New York state budget officials have restored nearly $7 million in annual funding for spinal cord injury research after an influential lobby of paraplegics put pressure on Albany lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s administration.
The group, New Yorkers to Cure Paralysis, had tried unsuccessfully since 2010 to restore about $8.5 million in annual state funding for the research, which they argued is required to be spent by state law. Roughly $2 million was restored last year, and Mr. Cuomo’s original 2014 budget earmarked a total of $4.9 million.
The paraplegics’ group spent the last several weeks lobbying state lawmakers personally, and won a crucial ally in Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle. In its final budget, which was signed into law last week, New York state officials ultimately gave the program $7.9 million, which includes $900,000 that went unspent last year. No reason for the increase was given. “It’s just part of budget negotiations,” said Morris Peters, a spokesman for the New York State Division of Budget.
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