Today, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D -- Queens and Brooklyn) released a study highlighting the impact on Queens of the new Republican budget proposal that will be voted on this week, which would slash over $167 million in aid to the borough, including $57 million in Pell Grants for area students and over $20 million in vital funding to the MTA.
Under the Republican budget plan, Queens would lose millions of dollars in funding for cops, education, transportation, infrastructure, and health and human services. Pell Grants for low income Queens students, for instance, would be cut by $57 million, eliminating a vital lifeline for the over 168,000 college students in the borough.
The proposal also calls for eliminating $20 million in funding for essential rail and bus infrastructure and security MTA projects in Queens. With the MTA already facing a widespread deficit and reducing service to residents, including shutting down the Q74 bus line, the only direct mode of transportation for Queens College students to Kew Gardens Hills, these cuts would come to services already cut to the bone.
In addition, if the Republican plan passes, Queens' senior nutrition programs, which help seniors stay healthy by providing meals and supplying vital funding to the many senior centers in Queens, would see a decrease in funding of $200,000. The plan would also cut funding to upgrading air traffic control systems and safety at JFK and LaGuardia airport, during a time when the national threat level has never been higher.
The Public Housing and Capital Operating Fund would similarly be cut by $47 million, placing further burden on the Pomonok Houses, one of the largest complexes in Queens, which is already struggling to obtain the capital funding it needs to stay safe and comfortable.
"The deficit needs to be reduced, but cutting Pell Grants for low income college students and reducing other vital services is not the way to do it," Weiner said.