The apparent demise of member item funding for hundreds of state legislators in this year’s overdue budget process is causing anxiety for neighborhood social programs that rely on the grants.
Gov. David Paterson vetoed the grants as part of his showdown with the Legislature over state spending as Albany grapples with a $9.2 billion deficit.
“Not only are there no member items, but the governor vetoed reappropriations of last year’s member items,” said Ron Soloway, UJA-Federation’s lobbyist. “Taken together that means an $8 million reduction to UJA-Federation agencies that have to provide local services.”
He said it was unlikely Senate Republicans would agree to override the vetoes because of their concern about raising taxes.
On the plus side, Soloway said the New York City Council had restored millions in social service funds that were cut in the budget process by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The agreement would keep open 20 of 50 senior centers that had been scheduled to close, including the JASA Einstein Center at Co Op City in the Bronx, an area where UJA-Federation leaders were concerned had few alternatives for Jewish seniors to congregate and receive services.