The Republican federal budget proposal is being targeted by a Washington-based movement called Nuns on the Bus. Earlier this month, a group of nuns and others from local faith communities traveled around Syracuse in a school bus to spread their message in solidarity with the movement.
Governor Andrew Cuomo was at Fort Drum yesterday, touring a former coal plant that's being converted to a biomass facility. He responded to questions from reporters about the statewide property tax cap.
More projected sales tax revenue for the City of Syracuse could mean some new programs, including seed money for a new downtown senior center. Lawmakers say they want the extra spending to be an investment in the city.
The very young and the very old were the focus of the Syracuse City Budget public hearing Wednesday night. Citizens had the opportunity to tell lawmakers what they think of Mayor Stephanie Miner's proposed $662 million spending plan.
State lawmakers have passed their second straight on time budget. Speaking with Grant Reeher just before the budget passed, Syracuse area State Senator John DeFrancisco describes the budget process and discusses whether or not it has improved in recent years.
When state lawmakers approved the budget this week, they restored a program that's vital to many senior citizens. Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage, known as EPIC, helps low and moderate income seniors with co-pays for prescription drugs not covered by Medicare Part-D. When it was defunded last year, seniors were forced to pay 25% of the costs of prescriptions. This made necessary prescriptions unaffordable for some.
Pharmacists at drug stores like the Gifford and West Pharmacy in Syracuse ran into a lot of problems when EPIC stopped helping seniors pay for prescription drugs. Gifford pharmacist Jim McLaughlin encountered many patients who had high co-pays and were forced to pay.
"It ends up costing more. Patients go without their medications and their symptoms start to come back, or they end up being hospitalized," McLaughlin said.
The governor says he’s waiting for some uncertainties in the world markets to stabilize before updating the state’s financial picture, and has delayed releasing the state’s mid year budget report, which was due in late October.
Cuomo budget officials have said they are also waiting to count some tax collections delayed by the hurricanes. They’ve also post poned some scheduled budget hearings that have been part of an effort in recent years to jump start the budget process.