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Rockland Lawmakers: State Budget Agreement Looks Good For County

Details on key aid to local school districts could come today.

Two of Rockland County's state lawmakers said the reached on Tuesday looks good for Rockland, and they were hoping details on key state aid to local school districts could be available as soon as today.

“Today an agreement was reached for an early 2012-2013 State Budget that will continue to move New York forward," said Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City. "The budget will close a $3.5 billion deficit without raising taxes or fees and continues our work towards improving the long-term financial health of our State.  Most importantly we were able to close this deficit while prioritizing funding for several areas that are critical to my Rockland County constituents."

While lawmakers are anxiously awaiting an update on aid to schools, state Sen. David Carlucci, D-New City, said a key element of the agreement calls for a $30.6 million increase in aid for the senior citizen EPIC prescription drug program, ensuring no senior enrolled in EPIC pays more than a $20 co-pay.

"With Rockland County's senior citizen population, the news about EPIC is very good," said Carlucci.

Among key factors in the budget affecting Rockland: 

  • A $751 million statewide increase in aid to education that will increase formula aid to Rockland Schools.
  • A $30.6 million increase in aid for the Senior Citizen EPIC program ensuring no senior enrolled in the program pays more than a $20 co-pay. 
  • A cap on all increases in the Rockland County’s portion of Medicaid payments within 3 years.
  • The establishment of a new task force to oversee and prioritize $1.2 billion in State and Federal aid for infrastructure projects. 
  • $220 million in economic development money to continue to grow the New York economy and create jobs.

Carlucci said that if lawmakers in Albany can wrap up voting on the budget agreement by Friday, it would be the first time since 1983 that New York State has had a budget in place by the April 1 deadline. Last year, the budget was passed on-time in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's first year in office.

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