkers in the one house budget proposalThe inclusion of a statewide PLA requirement for SUNY construction projects, funding for thermal energy networks at SUNY Purchase and SUNY Buffalo, as well as a $400 million allocation for DOT core program funding will create countless career track jobs, uplifting New Yorkers across the state.”

Thomas A. Callahan, President, NYSC of Operating Engineers said, “The NYSC of Operating Engineers applaud the NYS Senate for restoring Clean Water Infrastructure funds and adding $400 million to the DOT Capital Plan. This funding is essential to improve NYS roads and bridges and help deliver clean water to all communities and create good jobs! We also thank the NYS Senate Leadership for including SUNY PLA language in their one house budget.”

Dustin Czarny, Democratic Caucus Chair NYS Elections Commissioner Association said, “The one house budget by the NYS Senate once again invests in our Democracy by giving local Boards of Elections the resources they need. In addition to the nearly 15 million assigned for electronic poll book upgrades they also invested 10 million in aid to localities funding to support this year’s Presidential Election. As always the NY Senate shows it is committed to improving our Democracy by properly funding it.”

Charles Khan, Strong Economy for All said, “The Senate budget is substantively strong and is sure to be politically popular. Huge majorities of New Yorkers want Albany to invest in making New York more affordable and ensuring that we have the resources by increasing taxes on the highest earning individuals, highly profitable corporations and the wealthiest New Yorkers — and that’s exactly what this budget does. From a 21st-century Mitchell-Lama social housing initiative that would dramatically bring down housing costs and increase supply to the Working Families Tax Credit that would give a boost to the families that need it most, the Senate budget rightly prioritizes tax fairness and real affordability, and that’s a recipe for broad prosperity.”

Twyla Carter, Attorney-In-Chief and CEO of The Legal Aid Society said, “The Senate’s one-house budget includes many needed measures that will protect our clients from homelessness, eviction and from suffering unwarranted rent increases. This proposal also includes necessary funding for public defender organizations and Attorneys for Children providers to ensure that low-income New Yorkers mired in the criminal or juvenile legal system have access to zealous representation. Over the next couple weeks, we will work with lawmakers to help ensure the inclusion of these priorities in the FY25 budget.”

Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of NYSAC said, “Counties applaud Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senate members for championing investments in infrastructure, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and sales tax fairness in their budget proposal. Across the state, local EMS providers are struggling to stay in operation as costs outpace reimbursement rates and EMS professionals leave the profession. The inclusion of a key component of counties’ Rescue EMS plan will provide options to create special districts to fund EMS programs and ensure this lifesaving service is available. We also commend the inclusion of provisions to finally bring fairness to the short-term rental market by requiring vacation rental companies like Airbnb and VRBO to collect occupancy taxes in the same way traditional hotels do. We look forward to working with Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, and Governor Hochul in the coming weeks to craft a final budget that incorporates these proposals and other county priorities.”

Carolyn Martinez-Class, Campaign Manager for Invest in Our New York Campaign Manager said, “The Senate’s one-house budget resolution lays out a meaningful path towards an equitable and affordable New York, where everyone – not just the ultra-rich – can thrive. Making New York’s millionaires pay their fair share, and highly profitable corporations pay what they owe in taxes, will generate billions of dollars in public funds that we can invest in public school students and schools, access to affordable housing, the childcare workforce, and more. We applaud the Senate for taking New York’s racial wealth gap seriously and for standing with a majority of their constituents who support taxing the rich so we can invest in our New York.”

Michelle Jackson, Executive Director, Human Services Council said, “The Senate’s one-house budget takes a powerful stance against government-sanctioned poverty wages. Essential nonprofit workers rallied in Albany just yesterday to send a message that they deserve a 3.2% Cost of Living Adjustment in this year’s budget. This Senate heard them loud and clear, and I’m proud to have them in our corner.”

Jim Clyne, CEO of LeadingAge New York said, “The Senate’s proposal to increase Medicaid rates for nursing homes and the assisted living program is a positive step toward stabilizing the long-term care system and ensuring access to quality health care services for older adults. The Senate’s proposal to rebase and rationalize Medicaid funding for long term care providers offers a practical, long-term solution to begin to correct for years of underfunding and ensure residents of New York receive the care they need.”

Karen Wharton, Democracy Coalition Coordinator, Fair Elections for New York Coalition said, “Today, we applaud Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Carl Heastie for their leadership in securing the creation of the Public Campaign Finance Program in 2020 and allocating $114.5 million for the program in their respective one-house budgets in 2024. Their leadership on public campaign financing brings us one step closer to reaching our quest for a truly representative democracy that listens and responds to the needs of all New Yorkers, regardless of economic status. With a final state budget that reflects this funding and a successful inaugural program implementation in June, New York will rightfully and finally assume its position as a national leader in democracy.”

Maria Alvarez, Executive Director, New York StateWide Senior Action Council said, “We appreciate the Senate’s intent heading into budget negotiations on issues to support older residents by adding funding to restore cuts and improve capacity in the NYS Office for Aging budget, stopping the 2.5 year lookback for Community Medicaid from going into effect and including a proposed phase-out of the Medicaid asset test for Medicare enrollees.”

Mike Alvaro, President of New York Disability Advocates said, “We are thankful for the inclusion of a Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE) in the Senate’s One House budget resolution today. The DSWE is a critical step in addressing the workforce crisis of Direct Support Professionals that provider agencies have faced for the last ten years and is crucial in helping lift nearly half of New York’s DSPs out of food and housing insecurity. We look forward to working with Governor Hochul and the legislature in including the DSWE in the final enacted state budget.”

Lola W. Brabham, President of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities said,  “We’re grateful to the NYS Senate, especially Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Higher Education Committee Chair Toby Ann Stavisky, for their unwavering support of Independent Sector higher education and for rejecting the misguided cuts that were included in the Executive Budget. We appreciate the support for Educational Opportunity Programs and Bundy Aid among others, that provide access to higher education for talented students across the state, including those from underserved communities. We’re also happy to see funding for another round of the Higher Education Capital (HECap) Matching Grant Program included to support critical investments in campus infrastructure projects. We look forward to continued partnership to ensure this critical funding is included in the Enacted Budget.”

Larry Marx, CEO of The Children’s Agenda said, “When families are at the kitchen table, paying bills or helping kids with homework, it’s the everyday challenges that cause them stress and diminish their sense of hope. The New York Senate’s budget proposal offers hope by taking seriously the challenges so many families are facing. Affording basic, everyday things like housing, food, child care, and educational opportunities has gotten too far out of reach. The Senate is striving to change that. Whether taking the first steps toward implementing the Working Families Tax Credit, making permanent investments in the child care workforce, or ensuring continuous health coverage for children through Medicaid and the Child Health Program, the Senate’s proposed investments will make a real and lasting difference in the lives of children. There is more to be done, but this budget proposal is a start in fulfilling our civil and moral obligation to ensure every child has the hope of a better future.”

Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association said, “The Senate’s proposal to authorize restaurants, taverns, and bars to make limited purchases from liquor stores will save the average small business $5,000 – $10,000 in surcharges imposed on small orders – extremely valuable economic relief as our businesses continue to recover from the pandemic. It will also give operators the ability to replenish bar supplies on nights and weekends when deliveries are unavailable – which is very important for customer satisfaction. Our members truly appreciate the Senate’s commitment to supporting their success.”

Greg Hallberg, New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways President and Highway Superintendent for the town of Ellery said, “On behalf of the state’s more than 900 Town Superintendents of Highways I want to thank the Senate Majority Conference for its unwavering commitment to increasing funding for local roads and bridges. As local highway professionals who take care 87 percent of the state’s roads, we want to once again thank the Senate Majority for adding $300 million for local infrastructure in its one house budget proposal. Keeping this funding increase in the enacted budget is essential to the safety and efficiency of our transportation system.”

Joanna Zdanys, Senior Counsel in the Elections and Government Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law said, “The Brennan Center for Justice applauds the Majority Leader and the Senate for issuing a budget package that supports New York’s voters. By committing to fully funding the state’s Public Campaign Finance Program, the Senate, alongside the Governor and the Assembly, is cementing New York’s legacy as a national leader in countering big money in politics. We are also pleased to see the Senate include important election reform legislation and corresponding funding, including allowing New York to join ERIC, a nonpartisan initiative to make voter registration lists more accurate, and establishing an academic center to maintain voting and elections data. We commend the Senate for increasing funding for the local boards of elections that serve on the front lines of our state’s democracy. As budget negotiations conclude in the coming weeks, we look forward to seeing our elected leaders fulfill their commitment to delivering a stronger democracy to the people of New York.”

Jose Lopez, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York said, “We applaud the New York State Senate for leading on vital budget measures that would help immigrant and working-class New Yorkers have the freedom to stay and freedom to thrive in our state. The Senate’s one-house budget proposals include essential protections that would ensure that tenants are able to stay in safe, affordable homes and that immigrant communities have access to life-saving health insurance. We are encouraged to see that the Senate heeded the call of the majority of New Yorkers who seek bold state action to reverse inequities by raising taxes on millionaire earners and large corporations. We call on Governor Hochul to prioritize our communities’ needs and pass the proposals outlined today.”

Barbara J. Van Epps, Executive Director of New York State Conference of Mayors said, “NYCOM applauds the Senate Majority for acknowledging in their one-house budget the critical need for increased state support for local governments. An additional $210 million in AIM funding will help ensure that local leaders have the resources they need to make their communities safer, stronger and more affordable. Additionally, the Senate’s significant increase in local transportation aid and the inclusion of $100 million for a dedicated funding stream for municipal water and sewer systems will make a measurable difference — not only in the quality of local infrastructure but also in the lives of every New Yorker. We hope the Senate will do all that it can to ensure that these initiatives are part of the adopted state budget.”

Susan Lerner, Common Cause said, “The New York State Senate’s budget prioritizes voters, allocating funding for local Boards of Elections, the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), and the New York Voting Rights Database and Academic Center. We’re hopeful both the Assembly and the Governor will recognize the importance of funding voting rights, public financing and election integrity the final budget. As New Yorkers head into another election cycle, lawmakers must invest all they can into ensuring our elections are fully funded.”

Fred Kowal, President of the United University Professions said,“Thank you to the New York State Senate for its strong support of SUNY Downstate Hospital in its one-house budget proposal. There is no question that the members of the Senate understand the critical role Downstate Hospital plays in addressing health care disparities in Brooklyn. Bottom line: Downstate saves lives. From kidney transplants to maternal care, SUNY Downstate is a lifeline to the 400,000 patients who seek care there annually, and their strong support in the budget sends a clear message that Downstate is here to stay. We also appreciate the Senate’s commitment to providing additional operating aid to our financially troubled SUNY campuses. This effort will help our campuses continue to provide a high-quality, affordable and accessible education to all New Yorkers.”

Cea Weaver, Housing Justice For All said, “The Senate one-house resolution puts forth a clear intention to strengthen tenant protections and expand access to rental assistance. We look forward to working with the Senate in the coming weeks to turn these principles into strong, statewide public policy to keep people in their homes. New York also needs more housing — we share the vision of the Senate’s approach for a new state-entity to develop mixed income housing and are eager to address this housing crisis in the holistic way it deserves.”

The Uniformed Firefighters said, “The Uniformed Fire Officers Association, New York State Professional Firefighters Association, and the Uniformed Firefighters Association would like to thank the NYS Senate, for their advocacy and funding of our Health Screening initiative. Unfortunately, as Firefighters we are constantly exposed to a myriad of harmful chemicals and irritants while performing our duties to safeguard the citizens of this great State. Since it is impossible to completely eliminate these carcinogens from the fire ground, we must mitigate their long term effects through an effective early screening process. The monies set aside have been and will continue to provide screenings to detect cancer and other life threatening conditions common in the fire service. If we cannot eliminate the harmful effects of these exposures, we must rely on early detection and treatment to mitigate the medical issues incurred by our members. Early diagnosis will give members the greatest opportunity to successfully battle these diseases while maintaining some quality of life. We thank you for your continued support and recognition of the threats that extend well beyond the fire ground.”

Jeremy Saunders, VOCAL-NY Co-Executive Director said, “For months, we’ve brought our demands for justice and compassion to Albany, and after seeing the one-house budget proposals, it’s clear the Senate heard our calls for change. The Senate upholds policies centering the most marginalized by raising taxes for millionaires and corporations in a way that will make New York liveable for all. They’ve shown that housing our community through the Housing Access Voucher Program and Statewide HIV Rental Assistance is a top priority. Instead of governing from sensationalized headlines and myths, they recognize that increased penalties on drug users is a failed tactic, and health-based strategies like drug checkin are a proven strategy. We commend their leadership, and they must continue fighting for marginalized New Yorkers at every step of the budget process.”

Andrew Rigie, Executive Director, NYC Hospitality Alliance said, “From expanding the eligibility of temporary liquor permits across the five boroughs so new restaurants can open faster and more New Yorkers can be employed quicker, to allowing alcohol to be served alfresco in New York City’s new outdoor dining program, plus more common-sense reforms, the Senate’s one House Budget Resolution is an excellent start to modernize New York’s liquor laws in a consumer and small business friendly way. We thank members of the Senate for their leadership in supporting jobs, restaurants, and the Empire State.”

Henry Garrido, Executive Director of District Council 37 said, “We applaud Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and the Senate for passing a one-house budget that prioritizes the needs of working people across New York. We are especially pleased with new Medicaid funding for our hospitals, improvements to public employee pensions under Tier 6, and the inclusion of a COLA for our health and human services workers, whose sector was besieged by COVID and hasn’t received a pay raise since.”

Timothy P. Egan, Chairman, United New York Ambulance Network said, “Members of the United New York Ambulance Network (UNYAN) commend the Senate for supporting ambulance service providers in their budget resolution. We agree EMS is an essential service and should be officially designated as so. We look forward to working with the state and local governments to help fill the gaps in EMS coverage while strengthening existing ambulance providers. Our member companies also look forward to the working with EMS stakeholders in the development of comprehensive emergency medical system plans on the state, regional and county levels as designed in the Senate’s budget resolution. The EMS industry is facing a workforce shortage crisis. It is crucial state lawmakers invest in more on-the-ground training programs to help create a pipeline of new EMTs and paramedics. The Senate’s EMS plan calls for the establishment of emergency medical systems training programs. Also, we need an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates to match Medicare rates. This would allow ambulance providers to pay their employees competitive wages and attract and retain qualified personnel. Our members are eager to work with the Senate, Assembly and Governor over the next few weeks to ensure ambulance EMS providers are fully supported in the FY 2024-25 State Budget.”

Mark Dorr, President of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association said, “Once again this year, the Senate had confirmed its commitment to supporting the state’s tourism industry, which generates $123 billion in total economic impact for the great State of New York. Restoring the Matching Grants Program to $3.5 million allows tourism promotion agencies to better leverage state and local partnerships to bring more visitors to the state. In addition, NYSH&TA’s 1,200 members are thrilled to see language in the one-house budget that will regulate the short-term rental industry and level the playing field for all tourism businesses that are the backbone of the state’s economy.”

Laurie Wheelock, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Public Utility Law Project said, “PULP thanks the Senate Majority for their tremendous support of our organization in their one-house budget. The inclusion of a $2.25 million allocation to PULP would greatly enhance our capacity to increase our team and broaden our efforts to empower & educate low-income households, and advocate for stronger consumer protections and lower utility rates across the state. The Senate Majority’s budget proposal also takes a positive step toward addressing energy affordability through the inclusion of the NY HEAT Act, which features specific language aimed to formalize and expand the state’s 6% energy burden goal to all residential households. PULP extends our sincere gratitude to the Senate Majority for their support and we remain committed to working with all stakeholders to craft a final budget that firmly addresses energy affordability while ensuring a sustainable energy future for all New Yorkers.” 

Zachary Richner, founding member of The Empire State Local News Coalition said, “The Empire State Local News Coalition applauds Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, bill sponsor Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, and the entire Majority Conference for including the Local Journalism Sustainability Act in the State Senate’s one-house budget resolution. Our coalition’s unprecedented mobilization of more than 150 New York local news outlets in just a few months sent a clear message to Albany: it’s time to support local journalism. Communities across our state are speaking up about the indispensable role of local news in safeguarding democracy and strengthening social ties amid a time of unprecedented crisis for the news industry. The Local Journalism Sustainability Act will incentivize the hiring of journalists and ensure that New Yorkers have access to the quality, independent local news they deserve. We’re thrilled that the Senate has answered the call, and urge Governor Hochul and the Assembly to support inclusion of this transformative bill in the final budget.”

New York Library Association said, “The New York Library Association applauds the members of the Senate for their continued support of our state’s library community. If enacted, the Senate’s proposal would improve the Executive Budget’s allocations for Library Operating Aid and Library Construction Aid by $2.5M and $20M, respectively, while also retaining $3M of funding for NOVELny. As such, it would empower our libraries’ to serve their patrons, their communities, and the State of New York in through robust collections and programming that reflect patrons’ needs and interests. Furthermore, the included proposal to raise the Library Materials Aid factor to $11.00 per pupil would constitute the first increase since 2007 and tie future increases to the Consumer Price Index. Doing so would meaningfully increase student access to high interest, diverse, and complex texts that support literacy goals and stimulate intellectual curiosity. Nevertheless, even with the increases articulated, libraries still face staggering financial needs left unaddressed, including $1.75B in construction and $42.5M for operations. We look forward to the opportunity to continue working with our library champions in Albany over the coming weeks to secure these sorely needed funds and position our libraries for success.”

John R. Durso, President of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW said, “The New York State Senate Majority, under the leadership of Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, is committed to our State’s working people and ensuring they have the support they need to thrive. They have presented a budget that provides funding for meaningful and direct cost-of-living adjustments for direct service providers who do the important work of caring for our most vulnerable loved ones, and funded critical childcare program and tax credits for working families. Additionally, they have provided funding for cannabis workforce training and other essential initiatives to stabilize our state’s cannabis industry. We’re looking forward to working with our State Senators to get the Budget passed and implemented for the benefit of Local 338 members and all working New Yorkers.”

Bernadette Kappen, Co-Chair of 4201 Schools Association said, “The Senate has demonstrated their commitment to the children with low-incidence disabilities we serve – and for that, we are grateful. The $10 million investment in our workforce will help us retain specially trained and certified staff while the $50 million investment to support capital projects will go a long way for our aging campuses, many of which are more than 100 years old. Additionally, the authorization for our schools to retain a fund balance is a best fiscal practice and will bring our schools in line with other education sectors. We thank our champions in the Senate for their ongoing support of our students who are deaf, blind, and severely physically disabled. We look forward to working together toward an enacted state budget to ensure our students indeed receive the resources and support they need and deserve.”

Katie Schaffer, Director of and Advocacy and Organizing at the Center for Community Alternatives said, “We applaud the New York State Senate for including much of the End Predatory Court Fees Act in the one-house budget, as well as the Challenging Wrongful Convictions Act. These critical reforms will help to address cycles of debt and punishment and provide wrongfully convicted New Yorkers with an opportunity to challenge their convictions in court. Under current law, judges cannot consider a person’s socioeconomic status in the imposition of court fines or fees, exacerbating the harms of a system that already disproportionately impacts low-income New Yorkers. New Yorkers deserve a government that is not funded through regressive taxation and that does not allow wrongful convictions to stand. We call for the inclusion of the End Predatory Court Fees Act and Wrongful Convictions Act in the final enacted budget.”

Zakiyah Shaakir-Ansari and Marina Marcou-O’Malley, Co-Executive Directors, Alliance for Quality Education said, “We are glad to see the Senate under the leadership of Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins continue to recognize that this is not a moment to be dialing back the clock on educational equity. We are reassured to see the Senate maintaining its longstanding commitment to Foundation Aid and rejecting the Governor’s harmful proposals, as well as the inclusion of pre-K and community school funding, issues we are proud to have championed for many years. The inclusion of the $1 million for a Foundation Aid study sets New York’s public schools on a path toward true equity. The hole left by expiring federal funds is still a concern, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Senate on addressing outstanding student needs going forward.”

Jullian Harris-Calvin, Director of Greater Justice New York, Vera Institute of Justice said, “We are grateful that the Senate rejected some of the most harmful public safety proposals in the Executive’s FY 2025 budget proposal, including additions to the drug schedule, hate crime expansion, and increased penalties for assault of a retail worker, all of which would have increased the state’s jail and prison populations without delivering the effective safety solutions New Yorkers want and deserve. We applaud the Senate’s commitment to reducing barriers to community stability and justice by investing in community-based programming and civil and criminal legal services, addressing wrongful convictions, expanding access to Raise the Age funding, eliminating burdensome surcharges, and facilitating transportation to correctional facilities. There is much more to be done, and we look forward to working with Senate leadership to continue developing a policy agenda that proves to New Yorkers that they are serious about safety.”

Alli Lidie, lead for the New York State Community Schools Network said, “We envision a future where all schools are community schools. The community schools strategy coordinates relationships and resources for everyone to thrive. We applaud the Senate for their visionary one-house budget proposal, allocating $105M in new, dedicated funds for community schools—an acknowledgment of the strategy’s vital importance. Community schools work in any setting; rural, suburban, or urban; with many models – community partner led, district led, union led, and university assisted – because it is place-based work that is locally contextualized and adapted based on a community’s needs and assets. This funding would pave the way for interested districts to initiate or strengthen their community schools strategy through an investment in strategic coordination. With the Senate’s strong vision, we can take a significant stride toward a future where all students enjoy equitable access to programs, opportunities, and services essential for unlocking their full potential.”

Murad Awawdeh, CEO and President, New York Immigration Coalition said, “We thank Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the New York State Senate for championing New York’s immigrant communities, and we look forward to working with the Senate to meet urgent needs and make our communities whole in the upcoming weeks. The Senate’s $30 million increase of the governor’s $44.2 million proposal for immigration legal services is a step in the right direction, but we must continue fighting together to meet the needs on the ground this year. We are also pleased to see the inclusion of the Working Families Tax Credit, expanding insurance eligibility through Coverage for All, and allocating $250 million for the Housing Access Voucher Program. We look forward to partnering with the Senate throughout the upcoming budget negotiations to increase investments for immigrant communities, and to ensure that every New Yoker can fully integrate and contribute to our communities and economy.”

Connie Neal, Executive Director of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence said, “Thousands of New Yorkers seek domestic violence services each and every day. In fact, New York has the highest demand for domestic violence services in the country. Yet DV providers have been unable to ensure every domestic violence survivor gets the help they need due to an inability to pay experienced and qualified advocates a living wage. Hundreds of employees have left DV programs for higher-paying jobs, leaving significant gaps in coverage and programming. NYSCADV thanks Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Roxanne Persaud and other Senate leaders for proposing to provide all DV advocates working at OCFS-licensed residential and non-residential programs with a 3.2% COLA. If ultimately included in the final budget, this will be a major catalyst toward stabilizing the domestic violence sector’s diminishing workforce. We also thank the Senate for proposing to increase to $10 million the financial assistance funding available for DV survivors to support them on their path to safety. We urge the Assembly and Governor Hochul to include these important initiatives in the final FY’25 budget.”

Pat Wang, CEO of Healthfirst said, “We are grateful to the Senate for restoring critical Medicaid program funding that enables Healthfirst to provide New Yorkers access to affordable, high-quality health care. The Senate’s budget proposal supports needed investments to preserve and strengthen public health insurance programs, like Medicaid and the Essential Plan, to keep New Yorkers healthy and advance our health equity goals.”

John Kaehny, Executive Director, Reinvent Albany said, “Reinvent Albany thanks Andrea Stewart-Cousins and her colleagues in the Senate for trying to give the average New Yorker a bigger voice, and working to reduce the influence of big money in our democracy. We greatly appreciate the Senate matching the Governor’s $114.5 million for the public campaign finance program and finding an additional $820,000 for the Public Campaign Finance Board.”

Julie Suarez, Associate Dean and Director of Translational Research Programs for Cornell CALS said, “Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is delighted with the Senate Majority’s budget proposal. I’m particular thankful to Senator Michele Hinchey, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and her leadership to support our 150 year land-grant mission to support a thriving food system anchored by local farms in all of New York’s urban and rural communities. Of particular importance to Cornell CALS is the Senate’s inclusion of funding for the Center for AgriVoltaics – which will enable our faculty to provide science-based on-farm research to help farmers maximize the dual usage of farmland for renewable energy production and local food production. In a future influenced by climate change, we will need more scientific innovation to help ensure NY’s farms can produce NY foods for NY families, and Cornell CALS appreciates greatly the Senate’s restorations of critical programs that support our dairy and specialty crops farmers.”

Mikaela Perry, New York Policy Manager, American Farmland Trust said, “American Farmland Trust applauds the NYS Senate for supporting farmers, farmland, and local food systems in its one-house budget. We are especially grateful to the Senate for proposing an increase for the state’s Farmland for a New Generation Program, which utilizes a statewide network of on-the-ground partners to provide technical assistance to support retiring farmers in succession planning and new and beginning farmers in accessing land, and a website with centralized resources, events, and profiles of farmers and farm properties to aid farm transition. We also thank the Senate for proposing an increase for farmland protection to $23 million to permanently protect the land we need to grow food. Finally, AFT applauds the Senate for its proposed changes to the state’s Farm to School 30% Reimbursement Incentive Program; including breakfast in the program and ensuring its compatibility with other child nutrition programs is paramount to helping schools support our state’s farmers and provide students with healthy, local meals.” 

Raul J. Aguirre, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council said, “As we see expanding impacts in communities across New York, research is urgently needed to protect New Yorkers living on the frontlines of climate change. The Adirondack Council thanks the Senate Majority for proposing to restore funding for a Survey of Climate Change and Adirondack Lake Ecosystems (SCALE) and the Timbuctoo Climate Careers Institute. These programs serve to empower and link disadvantaged communities across the state in protecting clean air and water while fostering positive long-term climate justice outcomes.”

Vanessa J. Herman, Vice President, Government and Community Relations, Rochester Institute of Technology said, “Bundy Aid provides substantial financial support for students. RIT is grateful for the recognition of the important role private higher education plays throughout the state. We are grateful for the Senate’s efforts to restore the Governor’s proposed budget cuts.”

Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment said, “Clean water and a healthy environment are necessities not luxury items that can be neglected during difficult economic times. The NYS Senate budget reflects the immense challenges and needs we are facing in New York by proposing historic levels of funding for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act and the Environmental Protection Fund. These are critical and successful environmental programs that have improved every part of our state. PFAS, sewage pollution and harmful algae blooms are substantial challenges that are appropriately prioritized in this budget. CCE applauds the NYS Senate for their continued leadership in addressing New York’s public health and environmental needs.”

Dr. Lara Skinner, Executive Director, Cornell ILR Climate Jobs Institute said, “Cornell ILR’s Climate Jobs Institute applauds the New York Senate for putting New York firmly on the path to building a prosperous, equitable clean energy economy that supports working families throughout New York State. Tackling the climate crisis presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for NY to drive job creation and economic development, and ensure there is expanded access to high-quality careers for frontline, communities of color. The Climate Jobs Institute is honored to provide excellent research, policy and educational programming to guide New York’s transition to a strong and equitable climate-safe economy.”

Dan Egan, Executive Director of the Feeding New York State said, “Feeding New York applauds the Senate’s budget leadership. Their one-house budget proposal supports critical investments to strengthen food security in New York. The framework includes a $50 minimum monthly SNAP benefit; additional funding for New York’s statewide anti-hunger programs, Nourish New York and the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program; and the guarantee of Healthy School Meals for All New York children. Together, these initiatives will improve food security and establish New York State as a national leader on nutrition policy.” 

Christie Peale, CEO and Executive Director of the Center for NYC Neighborhoods said, “For low-to-middle income families across the state already facing an affordability crisis, threats to affordable homeownership such as predatory schemes, deed theft, foreclosure, and mortgage delinquency can lead to displacement. We applaud the State Senate for including $40 million for the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP) in their one-house budget, and over $3 million for home repair. HOPP is New York’s only free program that assists homeowners at risk of displacement with crucial services to help them keep their homes, and we’ll work alongside the Senate to ensure HOPP and repair funding are included in the final budget.”

Adam Bello, Monroe County Executive said, “I applaud state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Sens. Samra Brouk and Jeremy Cooney for listening to our needs and making the right investments to protect taxpayers. Their one-house budget resolution supports a much-needed increase to Medicaid reimbursement rates for hospitals and nursing homes, and provides financial support for Monroe County’s innovative TC3 program that addresses barriers to discharging complex care patients to skilled nursing facilities and alleviates strain on hospitals. It also provides critical funding for the Rochester Intermodal Station as well as an electrical substation project in Henrietta. The Senate’s proposal safeguards public health and safety, invests in our infrastructure and avoids imposing higher costs on local governments that would result in additional burdens on local taxpayers.”

Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans said, “I fully support the N.Y. State Senate one-house budget resolution proposals. Our community relies on the State’s support to help us grow and maintain our infrastructure, our transportation systems and the programs that provide essential services for our citizens. When you consider the fact that Rochester has one of the nation’s worst childhood poverty rates and is home to some of the poorest zip codes in the state, it’s easy to make the case for anti-poverty funding and increased Aid and Incentives to Municipalities. I appreciate our delegation’s advocacy for our city and its people.”

Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Campaign Co-Director for Public Citizen’s Democracy Campaign said, “I’m a resident of Syracuse, the city with the highest child poverty rate in the nation and a region that does not abound in wealthy campaign contributors. New York’s small donor matching program allows candidates to spend time talking to people in our district rather than being forced to spend their time talking to wealthy donors. We are excited to see the Senate and Assembly joining the Governor in proposing to fully fund this program for the coming year.”

Sarah Reeske, Indivisible Organizing Manager for NYS said, “Indivisibles always want to see elected leaders working together in ways that benefit the people. Seeing that the Governor, Speaker, and Majority Leader are committed to funding the public campaign finance program at this level of investment deserves applause. Let’s get it done so candidates can really center grassroots support.”

David R. Jones of the Community Service Society said, “New York City and New York State are becoming increasingly unaffordable to working families, with housing, healthcare, and other costs rising far faster than wages. We commend the New York State Senate for standing firm on our core issues, from Good Cause eviction protections and Right to Counsel to medical debt forgiveness, and we will continue our efforts to push for a just budget on all of these fronts.”

Kim Elliman, President & CEO, Open Space Institute said, “New York’s State Parks and open spaces include some of our state’s most iconic and beloved destinations, attracting visitors from near and far. The Open Space Institute applauds the NYS Senate for recommending increased investments in state park infrastructure and open space protection. At a time when interest in outdoor recreation is reaching historic heights and State Parks are breaking attendance records year-over-year, increased investment in our parks and open spaces is sound policy that benefits all New Yorkers.” 

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, “Poverty reduction, affordable housing, roads, and public transportation: the State Senate Majority one-house budget includes funding for priorities that are critical to the people of Syracuse. In addition to resources to address these important issues, the one-house also provides funding to increase Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) which is the second largest source of revenue for Syracuse. AIM hasn’t gone up in 15 years, so this increase is essential to Syracuse’s fiscal sustainability. The proposal to Index future AIM increases to inflation is welcomed and vitally important to New York’s cities. I thank Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Senator Rachel May and the Senate Majority for advancing these investments in their proposed budget.”

Carm Basile, CDTA CEO said, “The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) is grateful to Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and the senate majority for their leadership in building on the efforts of last year’s budget to support transit in Upstate New York. The increase in STOA is critically important to continue providing high-quality, reliable transportation services to the communities CDTA serves and to support continued economic growth in our region. We urge our state leaders to work together in the coming weeks to ensure these proposals are adopted in the final budget.”

Steve Choi, lead strategist at the Ellis Island Initiative said, “The Ellis Island Initiative applauds the New York Senate and Assembly for matching Gov. Hochul’s critical proposed $2.4 billion investment for New York City to address the influx of new immigrants in their budget resolutions. New York has a historic opportunity to fix our state’s workforce shortage by integrating new immigrants into our communities and connecting them with job training programs. This investment is an important step toward harnessing the power of our neighbors and stimulating local economies across the state.”

Laura Ladd Bierman, League of Women Voters of New York State said, “The League of Women Voters of NYS strongly applauds the Senate Budget Resolution which includes $10M in funding to go directly to local boards of elections for training and educational programs. Ensuring adequate funding for local boards of elections ahead of the 2024 election is of paramount importance for safeguarding the democratic process and upholding the integrity of the electoral system. We were pleased to see the inclusion of funds for the Dr. John R. Flateau New York Voting Rights Database as well as for the State Board of Elections to join the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). Finally, we appreciated that the Senate, not only matched the Governor’s proposal, but provided an additional $820,000 in matching funds for the Public Campaign Finance Program. Our election system is the foundation of our democracy, and it must be funded sufficiently. We urge legislators to keep these reforms in the final version of the budget.”

New York Farm Viability Institute said, “The New York Farm Viability Institute board of directors is excited and appreciative that the Senate and Assembly are restoring the NYFVI annual appropriation to the $5.1 million where it once was. The research and education programs we funded in the past have allowed farmers to be more efficient and productive, more profitable, and better stewards of our natural resources. All three of these attributes are extremely important all New Yorkers because it translates to more high quality local food and environmental protection. These additional funds will allow us to support more of this critical work that benefits farmers and consumers across New York. We are happy to see the funding for a Cornell agrivoltaics impact study. With farmland being taken out of production, long term if not permanently, this study is critical for the future of our food supply and balancing the need for renewable energy. NYFVI has received agrivoltaics proposals in the past and our farmer reviewers have always had questions about the big picture economic viability and impacts of the proposals. This study will help answer those questions.”

Jeremy Cherson, Senior Manager of Government Affairs for Riverkeeper said, “The New York State Senate budget proposal is a huge win for clean water. The Senate’s one-house budget rejected critical clean water infrastructure funding cuts in Governor Hochul’s budget, increasing it to $600 million and ensuring that communities across the state can continue progress on the backlog of critical projects. We are also thankful that the $7.5 million Hudson River Estuary Program, which supports communities from NYC to the Mohawk Valley, was fully funded in the Senate budget. Finally, restoring $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund will ensure that conservation, environmental stewardship, and pollution prevention programs can continue to make a difference across New York State and the communities along the Hudson River.”

Kim Minkel, executive director, NFTA said, “The New York State Senate’s Budget Resolution advances transformative investments in transit and aviation for Western New York and the rest of the state. It supports the growth of our economy by connecting people to jobs, education, healthcare, businesses, and opportunities. The NFTA is grateful for the leadership of Senate Transportation Committee Chair Tim Kennedy and Senator Sean Ryan.”

Bob Rossi, Executive Director of the NY Sustainable Business Council and Co-Lead of the NY Businesses for Climate Justice said, “The New York Sustainable Business Council represents thousands of small businesses across the Empire State. These businesses are drivers of our economy—an economy that is increasingly impacted by the climate crisis. We are grateful that the New York Senate’s one-house budget resolution includes key climate measures such as the NY HEAT Act, Climate Change Superfund Act, and an expansion of New York’s solar tax credit program. Our businesses applaud the Senate for their leadership on this defining challenge of our era.”

Anshul Gupta, Policy & Research Director, New Yorkers for Clean Power said, “The NY HEAT Act will put the brakes on wasteful investments in new fracked gas pipes, will redirect these funds to enable entire neighborhoods to choose modern clean and affordable alternatives, and will also kickstart the implementation of the state’s longtime goal of limiting households’ energy burdens to 6% of earnings. We applaud the Senate’s leadership in including the full bill in their one-house budget proposal to protect New Yorkers’ health, safety, and energy affordability.” 

Naim Walcott, President of New York School Nutrition Association said, “The NY School Nutrition Association applauds our senate’s inclusion of the proposed Healthy School Meals for All in the one house budget. Eliminating financial barriers for our children to access healthy nutritious meals demonstrates our leadership in nourishing the next generation and assisting working families.” 

Theodore A. Moore, Executive Director of ALIGN said, “The NYS Senate’s one-house budget prioritizes moving our state toward the green, sustainable economy that our communities need. Two major climate wins in this budget: the NY HEAT Act will lower utility costs and kick-start our transition to clean infrastructure with good, green union jobs; and the Climate Superfund will bring us the revenue we need to invest in climate projects by making polluters pay. We look forward to working with the Assembly and Governor Hochul to make New York a leader in climate action for the remainder of this budget session and beyond.”

Kelly McMahon, CEO of the New York State Network for Youth Success said, “The Senate’s groundbreaking budget proposal marks a strong step forward for the afterschool field. The New York State Network for Youth Success extends its heartfelt commendation to the Senate for adopting a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to tackle challenges within the afterschool system. This approach encompasses a range of initiatives, from allocating an additional $5M to enhance the availability of afterschool programs through Learning and Enrichment After-school Program Supports (LEAPS) to dedicating $5M for technical assistance aimed at elevating program quality through the Network for Youth Success. Additional increased investments in a permanent Workforce Retention Grant program, designed to boost salaries for providers, and an expressed interest in exploring pathways to universal afterschool access, underscores the Senate’s dedication to comprehensive afterschool solutions. Collectively, these proposals would greatly bolster the afterschool system statewide, ensuring a brighter future and more positive outcomes for our youth.”

Bobbi Wilding, Executive Director of Clean+Healthy said, “The Senate’s one house budget shows a commitment to investing in the environment to achieve a clean and healthy future. Toxic chemicals, including PFAS, lead, and many more, continue to threaten health, homes, air, and water and action is needed. We applaud the rightful restoration of funding for the New York State Children’s Environmental Health Centers, and the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, and continued investments in programs like the Pollution Prevention Unit and the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse which play a vital role in turning off the tap on toxic chemicals. Thank you, Senate President Pro Tempore and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, for prioritizing such important budget investments.”

Ilana Berger, NY Caring Majority Coordinador said, “We applaud Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Health Chair Gustavo Rivera, and the Senate Majority for rejecting the Governor’s dangerous home care cuts to CDPAP and recognizing the expensive mis-management of long-term care is not working.”

Christina Harvey, Stand Up America Executive Director said, “We applaud the New York State Legislature for its steadfast commitment to building a more representative democracy by allocating $114.5 million in the proposed FY2025 budget for New York’s Public Campaign Finance Program. New York remains a national model for campaign finance reform, where every voice, not just those of wealthy donors, is heard and valued.”

Community Voices Heard said, “We applaud the New York State Senate and Assembly for taking a first step toward a more equitable New York State. Our members know: making billionaires and corporations pay their fair share, protecting tenants, and funding public housing are key to making our state stronger. After tireless advocacy, we are glad to see a proposal to raise taxes on the wealthiest in our state, which will help right decades of inequity and invest public money into our communities.”

Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy at Harlem-based WE ACT for Environmental Justice said, “We applaud the New York State Senate Majority for its leadership in including the full NY HEAT Act in its budget along with restoring the cuts from the Environmental Protection Fund and restoring $250 million for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act – including $15 million dedicated to addressing the PFAS crisis. These measures will help ensure the funding needed to address many of the environmental and climate justice issues our state has been struggling with for far too long.”

Donna Stelling-Gurnett , President and CEO, the Association of Private Colleges said, “New York State continues to lead the nation in its support for higher education. By making additional investments in TAP, including increasing the maximum income threshold and extending part-time TAP to students attending proprietary colleges, the New York State Senate has sent a clear message that all students deserve the opportunity to pursue a college education. This investment will help fill the workforce pipeline in critical fields like education and healthcare. Thank you to the members of the higher ed committee and Senate leadership for ensuring a better future for New York college students.”

Dr. Charles Dedrick, Executive Director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents said, “We applaud the efforts of the Senate majority in demonstrating strong support for our schools. In particular, we commend the wholesale rejection of the cuts to public schools, the inclusion of additional resources to expand pre-kindergarten, and the extension of provisions allowing schools to hire retired and experienced educators and law enforcement officers to meet critical staffing needs.”

Executive Director, Kevin Casey of the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS) said, “On behalf of over 20,000 school administrators from across the state, we are very glad to see that the Senate budget bill has restored funding for the much needed foundation aid and that the Senate bill restores “save harmless” provisions and uses current law inflation rates. The inclusion for funding for free meals and extension of the retiree salary waiver are welcomed. We are also pleased that the Senate has included funding for school administrator professional development. We are encouraged and also understand that our work continues as we work towards a final budget.”

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, “We are proud to support the Senate’s proposals that aim to keep our communities safe, attract and retain talent to Greater Rochester and Upstate New York, and create a climate where businesses can grow and thrive. Greater Rochester Chamber looks forward to working with Leader Stewart-Cousins and our Delegation to ensure the voice of business is kept at the forefront, and we appreciate their collaboration and leadership.”

Harlem-based GrowNYC said, “GrowNYC is honored to be included in the Senate One House budget. We are incredibly grateful to Majority Leader Cousins, Senate Agricultural Chair Hinchey, and Senator Myrie for all their advocacy in the Senate. This funding will add critical infrastructure to our food and agriculture system by connecting downstate food-scarce communities with upstate farmers. GrowNYC’s Food Access programs are crucial components in fostering healthy and vibrant communities while simultaneously strengthening the state’s agriculture system, and so we’re thrilled to be partnering with the state to advance these initiatives.”

Holly Fogle, Co-Founder and President of The Bridge Project said, “I applaud the New York Senate Majority for supporting our most vulnerable — newborn babies and their mothers — with the inclusion of the MILC Allowance in the one-house budget. MILC is based on decades of research on childhood development that proves providing resources early in life is transformative for both individuals and our society as a whole. There is no better return on investment our state’s leaders could get than strengthening our communities and economy. This program would be historic in its scale and impact, and I urge all leaders to support MILC’s inclusion in the final budget.”

Andrés Vives, Executive Director of Hunger Solutions New York said, “Hunger Solutions New York applauds the Senate’s one-house budget resolution, which includes critical investments to support food security in every corner of our state. By fully funding universal school meals, restoring full funding for SNAP outreach and assistance through the Nutrition Outreach and Education Program, establishing a $50 minimum SNAP benefit, and increasing funding for emergency food programs, the Senate is sending a clear message: no New Yorker should go hungry. As the next stage of budget negotiations begin, we urge Governor Hochul and legislative leaders to maintain these vital investments in the final FY2025 state budget to ensure all New Yorkers can put food on the table.”

Jeff Levy-Lyons, Co-Director of Jewish Climate Action NYC said, “Jewish Climate Action Network NYC (JCAN) wholeheartedly supports the climate provisions included in the Senate’s One House Budget, specifically the NY HEAT Act and the Climate Superfund Act. These two items are bold and necessary responses to our dwindling time to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Our support stems from our deep faith and calling to protect all life on this sacred planet.”

Jessica Azulay, Executive Director of Alliance for a Green Economy said, “We commend the Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins and Senator Liz Krueger for their leadership on both the climate crisis and the affordability crisis faced by New Yorkers in every region of this state. Over a million households are behind on their energy bills while gas utilities keep raising their rates to pay for climate destroying fracked gas pipelines. With inclusion of the full NY HEAT Act in their budget proposal, the Senate Majority is demonstrating their commitment to reducing energy costs for families while bringing about the neighborhood-scale transition to clean heating that we so desperately need.”

Kelly Lappan, Chair of the LHEC Steering Committee said, “The Lower Hudson Education Coalition strongly supports the Senate’s one-house budget proposal which balances the needs of public schools in the short term, while planning for the long term. We applaud the Senate for maintaining the current Foundation Aid formula, with a minimum increase for all districts, while funding a study to look at updating the formula and data to reflect all that public schools are doing to ensure that students in New York State continue to receive a sound, basic education. In addition, the Senate’s changes to the Executive Budget are very helpful to schools with specific individual needs – whether it is ensuring a grant to Yonkers City Schools or ensuring the prompt receipt of a special education tuition rate-setting study. Thanks go to our Senate representatives who have listened to the needs of public-school districts across the state.”

Liz Moran, New York Policy Advocate for Earthjustice said, “The Senate’s inclusion of the NY HEAT Act in their one-house budget demonstrates their ongoing commitment to fighting climate change while saving people money. With New Yorkers expressing increased cost of living as one of their top concerns, and following a year marked by unprecedented flooding that left people stranded, heatwaves, dangerous air quality, and rising utility bills, passage of the NY HEAT Act could not be more important. We applaud Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Senator Krueger for championing this essential policy and urge the Assembly and Governor to follow suit for the final budget.”

Matt Erwin, President of the NYS School Facilities Association said, “As Directors of School Facilities across the State, we appreciate the Senate’s proposal to increase the maximum threshold for annual capital outlay projects. The modernization of this program will enable more schools to complete deferred maintenance and health and safety projects in a timelier manner, and save districts money in the long term.”

Sydney Altfield, Executive Director of Teach NYS said, “Thank you to the Senate for doubling the Nonpublic School Safety Equipment Grant Program (NPSE) from $45 million to $90 million. We appreciate your attention on this critical issue, and for providing the funding needed to ensure our students can continue to learn in safety and security without added financial burden to our communities.”

The Cannabis Farmers Alliance said, “The Cannabis Farmers Alliance is profoundly grateful that the NYS Senate has acted so decisively to help distressed cannabis farmers. Without the Senate’s support our industry would be on the precipice of collapse. We look forward to supporting the Senate’s efforts in securing these funds in the Enacted Budget.”

Kelly A. Caci, MA NYASP Legislative Co-Chair said, “The New York Association of School Psychologists (NYASP) applauds and profoundly appreciates the support of the NYS Senate in restoring foundation aid to schools, as well as in protecting the fiscal integrity and stability of the non-public special education sector. NYASP also deeply appreciates the Senate’s recognition of the important role of school psychologists in the provision of vital early intervention services. NYASP is also pleased the Senate recognizes the importance of safe and supportive school environments for all students through funding to combat hate speech and behavior. NYASP also applauds the full funding of school meals, to combat food insecurity and ensure good nutrition as an important component of learning and school functioning.”

Katie Baildon, Policy Manager for Northeast Organic Farming Association said, “The Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY (NOFA-NY) is encouraged to see important investments in agriculture in the NY Senate’s budget proposal. Funding for NOFA-NY’s work will improve services for organic-certified farms, expand organic technical assistance, and build new job opportunities in the organic sector. We are also pleased to see that the Senate is proposing dedicated funding to dealing with PFAS contamination in drinking water and hope this attention is a first step towards addressing the impacts of contamination on farmers and farmland.”

David Little, Executive Director of the Rural Schools Association said, “The rural schools of our state are beyond grateful to the Senate for recognizing the need to not only restore the harmful cuts embedded in the governor’s Executive Budget, but in planning for the future by providing funds to study the next generation of Foundation Aid. A new generation of students needs very different things than those who grew up under the current formula. The Senate understands this and has provided a bold plan to support our schools. On behalf of rural school districts, we say “thanks and well done!”

Liz Accles, Executive Director of Community Food and Advocates & Andrés Vives, Executive Director of Hunger Solutions New York said, “Today, New York is one step closer to Healthy School Meals for All students in our state. By fully funding universal school meals in their one-house budgets, the State Senate and Assembly have sent a clear message: no child should go hungry during the school day. Last year’s final budget included a dramatic expansion of free school meals – but it did not cover all schools. More than 320,000 New York students across nearly 660 schools remain without access to universal no-cost school meals. Closing that gap and establishing Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids would reduce food insecurity, support learning, broaden farm-to-school programming, and provide much needed financial relief to struggling families. In the absence of universal no-cost school meals, a family of four earning just $56,000 is over income for free school meals – far below a living wage in New York. This system is broken and New York students deserve better. Schools provide vital academic resources such as bus rides, textbooks, and school-issued technology to all students without means testing families – the same should be true for school meals. As the next stage of negotiations begin, we urge Governor Hochul and legislative leaders to ensure Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids is fully funded in the final FY2025 budget. New York’s students, schools, and families are counting on leaders to prioritize this common-sense investment.”

Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger said, “I want to thank Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the State Senate for their leadership in putting forward a budget that addresses the urgent needs of our upstate communities, including funding and new initiatives to address the housing crisis, protect our water supplies, support rural public transportation, and help ensure the long-term sustainability of our rural Emergency Management Services,” said Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger. “I am also thrilled to see that the Senate included both the N.Y. Heat Act and provisions of the Climate Superfund Act, which are vital to meeting the goals of New York’s climate law, both affordably and equitably. We hope to see all of these key budget initiatives make it over the finish line and into the final budget.”

Joan D. Mandle, Executive Director of the Democracy Matters Institute said, “Democracy Matters applauds the Senate for funding transformational public campaign finance law in its budget resolution. Prioritizing the Public Campaign Finance Board’s exceptional program is proof that New York is a leader in protecting and strengthening our democracy. We urge continued support for clean elections in the final budget.”

Jacqueline Simms, Ed.D., Executive Director, Cleary School for the Deaf said, “It is refreshing and inspiring when our elected officials demonstrate their understanding and deep commitment to the children of Long Island! Senator Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Senator Martinez are truly two of those outstanding individuals! They recognize the specialized work educators do at 4201 schools, such as ours, who work with students with unique and specialized learning needs. On behalf of our students, their families, and the staff of Cleary School for the Deaf, we thank these officials and the other elected officials who demonstrated their support for their unwavering and much-appreciated recognition of our school. We are eternally grateful!”

Maria Quackenbush, co-founder Dutchess County Progressive Action Alliance said, “We applaud the NYS Senate and Assembly for matching Governor Hochul’s allocation of $114.5 million for the NYS Public Campaign Finance Program in the Governor’s FY2025 executive budget! This is a long overdue action. Public campaign financing will help level the playing field for candidates and reduce the influence of the few donors capable of making large donations to campaigns.”

Peter Bardaglio, coordinator of the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative said, “We applaud the State Senate Majority for the forward thinking embodied in its one-house budget. Its support for the NY HEAT Act (S.2016-B) and Climate Superfund Act (S.2129-A) as well as the inclusion of language based on the Stop Climate Polluter Handouts Act (S3389) and the Renewable Capitol Act (S2689-B) demonstrates the kind of leadership necessary to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy, strengthen our climate resiliency, and ensure a just and equitable future for all New Yorkers.”

Anshul Gupta, of the NYS Chapters Coalition of The Climate Reality Project Steering Committee said, “We applaud Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Chairs Harckham and Parker, and the NY State Senate’s Democratic majority for their vision, wisdom, and compassion in leading on climate and affordability with the senate’s one-house budget proposal. The Climate Change Superfund Act and the Stop Climate Polluter Handouts Act help get NY taxpayers a fairer shake from polluting oil profiteers. The NY HEAT Act curtails wasteful ratepayer-funded investments in new fracked gas pipes, enables entire neighborhoods to choose modern clean and affordable heating, and kickstarts the implementation of the state’s longtime goal of limiting households’ energy burdens to 6% of earnings – all putting bill-payers above gas-utility profits.”

Samaritan Daytop Village, Mitchell Netburn: President & CEO said, “We are grateful to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the Senate Majority for including opioid treatment/harm reduction funding in the Senate One-House Resolution, furthering the Senate’s commitment to New Yorkers struggling with substance use disorder and to service providers working to combat the state’s deadly opioid epidemic. This additional funding will help Samaritan Daytop Village increase services to support the growing number of New Yorkers with low incomes and complex medical/behavioral health needs who live in communities with inequitable access to health and wellness resources.”

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