Following two days of deliberation on nearly 600 amendments, my Senate colleagues and I voted to approve our final FY2012 budget.
While the final budget maintained many of the painful cuts of the Senate Ways and Means proposal, the amendment process led to some important victories for the Second Suffolk District. I was proud to sponsor and cosponsor amendments supporting programs critical to our neighborhoods–programs that confront the educational achievement gap, prevent youth violence, and protect the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations. And thanks to our advocacy together, a number of these amendments were adopted. Here’s a quick rundown of some of our victories:
- $3M for Youth At-Risk Summer Jobs programs, which were eliminated in the Senate Ways and Means proposal;
- $17.6M for the METCO program, a $642,852 increase over the Senate Ways and Means proposal;
- $5.5M for Shannon Anti-Gang Violence Grant programs, a $1M increase over the Senate Ways and Means proposal;
- $213M for Special Education Circuit Breaker funding, a $30M increase over the SWM proposal;
- $12.4M for the WIC program, a $2.7M increase over the SWM proposal;
- $319M for the Clothing Allowance to Families with Dependent Children, a $2.7M increase over the SWM proposal;
- $7.5M for the HIV Drug Assistance program, a $3.5M increase over the SWM proposal;
- $100,000 for the GLBT Youth Commission, which was eliminated in the SWM proposal;
- $16.3M for Elder Protective Services, a $1M increase over the SWM proposal; and
- $2B for Day Habilitation programs, a $4M increase over the SWM proposal.
Additionally, we succeeded in winning inclusion of several important priorities in the Senate Ways and Means proposal last week, which remained in the final Senate budget passed last night:
- $140M more to State Aid for K-12 education;
- Slight increase to Teen Pregnancy Prevention programs;
- Level funding to State Aid to Public Libraries;
- Level funding to Head Start grants;
- $9.2M more to Early Intervention Services;
- Level funding to Adult Day Health programs;
- Level funding to Adult Basic Education;
- Slight increase to Family Health Services;
- $8M more to Community Day and Work Programs for the Developmentally Disabled;
- $304,694 more to Veterans’ Homeless Centers; and
- $254,320 more to Veterans’ Outreach Centers.
A special thanks, from the bottom of my heart, to all of you who made your voices heard during this process.