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Thursday, October 23, 2014

State budget spares senior centers, cuts schools and Medicaid

By Adam Wisnieski
Posted

The governor and both legislative bodies in the state have reached an agreement on a $132.5 billion budget that will cut spending by 2 percent. The budget agreement restores Title XX funding, which means the 105 senior centers that were slated to close — including two in the Riverdale/Kingsbridge area — will remain open. But it does not restore all the proposed cuts to education and Medicaid.

Announced as a handshake agreement between Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Sunday, the budget still needs to be passed by both legislative bodies, which is expected before the April 1 deadline.

The Van Cortlandt Senior Center on Sedgwick Avenue and the Marble Hill Senior Center on Broadway will have their funding restored. The agreement also restores $270 million out of the proposed $1.5 billion cut to education.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz estimated that this would mean at least $100 million in cuts to city education. He said he did not think it would result in Mayor Michael Bloomberg needing to layoff teachers, but that will not be clear until the city passes its budget.

Gov. Cuomo stuck with his pledge to redesign the Medicaid system. The budget includes a cap on state Medicaid expenditures of approximately $15 billion and aims to redesign and restructure the Medicaid program to be more efficient.

Gov. Cuomo, who seemed to get his way on every aspect of the budget, including coming to an agreement before the April 1 deadline, made good on his campaign promise of balancing the budget without increasing taxes.

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