— 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.