BP Lee Urges Parity and “Fairer Share” for Queens Schools, Seniors, Hospitals

(March 2, 2020 at 11:57am)

QUEENS, NY – The Queens Borough Board, chaired by Acting Borough President Sharon Lee, issued its response to the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2021 Preliminary Budget — as voted on by the Board during its February 24 meeting — highlighting substantial resource disparities, particularly for the borough’s schools, seniors and hospitals.

“Compared to the rest of the City, Queens schoolkids are the least funded per pupil, our elders are the least funded per capita, and our hospitals are the most under-bedded,” said Borough President LEE. “While Queens has long managed to do more with less, it’s time for some overdue parity and a fairer share.”

The Board’s official recommendations can be found at www.queensbp.org/budget. The text of Borough President Lee’s cover letter to the Mayor, the New York City Council and the City’s Office of Management Budget accompanying the Queens Borough Board’s budget recommendations is as follows:

“Queens – the Borough of Families – is the largest borough in the City of New York, and home to 2.34 million New Yorkers. While the needs are diverse and ever-growing, many of these very needs are persistently underfunded and underserved, with troubling disparities relative to the other four boroughs.

“Citywide, Queens schools remain the most overcrowded and underfunded. Of the City’s entire public school student population, nearly a third is enrolled in Queens schools, yet our kids are terribly shortchanged by receiving the least amount of per pupil spending from the City than any other borough.

“Queens elders are also deeply shortchanged. The disparity is particularly sharp when we have nearly double the senior population of another borough, yet only half the City’s per capita spending compared to that same borough. Nearly a third of the City’s seniors reside in Queens, yet our elders receive the least amount of per capita spending from the City than any other.

“Queens hospitals are under-bedded and overburdened, and any Medicaid cost shifts to the City may have a big impact on Queens.  Our two public hospitals, Elmhurst Hospital Center and Queens Hospital Center, have done a remarkable job of enhancing services and public confidence in their care.  The borough as a whole, however, currently has only nine acute care hospitals serving 2.34 million residents, and the closures of four hospitals since 2008 have further strained access to healthcare. With a mere 1.66 hospital beds per 1,000 residents, Queens is by far the most under-bedded borough in the City. 

“Pursuant to Section 241 of the New York City Charter, the Queens Borough Board respectfully submits its response to the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2021 Preliminary Budget. In our identified budget and funding priorities, Queens requests some long overdue parity and a fairer share.”

The priorities were developed largely from input received on January 29, 2020 at the Borough Board’s Public Hearing on Budget Priorities. Pursuant to the City Charter, the Borough Board must submit its budget priorities each year to the Mayor, the New York City Council and the City’s Office of Management and Budget.

About the Borough Board

The Borough Board is chaired by the Borough President under the New York City Charter and comprised of the borough’s City Council members and the chairperson of each Community Board in the borough.  The Board focuses on issues dealing with land use, development, public policy, budget, and other important matters with potential borough-wide implications. The Board hears presentations from City officials and others and, as part of the land use review process, is sometimes called upon to vote on land use questions that impact more than one Community Board District.