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Governor vetoes Monticello school penalty forgiveness bill

By Matt Shortall
Posted 10/15/21

MONTICELLO — New York Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed a bill that would have waived some $1.9 million in building aid penalties incurred by the Monticello Central School …

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Governor vetoes Monticello school penalty forgiveness bill

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MONTICELLO — New York Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed a bill that would have waived some $1.9 million in building aid penalties incurred by the Monticello Central School District.

Monticello’s bill was one of nine similar bills that the governor vetoed last week, all of them relating to state penalties imposed for the late or incomplete filing of building reports and other clerical errors.

Hochul’s predecessor, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, vetoed the same legislation on two different occasions.

In November of 2019, Gov. Cuomo signed a similar bill sponsored by former State Senator Jen Metzger to waive $1.1 million in building aid penalties incurred by the Roscoe School District.

That same year, Gov. Cuomo waived $12.75 million in penalties for the Newburg City School District and $4.58 million in penalties from the Chester-Upland School District.

Cuomo resigned in August following a barrage of sexual harassments allegations. Kathy Hochul succeeded him as governor, being sworn into office on August 24.

“Payment of expense-based aids to school districts is calculated as part of the state’s annual budget process,” Gov. Hochul wrote in her veto message. “Because these bills would alter the aids agreed to in the Enacted State Budget for the current year, I am constrained to veto these bills.

“I welcome a conversation with the Legislature as part of the upcoming state budget to address these aid withholdings once and for all, and to ensure the law fairly reflects consequences to school districts.”

In a statement on their website, the Monticello Central School District said, “We are disappointed in the governor’s veto of an aid forgiveness bill that has been consistently approved by the state legislature, and that has been granted to other school districts. We will continue to advocate for this forgiveness so our current district taxpayers, students, and staff - who were not involved in the original submissions that were corrected and re-submitted - are not punished.”

The Monticello Central School District also said it appreciates the continued efforts of state legislators, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Senator Mike Martucci, in sponsoring the legislation.

Assemblywoman Gunther called on Hochul in September to sign the bill, stating, “$1.9 million is a lot of money for a small community like ours. Our property taxes cannot and should not have to take on this additional burden.”

Senator Martucci stated, “While it can be argued that past school leaders are partially responsible for this situation, it cannot be argued that students or taxpayers should be forced to deal with the consequences of their mistake.

“This bill has been passed by overwhelming majorities in the Legislature for three straight years. I was hoping a new governor would bring a better result.”

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  • DRC

    Meanwhile, this is where our tax money has been going...from our republican senator, Mike Martucci

    Excluded Workers Fund? Huh, its a nice name. It evokes an image of someone deserving of assistance who missed out through no fault of their own. As is often the case a pleasant sounding name covers for a rather shocking reality. What this fund did was provide $2.1 billion to people who weren't eligible for unemployment. Why? They were in the country illegally. My colleague Senator Ramos calls the program a big success since all the money has been spent when in reality the existence of such a fund was taxpayer abuse in the first place.

    I voted against this in the state budget and I will also vote against any attempt to put additional money it. Everyday New Yorkers who follow the law and try to do the right thing are being squeezed right out of this state with high taxes and diminishing opportunities. Meanwhile leaders in Albany pass countless bills to let criminals off the hook and provide benefits to people who don't respect the rule of law. One bill signed this week essentially made it illegal to threaten to report someone's immigration status. Basically, that tells New Yorkers that THEY are committing a crime for having the gall to report someone for violating Federal Law.

    We need change in Albany and I'm working for that every single day. The hardworking, law abiding, commonsense seeking New Yorker needs a voice. I am attempting to be yours and I deeply appreciate your support and encouragement. The fight for the soul of our state is often very frustrating but for our sake and our children's sake, I believe its a fight worth having and one we must win.

    Friday, October 15 Report this