The elimination of $90 million from the budget in funding for programs for the disabled in March has been reversed by rare unanimous action in a divided Albany.
The Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved restoring the funds. A day earlier, the Assembly unanimously passed the measure. For the first time ever in the Legislature, every member of the Senate and Assembly signed as co-sponsors.
Democratic Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg of Long Island, who has a disabled son, joined with Republican Sen. Martin Golden of Brooklyn to celebrate after final legislative passage.
“This approach to full restoration is responsible, cost effective and fair to the State and to people with developmental disabilities,” state Sen. Marty Golden, who sponsored the bill, said.
“We fought the good fight and we won,” state Sen. Simcha Felder, who chairs the Children and Families committee who approved the bill, said in a statement. “We did not back down. We did not take no for an answer. And we delivered for one of our most vulnerable populations.”
In March, an emotional, bipartisan floor fight in the Assembly challenged the total state budget deal. At the time, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he supports finding a way to avoid the cut.
Golden says Weisenberg reduced skeptics to tears with his stories of how much the cut would hurt disabled children.