Assemblymember González-Rojas praises 2025 fiscal budget for investments in Queens communities

Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas
Photo courtesy of Jessica González-Rojas’ office

Queens Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas (D-34) celebrated the passing of the New York State budget for the 2025 fiscal year, highlighting its inclusion of investments in numerous Queens neighborhoods.

Many of these investments include in the budget, which was passed on Saturday, Apr. 21, will have a large impact on her district, which includes Astoria, Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside.

González-Rojas was able to help secure a variety of local investments as part of the budget, including a pilot of a program to legalize basement apartments and bring them up to code in the neighborhood of Woodside, $140 million for capital projects at NYCHA buildings, including those in NYCHA Woodside Houses, $903,000 for the Lexington School for the Deaf, a 4201 school in the district that educates deaf and blind students, and $100,000 for Selfhelp Community Services, which serves Jackson Heights residents.

Other budget investments that González-Rojas played a part in securing include $40 million for the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP) to serve the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers at risk of losing their homes, $4.2 million for the Lorena Borjas Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Wellness and Equity Fund, $1 million for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, $1.5 million for the American Red Cross, $30 million for the Asian American Budget Equity Request, which funds local organizations in the community to help combat bias, hate crimes and violence against Asian American communities, and $500,000 for Adult Literacy Education programs. Provisions meant to mitigate retail theft and the development and operation of illegal cannabis shops were also included.

Another budget inclusion the Assemblymember highlighted were tenant protections intended to ensure covered tenants can renew their leases each year, as long as they stay current on rent and follow the terms of their lease. Additionally, $10 million was allocated to address rental arrears.

González-Rojas was also a co-lead on a budget request for increased funding for the MTA’s public buses, resulting in an $11 million increase. González-Rojas also highlighted the inclusion of Sammy’s Law in the latest budget, which allows New York City to lower the speed limits to 20 miles per hour, as well as 15 miles per hour in school zones.

After voicing her opposition to the elimination of the “hold-harmless” provision in the budget, González-Rojas was happy to see this proposal by Governor Hochul ultimately excluded from the passed budget. This provision ensures that schools receive the same level of funding as the year prior.

A member of the Health Committee, González-Rojas also was successful in her opposition to several proposed cuts to health care spending. While Governor Hochul initially proposed cutting $1.2 billion, the enacted budget ended up restoring $800 million. González-Rojas is optimistic this saved funding will help support financially strained hospitals across New York State.

“This budget was a hard-fought and long process. I’m grateful to Speaker [Carl] Heastie, my colleagues in the legislature and the advocates who engaged in delivering the best possible budget for our neighbors,” González-Rojas said . “The funding we secured will help keep more tenants in their homes and protected from eviction and provide recording funding to our schools and health care institutions. I’m proud to have led successful campaigns on various issues, including providing continual coverage to children from birth to age six in Medicaid or Child Health Plus (CHP), securing $25 million to codify a reproductive care fund to support abortion providers and $2 million to fund SNAP assistors who help hard-to-reach communities enroll in food stamps. I will continue to advocate for the necessary policy and budget investments, which will keep our neighbors safe and provide them with resources to care for themselves and their families.”