Queens, New York — New York state legislators held a press conference Thursday morning at Clearview Senior Center to combat Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive proposal to cut $17 million federal funds to senior centers and reallocate the money towards child care.
Cuomo’s proposed budget decrease of the Social Services Block Grant would result in the closing of 65 senior centers across all five boroughs.
When asked about the Cuomo administration’s intention of using part of the state’s $400 million funding increase to replace the senior center funds, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic remained adamant in her position.
“I think we need to be focused on restoring the cuts and not implementing cuts on senior centers and augmenting it elsewhere. There’s no reason why we can’t continue the same funding as last year,” Rozic said.
Assemblyman Edward Braunstein stated, “We’re not saying we shouldn’t fund childcare as well. But in a $160 plus billion state budget we can find the money —$17 million dollars— to keep 65 senior centers open and provide an increase in child care funding.”
In the coming weeks, Braunstein and Rozic will put out the assembly’s own executive budget proposal. Braunstein urged the crowded recreation room to express discontent to governor Cuomo via letters and phone calls. It was five years ago when a cut to senior services was proposed by Cuomo, but ultimately the grant was restored following protest by the assembly and members of the senior citizen community.
The Senate Democrat Conference will also offer a similar budget proposal to restore the proposed budget cuts, said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.
“It’s sad because you are pitting one vulnerable group against another and that is what I think is wrong,” said Stavisky.
The final budget is expected on the first of April.