FINCH REACTS TO STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS Urges greater commitment to education, fighting heroin epidemic

Posted by on January 20, 2016


I’ve often said that, besides keeping our communities safe, our chief responsibility as legislators is ensuring that our kids receive a world-class education. After hearing the governor’s State of the State Address, I know we’re going to have a lot of work to do this session. It’s troubling that Gov. Cuomo does not want to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) this year. Upstate schools desperately need these funds restored so that they can retain talented teachers and implement a forward-thinking curriculum. I was also looking for a public education funding increase commensurate with last year’s allocation. Our economy is changing. We need graduates prepared to take the jobs of the future. Now is not the time to scale back aid increases.

“I was also disappointed that the governor didn’t display more leadership by providing a detailed vision for public education in New York. He needs to do more than blame the State Education Department for problems with Common Core implementation and testing. What is his plan? Who will develop curriculum? How will we evaluate our teachers? Our state has a chance to reclaim our status as a national leader in education policy. We need a governor who communicates clarity and urgency about our children’s futures.

“Additionally, we need a more comprehensive plan to combat heroin and opioid addiction than the programming outlined in the governor’s proposed budget. Our community is absolutely reeling from the scourge of this debilitating health crisis. We need more funding to educate teenagers about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Too many young people don’t understand that experimenting with prescription painkillers is a deadly path that can lead to tragic overdose and heroin addiction. We need more funding for outpatient programs that can help struggling addicts who want nothing more than to turn their lives around. We need treatment, not judgement. We desperately need funding for law enforcement officials to work overtime to root out the heroin and opioid dealers who are profiting off of our community’s suffering. It’s evil, and it stops this year.”

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