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Long Island

Five key areas likely to be affected by state budget cuts

Here's how Gov. David A. Paterson's proposed 2010-11 budget affects key topics:

 

 

Health care

IT was as bad as health care officials on Long Island expected.

The governor's proposed $1 billion in cuts in Medicaid reimbursements and other programs to hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities is similar to last year's proposal, said Kevin Dahill, president of the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council. It's also tougher in a year when hospitals are being asked to provide health care to more patients hit by the recession who are less able to pay for it.

Although Dahill said it would take several days to figure the precise impact on Long Island hospitals, hospital officials voiced their frustration Tuesday.

Saying that Stony Brook University Hospital "has withstood tens of millions of dollars in cuts seven times over the past three years," chief executive Dr. Steven Strongwater said "we cannot continue to withstand cuts year after year and still provide all that is expected of us as a safety net hospital."

Paterson's proposed cut to health care: $1 billion

Colleges

CROWDED classrooms and reduced course selections await at Long Island's three public college campuses if the governor's budget cuts become a reality, administrators warned.

Stony Brook University, SUNY Old Westbury and Farmingdale State College, already reeling from unexpected cuts last year, would probably lose millions of dollars more. At the same time, the state plans to cut $75 per student in Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which helps low-income students pay the bills.

Stony Brook President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. emphasized the positive as he endorsed the governor's idea of giving campuses more independence in setting their own tuitions and forming partnerships with businesses.

Meanwhile, the Island's two-year colleges worry that they will have to cut services even as enrollment booms. Nassau Community College, for example, would lose $5.4 million under the governor's plan. Paterson's proposed cut to SUNY and community colleges: $157 million

Environment

ENVIRONMENTAL spending took a significant whack from Paterson's proposed budget. Advocates said it could lead to state parks closures and reduced enforcement of state conservation and pollution laws.

"It's one of the worst environmental budgets that I've seen and I've been doing it for 25 years," said Kevin McDonald, director of public lands for the Nature Conservancy on Long Island.

Paterson proposed $143 million in appropriations for the state's Environmental Protection Fund.His budget would slash fund spending on water quality, waterfront revitalization and municipal parks. Paterson's proposed cut to Environmental Protection Fund: $69 million Transportation

 

ALTHOUGH the state may plan to spend more money on transportation than it did last year, there was little reason for celebration among those in the business of roads and mass transit.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials, still reeling from a $143 million cut in state aid last month, say, by their math, the agency faces another $104 million in reductions in the new budget.

The news was a little better for the state Department of Transportation. A $200 million reduction to the DOT was "less of a cut than they anticipated," said Marc Herbst, president of the Long Island Contractors' Association. The plan also includes $7 billion to fund the first two years of the DOT's five-year capital plan.

Paterson's proposed transportation spending: $9.1 billion (10.9% increase)

Local governments

 

WHILE schools and hospitals face steep cuts in Paterson's proposed budget, Long Island's local governments are relatively unscathed.

Paterson proposed eliminating New York City's $301.7 million in Aid and Incentives for Municipalities funding, though he maintained all but $15 million of AIM funding for other municipalities. Last year, Long Island communities received $28.5 million from AIM.

Paterson's proposed cut to AIM funding: $316 million

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