Albany takes AIM at LI

Albany takes AIM at LI

Story By: STAFF WRITER
1/24/2019


Last week, Gov. Cuomo released his projected 2019-2020 budget that highlighted a number of positive initiatives that includes funding for environmental infrastructure and more money for schools, while imposing permanent status of the state’s 2 percent tax cap. That’s all good news. However, at the same time, he also proposed eliminating AIM funding, which is nothing but bad news for Long Island. And that’s especially true for Islip Town, which usually receives and has come to depend on one of the highest AIM amounts to the tune of $1.8 million. Ouch.

 It’s time to rally our representatives in Albany before a vote makes that proposal permanent and reinstate AIM money.

The town wouldn’t be the only loser here. Brightwaters Village – one of the 480 villages in the state that would be affected by this cut – stands to lose a little over $20,000.

 Now, despite all of the extra money that’s being set aside for schools in the proposed budget, in reality, school districts in our reader areas are getting either the same amount as last year or slightly more from the state. And yet, district expenses continue to rise exponentially. That’s primarily due to the ever-increasing obligations that have been imposed by Albany year after year known as unfunded mandates. In other words, these are programs that Albany requires all school districts and even municipalities to provide without the benefit of being reimbursed by the state. Without AIM funding though, the schools and government must then pass that burden onto the taxpayer or else cut programs and services, and in some cases even jobs. No one is the winner here, especially not the taxpayer

 Here’s an idea: as long as Albany continues to make these demands, then the state should at the very least find a way to cover some of those added costs. AIM did help get that done. So, either maintain that funding or begin cutting back on unfunded mandates. Come to think of it, perhaps it’s time for our elected officials to begin seriously tackling that issue anyway.