Big Wins for Children — But More Needs to Be Done
The Children’s Agenda applauds the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo for groundbreaking investments in child care and education in the FY 2021-22 Budget. Federal funds and increased state revenue allowed the state to fully funding Foundation Aid over the next three years, expand Universal Pre-Kindergarten, and take significant steps to improve New York’s struggling child care system. We commend state leaders for boldly investing in these critical programs. We are also relieved that cuts to the Early Intervention (EI program) proposed by Governor Cuomo were rejected in the final budget, but are deeply disappointed that important structural reforms to the Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education systems championed by the legislature were not included in the final budget agreement.
Prior to this legislative session, working together with many partner organizations and coalitions, The Children’s Agenda identified four key budget priorities that, together, would substantially improve the well-being of children and families in Rochester and throughout New York State. Over the subsequent four months, the federal government passed a substantial COVID relief bill that eliminated New York State’s short term deficit and immediate financial peril. That federal support, coupled with better-than-expected revenue and a decision to raise taxes on extremely high income households, gave New York State additional financial capacity to address many critical children’s policy challenges faced by the state.