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AARP: Cuomo Misses Mark in Exec. Budget, Leaves Utility Ratepayers, Caregivers - and Taxpayers - Hanging

Utility Consumer Watchdog Could Ease Highest Electric Rates in Continental U.S.; Support for Caregivers Would Save Taxpayers Money

ALBANY, N.Y., Jan. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York State:

"Today, in his Executive Budget proposal, Governor Cuomo simply missed the mark for New York's most powerful voting group. Baby Boomers and older New Yorkers are facing a caregiving crisis that's quickly headed for disaster, and they continue to struggle with sky-high utility bills. They need help - but were largely overlooked. 

"New York is one of only a handful of states lacking a utility watchdog and a level playing field in utility rate hike cases. A strong, independent office to advocate for utility consumers would save consumers money and give them a seat and a voice at the table currently dominated by big utility companies with deep pockets to push New York's highest average electric rates in the continental United States even higher.

"New York ranked a dismal 48th in state support for caregivers, and a looming demographic shift will leave fewer people to care for more frail elderly. Providing caregivers the supports and services they need now is crucial. Investing $26 million to ensure non-Medicaid in-home services to 7,000 older New Yorkers on waiting lists and using $10 million in federal funds to launch a navigator to help caregivers find the right services would allow more of our loved ones to age at home - rather than in costly, taxpayer-funded nursing homes.

"AARP stands ready to work with the Governor to address these omissions in his 30-day budget amendments and provide relief to the kitchen table economies of New York's most powerful voting demographic, the 50+."

Follow us on Twitter:  @AARPNY and Facebook: AARP New York

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity of AARP that is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.

SOURCE AARP New York

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