Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) voted against the House GOP budget resolution for FY 2006, which fails Western New Yorkers in every respect.
“The House GOP budget resolution for FY 2006 fails this nation, and it fails Erie County in particular,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “I cannot in good conscience vote for a budget that cuts funding to our deserving veterans, that slashes the well-used CDBG program in the county, and that takes cops off the streets in our cities. It seems as though this Administration and this Republican majority have something against the Western New York region in particular, and from healthcare to after-school programs, we all lose out.”
The Republican budget proposes to slash CDBG funding by $1.9 billion dollars, a cut of 35% from the $5.6 billion dollar level at which these programs were funded in FY 2005. This will have a major impact on towns and cities in Erie County. For example, in 2005, Hamburg is slated to receive $505,273 in CDBG funding, all of which would be eliminated by the Republican budget. Programs such as the Adult Day Care program, the Domestic Violence Program and the Aqua Therapy Pool, all in Hamburg, would be cancelled. In Cheektowaga, an anticipated $1.1 million would be completely eliminated, affecting the program to rehabilitate dilapidated homes, funding for sewer, drainage and road infrastructure improvements in low and moderate income neighborhoods, and the Cheektowaga Economic Development Corporation, which has assisted 14 local businesses in creating over 200 jobs.
In this budget, the COPS program, which has put 11,927 cops on the street in New York, and 32 cops on the street in Buffalo, is slashed by 96 percent. It also cuts nearly $50 million from homeland security formula grants in New York, which provide police, firefighters and emergency management teams with the training and equipment they need to keep communities safe, and disproportionately affects border districts such as the 27th, which is naturally more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
The 69,779 veterans in the 27th District will have their health care costs raised, increasing drug co-payments and imposing new enrollment fees that will cost all veterans more than $2 billion over five years and drive more than 200,000 veterans out of the system entirely. The budget continues the Disabled Veterans Tax, passing a false promise of a plan that undermines a secure retirement for more than 5,000 New York disabled veterans. We need to keep our promises to our men and women who have honorably served our country.
In this budget, nearly 300,000 children in New York will go without promised help in reading and math and 166,362 will no longer be able to enroll in the after-school programs that boost academic achievement and keep kids safe because of the education cuts in this budget. Kids in Lackawanna, Cheektowaga, Buffalo and throughout Erie County won’t get many of the opportunities they deserve through high quality early childhood education, vibrant and accountable public schools, and an affordable college education.