Sen. Pam Helming (R-54th District) this week voted for the Senate Majority’s Budget Resolution calling it a road map of affordability.
Helming noted that the plan rejects new taxes and fees, while making substantial investments in infrastructure and education. The plan also proposes an $8 billion groundbreaking initiative to ensure clean and reliable drinking water for generations to come.
“This week I joined my colleagues in the Senate Majority in putting forth a responsible budget that controls state spending, reduces taxes, creates a better economic environment for our job creators, and makes prudent and important changes to the Governor’s proposal,” said Sen. Helming. “From strengthening the STAR program to reducing taxes on small businesses and manufacturers, our spending plan puts into motion proposals that will begin to make New York State a more affordable place to live and work.”
In addition to lowering costs for families across the Finger Lakes region, Sen. Helming noted that the Senate Majority’s budget also does more to fund local schools and libraries, while boosting the State’s commitment to make college more affordable. The Senate’s Enhanced Tuition Assistance Program (E-TAP) makes more middle-class families eligible for additional financial aid, and gives students greater flexibility in attending the college of their choice. The $109 million E-TAP initiative increases the minimum TAP award from $500 to $3,000 and the maximum to $5,500.
The Senate’s proposal also provides $10 million to expand TAP to include part-time community college students and $2 million in new funding for Graduate TAP, to help students who are in combined undergraduate/graduate degree programs. The budget resolution also creates a new program to help New Yorkers tackle student loan debt.
“As a member of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee, I am focused on making college more affordable and accessible for parents and students across our region,” said Sen. Helming. “By increasing TAP amounts and expanding eligibility requirements, we will give more families the freedom and support needed to attend the colleges that best fit their educational needs. We will also focus on working with colleges to make achieving a college degree a less costly venture.”
Local roads matter, and the Senate budget proposal increases Consolidated Local Street and Highway Program (CHIPS) funding to repair our roads and help keep property taxes down. That’s why she fought for the Senate’s proposal to increase CHIPS funding by $75 million, for a total $513 million, as well as a multi-billion dollar initiative to carry out critical clean water and infrastructure projects throughout the state. In addition, the Senator proposed specific funding to restore support for the Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance.
“These funding proposals will allow us to address long-overdue infrastructure projects, make our roads and bridges safer and continue research to keep water bodies free of harmful pollutants,” said Sen. Helming. “It is vitally important for all New Yorkers to have access to safe and clean water for generations to come.”
Sen. Helming noted that the Senate Majority’s budget would also help Finger Lakes residents by:
- Providing $206 million for the state’s heroin and opioid-related initiatives;
- Restoring $12 million in Agriculture support and increasing tax credits for farmers to help them offset growing labor costs;
- Making needed reforms to Workers’ Compensation;
- Expanding ride-sharing to all of New York State;
- Increasing funding and support for senior and Direct Care workers;
- Increasing school aid funding by 5 percent over last year ($1.2 billion), bringing the total investment in schools to a record level of $25.4 billion; and
- Expanding and increasing funding for needed Veteran Services.
“I take great pride in advocating on your behalf and will be sure to keep you updated as budget negotiations continue. Please know that I am working hard for every community throughout the 54th Senate District and to New York State more affordable,” concluded Sen. Helming.