Governor Andrew Cuomo may be talking about as much as a $3.5 billion budget gap next year, but that didn't stop State Senator Jeff Klein, the leader of the Independent Democratic Caucus, from arguing that the state needs to continue partially funding foreclosure services programs.
"We know that many programs and agencies faced similar circumstances in last year’s budget as everyone worked with Governor Cuomo to balance the finances of New York and put our great state back on track. We also know that each of these programs and agencies did important work all of our communities," said a report put out by Klein's office yesterday. "But we argue that the benefits of legal services and foreclosure counseling for struggling homeowners in New York is too great to ignore and the chance of not funding them for a second budget cycle in a row is too risky."
The reported said that a $50 million program to prevent foreclosures assisted 80,000 homeowners and saved at least 14,000 homes. With 250,000 homes in danger of, or going through the process of foreclosure, the report argues, the math makes the case: the loss of these homes would cost an estimated $61 billion in reduced property value and lost taxes.
“Preventing foreclosures not only keeps hard-working New Yorkers in their homes now, but saves our neighborhoods from devastating ripple effects later,” Senator Klein said in a statement. “We know that this will be another tough budget year - that's why we're starting this discussion early in order to help protect our neighborhoods and preserve the American dream across New York.”
As the Times-Union's Jimmy Vielkind noted on this yesterday, Klein managed to bring some interesting support to the press conference on this yesterday:
It’s also interesting to me that Klein, ringleader of the Independent Democratic Conference, is uniting in this way with Senate Democrats, some of whom are open in their disdain for his renegade klatch.
Perhaps this portends a coming soothing. Or at least courtship.