Your Turn: Assemblyman Flood’s budget priorities

Your Turn: Assemblyman Flood’s budget priorities

NYS Assemblyman Ed Flood

By Ed Flood

As the legislative session and negotiations continue toward the 2024-25 New York State Budget, there are several policies my colleagues and I have proposed that we believe would better cater to our hardworking citizens throughout the state. New York ranks second for the highest budget in the nation, making it difficult to fathom any tax increases on families or funding cuts in essential areas to make up for other state spending programs. 

In her State of the State address in January, Gov. Kathy Hochul [D] highlighted her proposal of an additional $2.4 billion in funding for supporting migrants. This would pull $500 million from state reserve funds. To address the migrant issue, New York City has already provided housing and food for approximately 170,000 asylum seekers with no end goal in sight.

This is not about immigration, but a major public safety and financial concern. Back in September 2023, my colleagues and I called for an emergency special session to consider adopting a bundle of policies that would efficiently monitor the migrants entering New York City and ensure background checks are completed to prevent violent criminals from entering our state. Unfortunately, that request was denied, leading us to the financial cliff on which New York is balancing. 

At the same time, Gov. Hochul proposed to potentially end the “hold harmless” provision for foundation aid in school funding assistance, threatening the loss of major state school aid. This reckless proposal would create significant funding cuts to schools across the state, weakening their opportunities for extracurricular activities and causing potential staff layoffs. The proposed budget shows an increase in educational aid but major cuts to many rural and suburban districts, which is what we are seeing now. 

Rather than using taxpayer dollars on a federal issue that should be handled by the president, we are using a major portion of our state budget on the migrant crisis and taking money away from our children’s education. With a $234 billion budget, $6 billion more than last year, no school should lose funding. What are our priorities when we allocate $2.4 billion from our general fund to pay for the self-inflicted migrant crisis and cut funding to rural and suburban districts from that same general fund? The money is in front of us, yet it is spent in other areas of the state. 

As we continue our work in Albany, it is crucial that we remove these irrational proposals in the final budget and that our children’s education must be prioritized to ensure they are equipped for bright futures ahead. 

Please contact me any time if you have any questions or concerns at 631-751-3094 or by email at [email protected].

Assemblyman Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson) represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes parts of Suffolk County, including portions of the Town of Brookhaven and the villages of Old Field, Poquott, Belle Terre, Port Jefferson and Lake Grove.