Local officials oppose Governor Hochul’s cuts to veterans’ programs

Assemblyman Matt Slater denouncing Hochul's cuts to veteran programming.

MAHOPAC- Assemblyman Matt Slater joined Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne, Putnam County Sheriff Kevin McConville, Megan Castellano, and Marine Corps Veteran Jack Duncan from Guardian Revival as well as local veterans at the Mahopac VFW to oppose Gov. Hochul’s proposed cuts to veterans’ programs in the state budget.

 “A $227 billion budget, with billions of dollars in new funding, and the governor has proposed cutting millions of dollars that support our brave veterans and servicemembers.  It is egregious that Gov. Hochul does not put veterans first,” Slater said.

The restoration of these cuts has support from both parties in Albany.  Slater recently signed onto letters to the governor, along with several of his Democratic colleagues, calling for a restoration of the proposed cuts.

“With some of the programs Assemblyman Slater was talking about brings the ability to fund some of our non-profit veterans’ organizations, like our VFWs or American Legions, with capital improvements. There are a number of examples in Putnam County where our local veterans’ organizations could have benefitted from these types of programs and these dollars.  I’m thankful to Assemblyman Matt Slater for leading the charge on this and working with a bipartisan coalition,” said Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne.

“The people who are working for us are veterans, they are Guardians, and we want to make sure we are paying them a living wage because that’s what they deserve,” said Megan Castellano, chief of staff at Guardian Revival.

“I’ve been working on veterans’ issues since 1985 and, every year, we have to go to Albany and Washington and beg for funding when we shouldn’t have to.  We went and served our country.  Why are we begging to be taken care of and helped?” said Karl Rhode, Director of the Putnam County Veterans’ Service Agency.

In her executive budget proposal, the governor has proposed removing the funding for 17 veterans’ programs that were added by the legislature last year, totaling $2.6 million.  Advocates plan to fight for the restoration of these funds in the final enacted state budget, which is due by April 1st.