The $122 billion budget approved April 9 increased spending by $6 billion over last year. It came a week later than the April 2 deadline."In the face of two crises Ð one in government and one in our economy Ð we came together to produce a responsible budget for the people of New York," said Gov. David Paterson. "This was by no means a perfect process, nor is it a perfect product. But we were able to achieve the programmatic reforms and cost controls needed to move forward and confront the challenges ahead." Money for city schools amounted to about 40 percent of the $21 billion allocated for education funding across the state.A portion of the allocation will support the city's five-year capital plan to add 66,000 new school seats on top of another 10,000 seats to be created by converting administration space into classroom space.State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) said the $8.1 billion "is a major victory for our city's schools, parents, teachers and the entire educational community. This aid is vital for our ongoing efforts to ensure that our children in the city have the best education possible and will help them excel in the classroom."Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the boost in school funding "is good news for our city. The state's prior commitment to an increase in operating aid for New York City has been kept."The budget also included $25 million to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by creating the Subprime Foreclosure Prevention Services Program.The foreclosure crisis has hit Queens the hardest of the five boroughs."This program will... allow a great many senior citizens and families who've been targeted by subprime lenders to hold on to their homes," Paterson said.State Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) said homeowners "will now be able to have access to a variety of services dedicated to eradicating this [foreclosure] debacle, including educational counseling programs and legal services."Legislative leaders chose not to give a pay raise to state judges, who receive $136,700 per year, the third-lowest salary for state judges in the country.Judges have not received a pay increase in 10 years, and Judith Kaye, chief judge of the state Court of Appeals, filed a lawsuit last week in Manhattan seeking raises for state judges.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2008 Community News Group
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