A bi-partisan group of Assembly lawmakers is urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to restore funding to combat Lyme and tick-borne diseases in his state budget plan.
The letter released Friday by Assemblywoman Didi Barrett calls for at least $1 million in funding to research Lyme and tick borne diseases to help combat this "pandemic."
"New York is at the epicenter of a growing Lyme disease public health crisis," the letter stated. "Your welcome State of the State initiative to preserve 4,000 acres of trails and parks in the Hudson Valley will not only lead to increased tourism and outdoor activities in the region, it will also result in more exposure to ticks and tick-borne diseases."
New York has the third-highest number of confirmed Lyme disease cases in the country. There have been more than 95,000 reported cases of Lyme in the state since 1986. Around $1 million was originally set aside in the Senate's one-house budget proposal to be used to research Lyme and tick borne diseases last year, but was not approved in the finalized budget.
At the end of the legislative session, around $250,000 was approved to help combat these diseases, but many lawmakers at the time said it was not nearly enough.
A group of 19 Assembly lawmakers signed on to Barrett's letter, and more are expected in the coming days.
"New York must take a leadership role in the battle against Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses," she wrote. "Our state must show a commitment to support the many New Yorkers suffering from these debilitating diseases."