Albany Hopes for On-Time Budget

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 01:45 PM

New York states 2011-2012 budget is due at the start of the fiscal year, April 1. Today in Albany, one-house budget bills will be introduced and although legislators say their budgets are similar to the budget Gov. Cuomo presented in February, a few differences remain.

The Assembly proposed a budget resolution that continues a tax on millionaires. Both the Assembly and the Senate restored $700 million of the cuts to education, including money for SUNY state aid. Both houses would cut more than $50 million in funding for the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control program.

Speaker of the House, Sheldon Silver says he's confident that the budget will be ready on time.

-Sarah P. Reynolds


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Tucked into the above news feed is a HUGE budget cut to the New York State Tobacco Control Program. Somehow a few legislators obliterated the line item. These cuts would destroy the TCP, even taking away the New York State Smoker's Quitline which offers evidence-based telephonic counseling and two weeks of free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). This program suffered a 30% cut two years ago but it survived and continued to do the work with fewer dollars and people -- the work that it takes to help a person to quit smoking. Health care costs to the state that are directly related to smoking are over $9B, this number grows exponentially when indirect costs and loss of productivity are added in. It takes $30 to help a person to quit smoking using the Quit line compared with $48,000 to treat a person with lung cancer. Please NPR do an emergency story on this. Find those legislators that dropped this in the budget, ask them why and ask them how they defend these actions. Did big tobacco get to them? The program is already underfunded by what the CDC recommends. To lose this program all together would mean hundreds of passionate people who work to help stop this terrible addiction would lose their jobs and those trying to quit would lose any hope of services.

Mar. 15 2011 11:31 PM

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