Assemblyman Bradley chastises Bush Administration
for shortchanging New York


As New York State continues being shortchanged, the president, Congress and our own governor are asking us to do more for New York families, while receiving less funding. Simply put, this is an equation for disaster.

When it comes to safety and security, our families want nothing more than equality when it comes to funding for the things that matter most. Westchester County families are facing serious issues that threaten our quality of life. From being shortchanged on homeland security funding and Medicaid funding to seriously flawed Medicare reforms, it's clear that the Bush administration isn't doing its job.

Federal government shortchanges New York

New York was the target of a terrorism attack in 1993 and was the biggest victim of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, yet the state is second to last in 2003 Office of Domestic Preparedness Homeland Security Grants. In fact, Wyoming, a state with a total population of 493,000 nearly half that of Westchester County receives more than seven times the amount per capita of homeland security funding than the entire state of New York. One must wonder whether this was a proper response for our federal government, after the devastation which afflicted New York on September 11, 2001.

When it comes to all-important federal anti-terrorism funding, New York State's share per capita ranks second to last among the 50 states. Yet our governor has been silent about the lack of federal assistance which leaves New York vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Westchester County has too many high-profile targets to be ignored, including Indian Point, an extensive transportation network, and heavily concentrated population areas. Our families deserve a fair return on the federal taxes they pay, and I won't rest until we have the resources we need to protect our families.

New York also ranks at the bottom of the nation for federal Medicaid reimbursement rates. Under the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage program, New York and the federal government split Medicaid costs 50-50, which is lower than the matching rates enjoyed by 37 other states nationwide. The federal government has placed a disproportionate burden on New York's taxpayers. We're already paying too much, our local governments can't afford to pay more.

Federal Medicare reform hits New York's most vulnerable hardest

To further worsen Westchester's financial burden, the Bush administration passed a Medicare bill that helps drug companies more than it helps seniors. These reforms target some of the most vulnerable among us, especially seniors living on fixed- incomes.

This year, I fought to restore $40 million in cuts to Westchester's hospitals and rejected a new "sick tax" on hospitals and other health care providers. To ensure our families have access quality care, I'm also fighting to save the Westchester County Medical Center. Unfortunately, without help from the federal government our quality of care will suffer.

Federal laws slash overtime while governor fights to keep minimum wage low

With our cost of living rising, the federal government's denial of overtime benefits to thousands of American workers is a major setback to hardworking families trying to get by. Teachers, nurses, police officers, chefs and assistant managers are just some of the positions who will be forced to say goodbye to the reward for going the extra mile at work.

At the same time, the governor went the extra mile recently to stop New York's minimum wage earners from getting the first wage increase in over four years. By vetoing a plan to raise the state minimum wage to $7.15 over the next three years, the governor has kicked in the shins the hundreds of thousands of families struggling to make ends meet. The Assembly voted to override his vetoes, but the state Senate needs to step up and join us in making the minimum wage hike law.

It is my hope that we will really receive help from our colleagues in Washington and the governor. The Republicans who control these positions are holding their convention in New York, a state which has consistently been shortchanged by their leadership. I will continue fighting to get the results our families need.