New York has already shown the country that free college tuition is possible, and they're also setting the pace for helping homeless animals.
Thanks to a recently updated budget, the state of New York has turned a lot of heads by offering free tuition to all middle-class college students. They're the first state to enact and move forward with such a plan, and they've brought up the question for other states around the country, "If they can do it, why can't we?"
That's the message animal advocates hope to send when other states learn of another budgeting decision recently made by New York.
Declaring free college tuition wasn't the only thing the 2017-2018 New York State budget did. The document also details how in partnership with the ASPCA and by working closely with the New York State Animal Protection Federation, the state will also grant a significant amount of money to eligible animal shelters, rescues, and humane societies.
The Companion Animal Capital Fund designates $5 million to go toward much-needed capital improvements at shelters across the state. Sen. Phil Boyle and Assembly Member Deborah Glick led the pursuit and are proud to finally bring the financial assistance into reality.
Senior director of the ASPCA Government Relations for the Northeast region, Bell Ketzer, explains the extreme necessity of this budget change.
"New York law requires every municipality to maintain an animal shelter for homeless and abandoned animals, but local shelters receive little to no state funding to help offset their often substantial operating costs."
Besides the obvious expenses of feeding and providing care for the animals, shelters face many other financial burdens that are often overlooked by the general public. They have utility bills to pay and building maintenance to keep up with. If the heater or air conditioner breaks down, they need money to repair it. Many shelters require vehicles for animal transport, costing them more money in gas and automotive maintenance. They need money for infrastructural improvements and expansion, and in many cases, those costs get in the way of the real mission--helping animals in need.
While $5 million won't help every shelter lift their financial burdens, it's a promising start in the right direction. Once other states see significant improvements in New York shelters, they could be encouraged to follow suit. Volunteers may be the back bone of animal advocacy, but they can't do it alone. They need money and support from local governments, and New York is helping make that happen.
What do you think of New York's new budget? Let us know in the comments.
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