Assemblyman William Colton (D–Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) yesterday reported he voted a ‘No’ on the “ big and ugly’ $175.5 billion FY 2020 budget bill, which he said included totally inadequate Education Foundation Formula school Funding.
Not only did the bill accept the original proposal of the governor but it appears to have redirected the inadequate increase to schools the governor considered most needy, rather than allowing the school districts to distribute it in its discretion of needs, said Colton.
Colton said he also feels the budget bill was unacceptable because it contains an incomplete proposal for Congestion Pricing in which all of the important details were left unanswered to be decided in the future by non-elected boards,.
“This includes how much will be the daily tolls, where the tolling devices will be, what will the exemptions be, what will be the reforms to the MTA to ensure any monies taken will not be mismanaged, among other crucial details,” he said.
“Although the NYC subways and buses desperately need funding and are in terrible condition partly due to city and state failure to adequately fund them and partly due to the incompetence of the MTA. I never will support a plan leaving out all the vital answers to a future decision by a non-accountable and non-responsive board,” Colton added,
“I will continue to fight for more funding for our schools, which are still owed about $4 billion under the fiscal equity decision. I will also continue to insist that there be a takeover of the MTA so that any monies it receives will not be mishandled or wasted. Approximately 57 members joined me to vote in the negative on the Bill – A.2009-C, but unfortunately, this bill did pass,” said Colton.
Meanwhile, across the district, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush, Ditmas Park) announced that she helped pass large budget, saying it builds on the historic progress that’s already been made this year and stays true to the Assembly Majority’s commitment to putting families first.
“An unexpected budget deficit undoubtedly posed some challenges, but we didn’t let that stand in the way of crafting a budget that truly delivers for New Yorkers,” said Bichotte. “First and foremost, this budget cares for our most vulnerable and holds true on the Assembly Majority’s promise to create a fairer, more just state for all, where opportunity and success are not reserved only for the lucky few. For the student who goes to school hungry, to the commuter who’s tired of getting to work late because of unreliable service to the innocent New Yorker who’s unfairly sat in jail for far too long, we heard you and we’re looking out for you.”
Bichotte said her focus was to alleviate the working and middle class from being over-taxed and sharing more of the cost with the wealthy.
“I was also disappointed in the shortfall of funding for the Foundation Aid, and the TAP Gap”, Bichotte said. “Our children in the most vulnerable public schools are owed $4 billion, and yet we were again shortchanged. CUNY and SUNY are in dire need of closing the TAP Gap as it has become a financial burden for the institutions and have compromised the overall educational experience for students. Professors are underpaid and resources are limited as a result of dwindling operating funds that is used to subsidize the TAP Gap.”