Gov. Kathy Hochul was on vote-rich Long Island Wednesday to highlight agreements inked more than two months ago for pre-Kindergarten and day care funding, as well as property tax relief.
But while the budget deal may be weeks old at this point, voting is set to begin on Saturday in the statewide primary, and Hochul was in a part of the state where school spending and property tax concerns are routinely top issues.
New York lawmakers and Hochul agreed to a budget that boosted pre-Kindergarten programs by $125 million and will spend $7 billion for child care programs. All of these measures are meant to provide support for families who have been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, upending school and work routines along the way.
Child care remains a costly monthly expense for families, and Democratic officials this year had pushed to expand the availability and access to programs.
"This is not a babysitting situation, but what it does is allow parents the peace of mind, to know that when they go off and work hard and bring home that paycheck to support their families, that their children are in a nurturing, learning place with caring adults surrounding them," Hochul said. "That is the best outcome these children could ask for or their parents."
Hochul also touted a $2.2 billion property tax relief program with checks to homeowners being sent out this month — a move criticized by her primary opponent, Rep. Tom Suozzi.
Inflation woes, along with high gas prices, have led to broader concerns over the economy. Hochul on Wednesday said she understood the problems.
"We also talk about the cost of everything going up," she said. "That's why with my team here, the legislative team and our leaders in Albany, we said at this time, at this moment of time, when people are struggling, let's give people a break."