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Today both houses of the state legislature are expected to vote on their budgets. The one-house budgets are representations of the priorities of the parties that control either house.
The Assembly budget contains funding for the DREAM Act as well as a minimum wage increase and interestingly enough $2 million in funding for the state's spinal cord injury research board that we have written about a few times.
The Senate budget allocates $8.5 in funding for the spinal cord program.
The program set up a board that distributed grants to spinal cord researchers across the state. It lead to substantial research in dealing with spinal cord injuries and drew researchers to the state. It was funded by a surcharge on moving violations issued by state police. The surcharge still exists but Gov. David Paterson cut funding for spinal cord research and directed all the funds to the state's general fund.
This year supporters of the research held a conference in Albany to draw attention to the kinds of breakthroughs the program had led to and it drew a lot of attention.
Supporters of the program are excited to learn that the $2 million is part of the Assembly plan but it is hard to judge what will happen to the funding in the long run. As Gov. Andrew Cuomo pointed out during a cabinet meeting today one-house budgets give both houses a chance to say they tried to save programs that are eventually cut. Some programs do get saved but its hard to tell at this point what are true sticking points for both houses and the Governor.
In the end the funding may not come through.
For more information on the program check out Sarah Galli's op-ed.
State Government Editor of The Gotham Gazette