BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - SCHUMER ANNOUNCES OBAMA STIMULUS PACKAGE TO SEND $1.6 BILLION INDIRECT BUDGET AID TO UPSTATE NY COUNTIES – HELP EASE BUDGETGAPS & AVOID PROPERTY TAX HIKES; COUNTY BY COUNTY BREAKDOWNMADE PUBLIC
At Least $737 Million Expected in Direct Budget Aid; Over$860 Million Expected in Education Aid
Senator Says Billions in Aid Will Help Close the Budget Gap,and Be a Boon for Upstate New York Taxpayers, Schools, Hospitalsand the Upstate New Yorkers they Serve
Schumer Fought to Include a Provision in the Stimulus thatSends Billions in Budget Aid Directly to the Counties – NotThrough States – Ensures Upstate Counties Get Their FairShare
With Upstate New York counties facing an historic budgetdeficit as the national economy continues to decline, U.S. SenatorCharles E. Schumer today announced that the new economic stimuluspackage, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will sendnearly $1.6 billion over two years to Upstate New York counties indirect budget and education funding. Right now, the stimulus isexpected to include $737 million in federal Medicaid relief forUpstate New York counties to help ease pressure on the overallbudget, as well as a minimum of $860 million in education aid.Schumer today announced the county by county breakdown of thedirect budget aid. Schumer also said that though the stimuluspackage will certainly help alleviate the state’s budgetcrunch, it won’t eliminate the problems and tough choicescounty and state officials are going to have to make.
“The stimulus package is going to give a big boost toUpstate New York. There is an overwhelming consensus that we shouldgive aid to states and localities. The reason for it is verysimple. For federal government to be pumping money in to theeconomy to reduce severity of the recession, while the states aretaking money out of the economy by either laying people off orraising taxes, simply makes no sense,” Senator Schumer said.
Schumer said today that the economic stimulus package, nowbeing drawn up by both houses of Congress and expected to be aslarge as $825 billion, will include at least $1.6 billion in directfederal aid to help Upstate New York counties close its budget gapand boost the city’s schools and hospitals, according to theCongressional Research Service. The bulk of the aid will come fromtwo different programs – a temporary increase in thecity’s FMAP allocation and significant increases to educationaid programs.
Under both the Senate and House proposals, the economicstimulus package is expected to include $86.6 billion boost inFederal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) over the next ninequarters with Upstate New York counties slated to provide relief ofat least $737 million. FMAP is a matching rate that determines thefederal funding share for state Medicaid programs. The federalgovernment matches state funds spent on Medicaid, based on thestate’s FMAP. The FMAP varies from state to state; and NewYork’s FMAP is 50%.
· Through anincrease in FMAP, counties in the Capital Region will receiveapproximately $42.8 million in budget relief.
· Through anincrease in FMAP, counties in Central New York will receiveapproximately $44.1 million in budget relief.
· Through anincrease in FMAP, counties in the Hudson Valley will receiveapproximately $104.6 million in budget relief.
· Through anincrease in FMAP, counties in the North Country will receiveapproximately $23.7 million in budget relief.
· Through anincrease in FMAP, counties in the Rochester-Finger Lakes willreceive approximately $55.8 million in budget relief.
· Through anincrease in FMAP, counties in the Southern Tier will receiveapproximately $27 million in budget relief.
· Through anincrease in FMAP, counties in Western New York will receiveapproximately $70.4 million in budget relief.
Schumer also outlined the county by county breakdown ofdirect budget aid (see attached report).
However, Schumer said the $737 million in savings would easepressure on the entire budget, not just Medicaid. The significantrelief to the overall state budget that result from an FMAPincrease could be used for a variety of purposes that are notlimited to Medicaid.
Schumer fought to include a legislative provision (the“county-local share”) that ensures that Upstate NewYork counties receive its fair share of the FMAP relief for theirMedicaid programs. Since the enactment of the Medicaid program in1966, Upstate New York has been required to share in the costs ofservices. New York is one of seventeen states where localgovernments share with the state in Medicaid participation.Counties are mandated by the state to contribute approximately $7billion annually or about 32 percent of the non-federal share ofthe State's Medicaid Program.
Recognizing that New York State counties and the New YorkCity locality are in dire need of direct fiscal aid and are forcedto share the cost of Medicaid, Schumer - a member of the SenateLeadership and the Finance Committee which has jurisdiction overMedicaid – fought to ensure that a “local share”provision was included in the stimulus to ensure that New YorkState counties and localities received the billions in direct aidfrom FMAP as part of the economic stimulus plan.
In 2003, Congress approved a boost in FMAP for states duringan economic downturn, of $10 billion in fiscal relief through atemporary FMAP increase of 2.95 percentage points for each statefor five fiscal quarters. According to the Congressional BudgetOffice, more than half of the states reported that the 2003increased matching rates enabled them either to avoid or delaymaking cuts or to make smaller cuts to their Medicaid program.
The Senate Finance Committee, of which Senator Schumer is amember, met last night to consider the Stimulus Package and theCommittee reported the bill with a vote of 14-9.
The economic stimulus package will include approximately $550million in direct education aid through the Title I and SpecialEducation/IDEA federal formulas and $320 million for public schoolrepair and construction, with Upstate New York estimated to receivea total of at approximately $865 million, according to theCongressional Research Service (CRS).
Congress is using several different formulas to deliver thesecritical funds to schools. These funds will be distributed usingexisting federal education funding formulas, such as the one usedfor Title I, No Child Left Behind and the Individuals withDisabilities Education Act (IDEA) and will be given in a way thatgives states and districts the flexibility and tools they need tokeep serving our children.
Capital Region schools will receive approximately $87 millionover two years.
Central New York schools will receive approximately $113million over two years.
Hudson Valley schools will receive approximately $220 millionover two years.
North Country schools will receive approximately $55 millionover two years.
Rochester-Finger Lakes Region schools will receiveapproximately $133 million over two years.
Southern Tier schools will receive approximately $68 millionover two years.
Western New York schools will receive approximately $175million over two years.
Schumer have pushed for a robust amount of funding in theinfrastructure portion of the package to be dedicated to schoolrepair and construction to jump start school modernizationprograms. These dollars will fund 21st Century classrooms that areenergy efficient and provide the information technology and cyberinfrastructure that will increase America’s competitivenessand give our students greater advantages in a global economy.
In addition, both the Senate and House bills include $79billion in additional state fiscal relief funding, with $39 billiondesignated for local school districts, $15 billion to states asincentive performance grants, and $25 billion for other highpriority needs such as public safety and education.
The economic recovery package, which was marked up inthe Senate Finance and Appropriations Committees yesterday, isslated to be taken up by the full Senate next week. The full Housewill consider The American Recovery and Reinvestment Acttoday. The goal of both Chambers is to have a final billready for the President’s signature by President’s Day.
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