Tuesday, April 4, 2017

News From Assemblyman Blake - We Are Doing Our Job in Albany -Blame the Republicans For No Budget

Statement on the Assembly passing the state budget extender to protect funding for schools, emergency services, vital programs

I voted to keep state government operating (A.7067/A.7068). Passing a budget extender, when we have been working very hard to come to a full budget agreement, is a hard decision to make; but it’s the responsible thing to do. A government shutdown absolutely had to be avoided.

“If the state had shut down, funding to schools and emergency services would have stopped. Lifesaving programs – such as those that help seniors afford their prescription drugs, food and housing assistance for the poor, and care for the sick and disabled – would have lapsed. Our schools, which are owed the most Foundation Aid/Campaign for Fiscal Equity funding in New York City, and our hospitals such as the Bronx Lebanon Clinic and Montefiore Clinic, deserved for us to give them some resolve now rather than waiting for us to address other critical issues. We can’t let disagreements in government become threats to the health and well-being of millions of New Yorkers.

“Now, with the extender in place as a safety net, we must focus on passing a comprehensive, fiscally responsible, fair state budget this week that addresses: #RaiseTheAge so that 16 and 17 year olds are no longer tried as adults in Criminal Court, Education funding, particularly Foundation Aid, Community School and Advanced Placement funding, affordable housing and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), and Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprises.

“School budget votes are next month, and without a state spending plan, districts would be left in the dark regarding how much funding they will have for the next school year. I will keep fighting to ensure that a final state budget delivers for families in The Bronx.

I salute Speaker Carl Heastie, the first Black Speaker in New York State history and currently the only Black Speaker in the country, for standing up for the rights for young people, especially young people of color, by demanding that we #RaiseTheAgeRight.”

Statement in response to NY Senate Republicans disparaging comments about the #RaiseTheAge budget negotiations

The reprehensible comments about #RaiseTheAge by New York State Senators Ashkar, Omara, Croci, Young, Funke, Robach and their allies are absolutely disgusting, blatant lies to distort the reputation of communities of color and intentionally inserts confusion on who would be eligible for this opportunity of being treated as a young person.  #RaiseTheAge is the effort so that 16 and 17 year olds are no longer tried as adults in criminal court..  They are knowingly lying about individuals who would not be removed from criminal court for political gain.  They should actually try to work with us in a bi-partisan manner and follow the exemplary leadership of Speaker Carl Heastie, who is focused on helping young people rather than writing a headline at their expense.

These Senate Republicans may not realize it, but, the words they used to describe these young people, some of whom have been charged non-violent crimes and are awaiting trial, is the epitome of Trump-like fear mongering; racially charged, divisive in nature, and utterly appalling.  They should take time to learn the story of #KaliefBrowder, a young man who was arrested for allegedly stealing something as simple as a bookbag and spent almost three years in solitary confinement before being driven to suicide.

The New York State Senate Republicans casting these atrocious words should focus on doing their job to ensure that hard working government workers get paid on time, which the extender Bill will allow, while we continue to responsibly debate these critical issues.  Now is not the time for rhetoric.  Stop the behavior of using racist and discriminatory innuendos, grow up and realize that now, more than ever, is the time to #RaiseTheAge and #RaiseTheAgeRIGHT!

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