SKOUFIS: Budget Delivers for Hard-Working Families

PRESS RELEASE FROM ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS

Assemblyman Skoufis (D-Woodbury) said, “This year’s budget tackles property taxes for Hudson Valley families while making our region more affordable and business-friendly. At the same time, we provide our region’s schools with much-needed funding and address student privacy concerns.”

Property tax relief in the form of a direct check will be provided for homeowners across the Hudson Valley when local governments and school districts stay within the two percent property tax cap. In the second year, localities would propose a cost-cutting plan while still allowing them the flexibility to continue to provide critical services that our communities rely on.

Additionally, the budget follows the State Assembly’s lead to accelerate the phase out of the residential and commercial energy surcharge, called 18-a, saving costumers $600 million statewide.

One item Assemblyman Skoufis took exception to, however, was the inclusion of a corporate tax cut for New York banks.

Skoufis explained, “We need to make sure hard-working families get the tax relief they need to raise a family and care for their loved-ones before we start handing tax cuts to the very banks that got us into the financial crisis we’re still working to recover from.”

NY eliminates manufacturers’ income tax

Skoufis added, “Providing our employers with the tax relief they need to create and keep jobs in the Hudson Valley is a top priority, and this budget helps significantly in relieving the tax burden on our manufacturers.”

New York State eliminates the income tax on manufacturers and establishes a 20 percent real property tax credit for manufacturers who own or lease property in the state. Skoufis had been an early proponent for expanding the plan to eliminate the income tax on manufacturers to include Orange and Rockland counties.

Additional funding to repair roads

The budget also includes $438.1 million for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) and dedicates an additional $40 million in funding to help local governments repair local roads and bridges impacted by the harsh winter.

Increased education funding for Hudson Valley schools

Assemblyman Skoufis also announced that school districts he represents in Orange and Rockland counties will see significant increases in state funding for education over last year.

Assemblyman Skoufis stated, “This year’s increases in state aid for education builds on last year’s momentum to make sure schools and teachers have what they need to provide our children with the best possible education. There’s more work to be done, though, and I’ll continue fighting for Hudson Valley families going forward.”

Skoufis is sponsoring efforts to fully eliminate the Gap Elimination Adjustment to reduce the negative financial impact on school districts (A.8720) and has been critical of the state’s use of inBloom to collect personal student data.

Skoufis continued, “Protecting student privacy has been a high concern for me and many of the parents I’ve spoken with. Taking inBloom out of the equation while reducing stress on students by making sure Common Core tests don’t solely determine their entire grade is a very good start.”

Changes to protect students from unfair testing and the sharing of student data are critical parts to this year’s budget. Specifically the budget:

  • bans standardized tests for students in grades K-2;
  • prohibits Common Core test scores from solely or primarily determining grade promotion;
  • delays the use of test results from becoming part of the permanent record for students in grades 3-8;
  • creates a “Parents Bill of Rights” that places limitations on sharing student data with third-party vendors;
  • provides for the elimination of inBloom and requires SED to direct that all student information already provided to inBloom be deleted

Overall school aid in the state budget increased by $1.1 billion, which is $551 million over the executive proposed budget released in January. Specifically, school districts in the 99th Assembly District will receive the following state funding:

School District

2013-14 Base Aid

 2014-15 Final Budget base aid

Final Budget Change over 2013-14

Final Budget % Change over 2013-14

Chester

$4,643,706

$5,214,434

$570,728

12.29%

Cornwall

$13,633,086

$14,643,795

$1,010,709

7.41%

Florida

$4,323,117

$4,722,135

$399,018

9.23%

Goshen

$11,224,040

$12,236,887

$1,012,847

9.02%

Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery

$6,956,641

$7,500,918

$544,277

7.82%

Minisink Valley

$31,198,627

$32,401,736

$1,203,109

3.86%

Monroe-Woodbury

$39,045,358

$40,304,275

$1,258,917

3.22%

Newburgh

$116,778,270

$123,058,920

$6,280,650

5.38%

North Rockland (Haverstraw-Stony Point)

$46,466,935

$50,630,797

$4,163,862

8.96%

Warwick Valley

$18,807,290

$19,631,252

$823,962

4.38%

Washingtonville

$24,790,120

$26,558,346

$1,768,226

7.13%