Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) has penned a letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie requesting that Library Aid be fully funded in this year’s state budget.
Gov. Cuomo plans to cut Library Aid by $5 million this year, for a total of $91.6 million, according to his Executive Budget proposal. Furthermore, the governor aims to cut Library Construction Aid by $20 million back to a total of $14 million.
“This level of state aid is inadequate for libraries within this state and there are no other educational institutions expected to function at this level of state aid," Hawley wrote in the letter. "It is imperative that increases in Library Aid are made each year in proportion to the general education funding. As you know, library monies in the budget are not in line with education funding – it is separate, therefore, libraries are not recipients of those increases.
“There should be no barrier when it comes to providing our constituents with the essential tools necessary for their betterment. Our constituents, who range from toddlers to the elderly, depend significantly on the services provided by our libraries. In addition, access to resources for job training, start-up businesses, consumer health, education, financial and technology training come from our libraries.
In previous budget negotiations, Hawley was successful in working with members across the aisle and the governor in restoring proposed cuts to Library Aid.