Kremer’s Corner: GOP, Dem legislators have helped L.I.

As far back as the mid 1980s I learned a very important lesson in Albany.  

I saw firsthand,as a member of the state Assembly, that when legislators from the Nassau and Suffolk counties get together and work as a team, the suburbs benefits dramatically. 

As we approach another legislative election in November a great deal is riding on the results of the many contests involving incumbents from both parties.

Because school taxes are so high in this region, aid to public schools is a very big deal. Thanks to Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, the island got a record number of dollars, including a $155 million payment for the Gap Elimination Adjustment. The GEA is money that was taken away from the public schools some years ago and never repaid. Flanagan made it a major condition of the budget negotiations.

Overall, the island got $2.97 billion in school aid, which is $50 million more than last year. 

Considering the fact that aid from Albany is 25 per cent of local school budgets, this year’s allocation for schools is a very big deal. 

Some naysayers out there are still screaming it is not enough, but it is the same group of dedicated advocates that have been doing that for the past 50 years.

Long Island has fallen behind in other areas and this year it will finally catch up with a major infusion of research and infrastructure funds. 

Thanks to the efforts of the Long Island Association, under the leadership of Kevin Law, the counties will get $331 for investments in the region’s future. 

These funds are not devoted to one or two projects. They will be given to 12 significant efforts to get Long Island moving ahead in engineering, therapeutic research and housing opportunities.

Among the many significant grants are such things as $25 million to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for therapeutic research;$40 million for street and highway repairs; $50 million for the Feinstein Institute’s medical research and $85 million for planning for the so-called Nassau Hub. 

Hofstra gets $25 million to expand its engineering programs and $75 million goes to Stony Brook University.

State Assemblymember Michelle Schimel deserves major credit for helping convince the governor and the Democratic Assembly leadership to allocate $300 million for major environmental projects. She has been a proponent of wastewater infrastructure and water quality improvements for years and this allocation, much of which will go  to Long Island, is the first time so much money has been dedicated to this region.  

There is no question that Long Island has done exceptionally well over the past four plus years, when it comes to getting the money it needs. However, the big question on the horizon is what happens after this November’s election? 

Give credit where credit is due, the Republican Senate delegation from the Island has been a great force behind the moneys that have flowed to the local schools and various projects. 

They have been strongly pro-business and flexed their muscle at annual budget negotiations.

The special election on the South Shore will be over when this column is published, but there is no doubt it could be a game changer. 

If the Democrat ,Todd Kaminsky is the victor it could tip the balance against the Republican control of the Senate. 

If Chris Mc Grath, the Republican prevails the Republicans still have their work cut out for them in November. 

This promises to be a very tight election and if Hillary Clinton is the candidate it  could tip the balance in favor of the Senate Democrats. 

There is not much history about how well Nassau and Suffolk did during the short time the Democrats ran the state Senate. 

Unfortunately, corruption charges against three characters caused the majority to collapse and eventually lose power. I may be an enrolled Democrat but I have to advocate what is good for Long Island.

So for now says a big thanks to our elected state officials from both parties for a job well done. 

Next year may not be so grand.

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