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State Budget Has an Extra $20 Million for City Schools

By Mark Scott

Albany, NY – The State Legislature was scheduled to begin passing an $89.6 billion budget Thursday morning. The 2002-2003 spending plan will be nearly six percent higher than last year's.

Governor Pataki calls the new budget "fiscally prudent and conservative." He says $1.2 billion in reserve funds is being used to help balance the budget. And it includes $86.5 million in additional fees and other revenue-raisers, such as a new 50-cent monthly state surcharge on cellular telephone calls.

State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt of Buffalo says the budget has some good news for Buffalo schools.

"The budget delivers $20 million dollars in extra aid to the Buffalo public schools," Hoyt said. "Obviously, I'm happy about that. Yet, I'm disappointed that the Legislature was unable to come up with any money to help Buffalo itself out of its financial problems."

In other highlights from the state budget, Assemblyman Robin Schimminger of Kenmore says UB's Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics will receive $100 million in funding, twice the amount projected.

Though the budget is a month-and-a-half late, Hoyt said it's a much better spending plan than what Pataki has recommended in January.