Skelos: In the two years the Democrats controlled the Senate they shifted millions of dollars in school aid from Long Island to New York City. As Majority Leader, I successfully fought to restore Long Island’s fair share of state education aid. Despite the tough choices we made in the budget to close a multi-billion dollar deficit, I recognized that education funding must be a priority. As a result, the budget increased school aid by $805 million.
Schools in my Senate district received an increase of more than $3.5 million. Aid was also increased for summer school, special education programs, public libraries and for schools for the blind and deaf.
Our children deserve the highest quality education. Education funding must continue to be a priority and I will always work to ensure that Long Island schools get their fair share of state aid.
What’s your goal for the next legislative session?
Skelos: For the past two years, Senate Republicans have partnered with Governor Cuomo to reduce spending, cut taxes, create jobs and, most importantly, get state government functioning in the best interests of taxpayers. We stopped the chaos and finger-pointing and replaced it with communication and bipartisanship. The result — we got things done.
While New York is now headed in the right direction, our state’s business tax climate is still near the bottom and we have to do more to help businesses succeed. My goals for the next legislative session will be to create jobs, reduce government spending, make state government leaner and more efficient, provide local governments and school districts with more mandate relief to ease the pressure on property taxpayers; reduce taxes to make New York more economically competitive, and do everything we can to help businesses — the real job creators — prosper.
What didn’t get accomplished this legislative session that you thought should have?