March 30, 2013

State budget cuts disability funding, raises school aid

PLATTSBURGH — Early Friday, New York lawmakers approved a $135.1 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year. 

A 9.2 percent increase in Municipal Transportation Authority funding is seen here as a boost to the North Country.

“In particular,” President and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce Garry Douglas said, “this is good for a major customer of Bombardier, Nova Bus and other transportation equipment companies. 

“It means great contract opportunities for the business we are in.”

As well, “another $150 million was laid out for the Regional Economic Development Councils, further helping our job creators grow and develop our economy,” Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury) said in a prepared statement.

The North Country version of the regional councils has won about $200 million in the two years it has competed for funding through that state source.


Key spending adjustments in the budget allow a 4 percent increase in aid to schools, with a total $805 million in additional funding. 

High-needs school districts will get 71 percent of that.

“Most of our schools got a nice pop in their funding this year,” Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) said by phone en route back home after a long few days of negotiations. 

“We were able to get significant increases for them to recover gap elimination cuts. They also got increases in foundation aid.

“We also put in a significant increases for non-public schools.”

“There was renewed focus on education and our economy,” Stec said, expressing mostly satisfaction with the budget.

“Our schools will see the overall increase in aid they need to provide our children with the quality education they deserve.” 


Duprey said the most irreconcilable cut comes to funding to the State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

The agency is a primary source of funding for area organizations, including Mountain Lake Services, Adirondack ARC and Citizens Advocates.

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