While most legislators are busy haggling over pre-kindergarten funding and campaign finance reform in the state budget, state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) has renewed his bid to secure money for Queens nonprofits.
Addabbo said he met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this month and urged him to institute an alternative framework for distributing state funds to community organizations, schools, senior centers and neighborhood projects after the executive curtailed lawmakers’ access to member items in 2010 amid a spate of scandals involving the so-called member items.
The state budget once included a lump sum for generic aid to schools, corporations, municipalities or nonprofits, which legislators would direct to local initiatives.
“I said, ‘Governor, I don’t mind that you took it away from me ... but you never replaced it and now I have senior centers, veterans posts, after-school programs suffering,” Addabbo said, before listing organizations that he once directed funding to that have since closed due to a lack of money, including the Queens Multi-Service Center in Glendale, which provided case management for seniors, and the Forest Park Senior Center.
The senator has reintroduced a bill he drafted last year that would maintain the money once funneled through member items, but continue barring legislators from controlling it by having the state vet organizations and award financing through grant applications.
No senators have signed onto the bill and it does not have a sponsor in the state Assembly.