"I would like to thank my colleagues and Speaker Heastie for remaining strong and united throughout these important budget negotiations. While it was a long - and sometimes frustrating - journey, I am proud of our final agreement. This year's $153.1 billion budget is an investment in our neighborhoods, education and quality of life. I know it will serve as a blueprint to move our state forward and continue our progress in expanding opportunities for those that need a helping hand.
"This year's budget prioritized education. Tuition-free college for working and middle-class families is now a reality thanks to the Excelsior Scholarship Program. No one should be turned away from earning a college degree because of cost, and I am overjoyed that students will be able to achieve their career goals without the extreme financial burden many graduates feel today.
"Education is a great equalizer, but to make that a reality we need to keep driving funding to our schools. This year's budget invests in our kids and eliminates barriers so that every student can get an education that helps to shape their future. The budget includes a $50 million increase in Community Schools aid for a total of $150 million. This will allow schools to be converted into community schools that deliver valuable services to both students and families, including critical support to at-risk children, strengthening neighborhoods and preventing schools from being taken over by the state. This budget will also work to protect public libraries, an essential part of our neighborhoods. Additional funding was allocated to ensure that they can continue to provide services and resources to residents.
"A secure, affordable place to live is vital to every family's health and stability, particularly for children. This budget allocates $200 million for New York City Housing Authority capital repairs, $150 million for the Middle-Income Housing Program, $125 million for senior housing, and $41 million for home ownership programs. By ensuring that every household has adequate support brings stability and vitality to our neighborhoods.
"Millions of New Yorkers rely on mass transportation and ridership is only growing, so we must make smart investments when it comes to our infrastructure. The Assembly secured $65 million for the MTA Capital Plan to help accommodate more passengers and improve efficiency.
"New Yorkers should never have to worry about the water coming out of our faucets and drinking fountains. This budget includes $200 million for drinking and wastewater infrastructure improvements in New York City's watershed. We have all seen the devastating effects contaminated and polluted water can have on a community. Clean water is absolutely essential to our health and safety, it is important that we make robust investments in replacing our pipes and water mains.
"My colleagues and I work hard to ensure a fair and equitable quality of life for all, and I am confident this budget does exactly that," said Assemblymember Mark Gjonaj.