Dream de­tails

The Buffalo News - - WEATHER - By Jill Ter­reri Ramos

— New York State Sen­ate Mi­nor­ity Leader John Flanagan

Sen­ate Re­pub­li­cans took aim at the re­cently passed

New York State bud­get, the first spend­ing plan in years to be crafted with Democrats in con­trol of both houses of the Leg­is­la­ture and the Gover­nor’s Of­fice.

“Af­ter months of warn­ing about the dis­as­trous ef­fects of one-party gov­ern­ment, New York’s worst nightmare has been re­al­ized with the 2019-20 state bud­get,” Sen­ate Mi­nor­ity Leader John Flanagan said in a state­ment.

The Long Is­land Repub­li­can crit­i­cized many of the $175.5 bil­lion bud­get’s pro­vi­sions.

That in­cluded the bud­get’s call to fund the Jose Peralta New York State Dream Act, which al­lows un­doc­u­mented stu­dents to ac­cess state fi­nan­cial aid. It is named in honor of a se­na­tor who cham­pi­oned the leg­is­la­tion be­fore he died in 2018.

“Be­cause of the new oneparty gov­ern­ment in New York, other Demo­crat-driven pri­or­i­ties that made it into the fi­nal bud­get in­clude fully fund­ing an ini­tia­tive to pro­vide free col­lege tu­ition for il­le­gal im­mi­grants, while re­ject­ing an in­crease in Tu­ition As­sis­tance Pro­gram fund­ing that would help mid­dle-class fam­i­lies af­ford col­lege.”

We have heard this claim be­fore and wanted to know if it is true.

The Dream Act, which pro­vides tu­ition as­sis­tance to un­doc­u­mented stu­dents, was passed by the Assem­bly and Sen­ate, but it has not yet been signed into law by Gov. An­drew Cuomo.

Cuomo’s news re­lease on the bud­get agree­ment be­tween his ad­min­is­tra­tion and the Leg­is­la­ture states the spend­ing plan “im­ple­ments and fully funds the Jose Peralta New York State Dream Act for $27 mil­lion.”

Cuomo’s bud­get pro­posal, re­leased in Jan­uary, out­lined his pri­or­i­ties and ex­plained the Dream Act.

“The Dream Act will give un­doc­u­mented stu­dents ac­cess to the Ex­cel­sior Schol­ar­ship, the Tu­ition As­sis­tance Pro­gram, as well as other state-ad­min­is­tered schol­ar­ships,” ac­cord­ing to Cuomo’s bud­get brief­ing book. “A $27 mil­lion FY 2020 in­vest­ment in young im­mi­grants’ fu­tures is an in­vest­ment in New York’s fu­ture.” A spokesman for the state Divi­sion of Bud­get, Free­man Klopott, con­firmed that the de­scrip­tion of the Dream Act in the brief­ing book is still ac­cu­rate in the fi­nal bud­get.

Scott Reif, a spokesman for Flanagan, said the en­acted bud­get con­tained $27 mil­lion for the Dream Act, which pro­vides “free col­lege tu­ition for peo­ple who are here il­le­gally.”

As for fund­ing for the state’s Tu­ition As­sis­tance Pro­gram, or TAP, Sen­ate Re­pub­li­cans fa­vored ex­pand­ing ac­cess by in­creas­ing the award and by rais­ing the in­come lim­its to al­low fam­i­lies to qual­ify for it, Reif said. TAP pro­vides grants for stu­dents to study at pub­lic or pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions. Sen­ate Democrats also wanted to in­crease fund­ing for TAP, and they in­cluded an ex­pan­sion in their one-house bill – so named be­cause an iden­ti­cal bill was not car­ried in the Assem­bly. The TAP ex­pan­sion was not in­cluded in the fi­nal

Flanagan said the state bud­get pro­vides “free col­lege tu­ition” for peo­ple who are in the United States il­le­gally, and that it does not ex­pand TAP grants for the mid­dle class.

The bud­get does im­ple­ment the Dream Act, which al­lows un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants to ap­ply for tu­ition as­sis­tance pro­grams and to re­ceive that as­sis­tance if they meet the es­tab­lished criteria. But it did in­crease TAP fund­ing by $5.4 mil­lion for other stu­dents – a small in­crease, but an in­crease none­the­less.

We rate Flanagan’s claim Mostly True.

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