Terrence P. Murphy Statement on 2015-16 Budget passage
In my first budget I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be your representative and I’m proud to have had a seat at the table to fight for the residents of my district and pass an on-time budget.
As the co-chairman of the Senate’s Task Force on Opioid and Heroin Addiction, I am proud to announce the budget provides twelve million dollars in critical funding increases for opioid addiction prevention and treatment. Included in that, is language which will finally allow school nurses to administer the lifesaving drug Narcan.
We’ve provided two hundred million dollars for new clean water and sewer infrastructure and have increased funding for the environmental protection fund for the first time in years. We’ve also provided $50 million more than the Governor proposed to fix our ailing roads and fight the war on potholes. As for the reconstruction of the Tappan Zee Bridge, this budget provides a massive commitment of more than one billion dollars.
For our schools, we have cut the Gap Elimination Adjustment in half and increased school funding statewide on average by 5.9% on top of that. On education reform, I joined my colleagues in rejecting the Governor’s evaluation proposals for our teachers and shifted this responsibility to professionals at the State Education Department with the goal of reducing standardized testing and returning local control to our schools.
Living within a self-imposed two percent cap isn’t easy, but we also managed to protect the STAR program for property taxpayers. No budget is perfect, but at the end of the day, we have passed an on-time budget that lives within our means.