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Assemblyman Dave McDonough appears before a crowd of thousands at the rally.

Over 1,000 taxpayers, students, and community leaders braved strong winds and cold temperatures at an education and taxpayer rally in Farmingdale to join with Assemblyman David McDonough (R,C,I - Merrick)in calling on Governor Paterson to give Long Island's schools their fair share of state education aid.

Back in December, the governor proposed multimillion-dollar cuts when he revealed his 2009-2010 executive budget. He said the decision is a difficult one, particularly because he said he was one of the strongest advocates for increased education funding while serving the state legislature.

Assemblyman McDonough spoke on behalf of the Long Island Republican Assembly members and rallied the crowd with a speech that encouraged civic involvement to help solve New York's current budget problems.

Members of the State's Senate and Assembly delegation, along with local education, business, and labor leaders, joined taxpayers.

"As someone who constantly advocates for an increase in education funding to Long Island, I am pleased that once again our efforts are showing a positive effect," added Assemblyman Joseph Saladino (R-Massapeuqa). "For the last five years, I have worked with our senators in securing record increases in New York State aid. While the assembly has yet to approve this year's increase, I am hopeful that the public will assist us in lobbying to ensure that Long Island receives its full and fair share of state revenues and federal stimulus funds. The more money we can force the state to deliver to our schools, the less property tax is required for school budgets."

Democratic politicians like Legislator Dave Mejias (D-Farmingdale) also attended the rally.

"For years we have been short changed by the politicians in Albany," said Legislator Mejias. "There are $3 billion in taxes that Long Island sends to Albany that we don't get back. We cannot afford to be the cash cow for New York State anymore."

In closing, McDonough directed those in attendance to take their cell phones out and call Governor Paterson's office to demand that Long Island school funding be free from budgetary cuts.

(Jaime L. Tomeo contributed to this story.)


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