Tags: stimulus | schumer | new | york

Schumer Grabs $20B for New York in Stimulus

Thursday, 12 Feb 2009 09:17 PM

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NEW YORK - The U.S. Senate plans to debate the compromise economic stimulus bill on Thursday night and vote any time from midnight to 8:00 a.m. on Friday, Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters on a telephone conference call.

Schumer, joined by fellow Democrat Governor David Paterson, outlined how much New York state and New York City stand to get from the $789 billion bill negotiated between the Senate and the House of Representatives.

New York's share could create about 215,000 jobs over the next two years or so and prevent layoffs, Schumer said.

"With the economy in the bad shape it is in New York and around the country, for state governments to lay off large numbers of people or dramatically raise taxes would have taken money out of the economy at the same time the federal government is putting money into the economy," said Schumer, explaining why Congress is helping the states directly.

Some of the swiftest job-creating strategies, economists have said, include giving states extra cash for health care or unemployment benefits. While improving roads and bridges will grow jobs, this approach can take longer and fail to replace white-collar jobs being lost, they have said.

Most of New York state's aid will go to Medicaid, the federal-state health plan for the disabled, elderly and impoverished: about $12.6 billion over nine quarters.

New York City will get about $2.8 billion.

Like more than 40 states, New York state must close a huge deficit. Paterson proposed $11 billion of cuts in healthcare and education in next year's budget, which starts April 1.

Congress is requiring states to use some school dollars to avoid cuts, including teacher layoffs. The state will get $2.7 billion, which should help stave off $700 million of education cuts for next year.

Paterson warned spending reductions cannot be avoided but vowed to make them fair. "Even with the stimulus package, there will be some very difficult decisions, some pain; we will try to share the pain throughout New York," Paterson said.

New York also should get $800 million for special education and $1 billion for so-called Title I school aid.

Cautioning that some figures were preliminary, Schumer estimated the state would get $1 billion to modernize highways and $1.3 billion for mass transit upgrades. But the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs New York City's buses, subway and commuter rails, cannot use any extra dollars it gets to avoid steep fare and toll hikes.

A high-speed rail link to Buffalo might be funded. But Schumer said he did not know if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Atlantic Yards Brooklyn development would qualify. This apartment-office project, throttled by the credit crisis, includes an arena for the New Jersey Nets basketball team.

Energy conservation companies can look forward to vying for some of the $403 million the state will get to weatherize homes for senior citizens so they burn less energy. Environmental companies will compete for $439 million earmarked for water treatment plants and $87.5 million for drinking water plants.

New York City, whose housing market is still one of the costliest in the nation, will get $390 million for public housing, out of the national total of $4 billion.

The state will get $98 million for community development grants, $142 million for homeless prevention and $251 million for affordable housing programs. Neighborhood stabilization programs will get $51 million.

Law enforcement aid includes $96 million of police grants and $166 million of Bynre/JAG grants to aid local police.

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