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Senate budget bill restores aid to Stony Brook Hospital

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Most of the $55 million in funding for Stony Brook University Hospital was restored in the $132.5 billion State Senate budget bill passed today, State Senator Ken LaValle announced this evening.

Funding was also restored for the Long Island Veterans Home, LaValle said in a press release.

The senate budget bill also added some $280 million in school aid, but impacts on local school districts have not yet been evaluated, according to a LaValle aide.

“There was some shuffling in the distribution, yes,” said Drew Biondo, an aide to the senator. He said he hoped to have numbers regarding specific potential impacts on Wednesday.

The senate’s budget bill must be reconciled with one yet to be passed by the assembly, where a bill was also presented Tuesday.

An adopted budget is due April 1.

LaValle called the senate’s budget measure “a fiscally sound plan that reduces spending, rejects tax increases and makes responsible investments in New York’s future.”

“The plan would spend less than the Executive Budget,” LaValle said, “and stabilizes the state’s finances this year and in future years.”

LaValle said he restored funding in the senate’s budget to include $16.6 million in community college base aid. He also said he was able to return 75 percent of the 2008-09 SUNY tuition increase back into the 2012-13 academic year. The students’ tuition money was previously swept into the state’s general fund, LaValle said.

“We inserted a provision to make sure the students’ and parents’ money can never be stolen again,” LaValle said. It also requires 100 percent of any future tuition increases to be retained by SUNY and defines the state’s obligation in terms of investment in our students and our campuses, LaValle said.

“Tuition increases will now benefit students and SUNY and cannot be used as a piggy bank for the state,” LaValle added.

LaValle said he and his senate’s colleagues agree with many of the governor’s proposals.

“I could not let stand the extreme cuts to our local hospital, our veterans home and aid to community colleges that would hurt those who most need our help,” said LaValle, chairman of the senate’s Higher Education Committee,