NYS Passes $168.3B Budget Despite Exemption Demands by Yeshivas
On Thursday, March 29, it appeared that the push to exempt private Jewish schools from state standards by a Brooklyn state senator might threaten the negotiations over the new state budget.
Democratic Senator Simcha Felder's, who represent a district with an extensive Orthodox Jewish population, demand that “private yeshivas be exempted from meeting state standards for nonreligious instruction emerged as one of the last sticking points preventing Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders from finalizing a $170 billion spending plan. Felder's demand was met with stiff resistance from the Democrat-controlled Assembly. ‘It's enough to blow everything up,' said one source with knowledge of the negotiations, adding that the issue was ‘toxic' to many members of the Assembly's Democratic conference,” according to The Daily News.
Budget bills that had been agreed on were passed by the Assembly and Senate late Thursday night. After reconvening Friday morning, March 30, state lawmakers and Cuomo were able to strike a $168.3 billion budget deal late that night.
The highlights of the FY 2019 Budget were announced by Cuomo on Friday. The Budget builds on the state's record of delivering for New Yorkers by making the highest ever investment in K-12 education, enacting a nation-leading women's agenda, advancing 21st century transportation solutions, protecting taxpayers against federal tax changes, strengthening the middle class, and making strategic investments in New York's future to drive growth and create opportunity for all. For the eighth consecutive year, the Budget is balanced and holds spending growth to 2 percent or less.
The governor said, “This budget is a bold blueprint for progressive action that builds on seven years of success and helps New York continue to lead amid a concerted and sustained assault from Washington on our values and principles. We put into place the strongest and most comprehensive anti-sexual harassment protections in the nation, ending once and for all the secrecy and coercive practices that have enabled this unacceptable behavior for far too long. New York will also become the first state to implement new measures to shield families from the devastating federal tax law's elimination of full state and local deductibility — an economic arrow aimed at the heart of this state's economy.”
Cuomo continued, “It also protects New York's future with record funding for education, coupled with new reforms that finally ensure transparency and equity in how that funding is distributed. This budget also delivers for the most vulnerable among us, including the NYCHA tenants who have had to live with mold, lead and no heat and were placed at risk by a failed bureaucracy, and those who have had to endure the injustice that is Rikers Island. With this budget, we chart a path forward and ever upwards toward a better future for all New Yorkers.”
“With this budget, we chart a path forward and ever upwards toward a better future for all New Yorkers.”
Democratic Senator Simcha Felder’s demand that private Jewish schools be exempted from meeting state standards was one of the last points preventing the finalization of New York state’s new budget. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)