Outlines two budget options: One that advances aggressive post-COVID reconstruction, one that ‘causes pain for NY’ if feds fail to provide $15 billion
FY 2022 executive budget briefing book available here
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday outlined the fiscal year 2022 executive budget to reimagine, rebuild and renew New York in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s what his camp reported:
The governor presented two budget options, depending on the level of funding the federal government provides to New York following the devastating economic impact of Washington's failed COVID-19 response. The first option would support New York state's ongoing war against the pandemic and aggressive post-COVID reconstruction plan. The second option – absent $15 billion in federal funding – would cause pain for New Yorkers by forcing the state to raise revenue, cut expenses and borrow.
The governor also reiterated his call on federal partners to repeal the harmful State and Local Tax policy – or SALT cap – that cost New Yorkers over $30 billion over the last three years and amounted to the first double taxation in history. The average cost of SALT cap to New York households is $2,600 per home.
If the federal government provides New York with the $15 billion fair share, the state will be able to:
√ Advance a $306 billion infrastructure plan – the largest in the nation – and $29 billion in green economy investments.
√ Enact a $1.3 billion rent relief program, fund $20 billion program to create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes, and provide $128 million for homeless housing and assistance.
√ Institute a $15 cap on broadband for low-income families, provide $150 million to address food insecurity, and continue the $10 million investment in the Liberty Defense Fund to provide free legal consultations and screenings to help undocumented New Yorkers.
√ Create a $130 million pandemic recovery and restoration program to support small businesses as well as restaurant, arts and entertainment industries that were hurt by COVID.
√ Establish a $40 million infectious disease resiliency commercialization fund to fast-track innovations and address emerging health threats.
√ Create a public health corps that will assist in supporting COVID-19 vaccination operations, establishing a best-in-the-nation emergency response public health capacity.
"The story of COVID has many chapters – we launched the battle last year and now we must not only finish it, but begin an aggressive post-COVID reconstruction," Cuomo said. "We are in a different time and a different world than just one year ago and we shouldn't be surprised that this budget will look different. We have a plan in place – a strength that we have not had before – and I believe our future is bright, but Washington must act fairly if we are to emerge on the other side of this crisis. Despite the federal irresponsibility, which allowed COVID to ambush our state, New Yorkers are ready to begin rebuilding, but for that to happen, we need SALT repealed and $15 billion in rightfully deserved federal aid – and we need it now. After years of federal hostility, I believe the stars are lined up for that to change – we just need to do it. We built the greatest state once before and I know that we will do it again."
Fiscal highlights of the FY 2022 executive budget, assuming $15 billion in federal aid:
√ State operating funds spending is $103.4 billion
√ All funds spending $192.9 billion for FY 2022
√ Provides $31.7 billion in school aid
√ Provides $7.5 billion in state support for higher education in New York
2022 ‘Reimagine | Rebuild | Renew’ Enacted Budget Highlights
Defeating COVID and Strengthening Health Care Delivery
Telehealth: The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the health care delivery system, as methods for accessing care have expanded. Accordingly, the state is advancing a comprehensive package of telehealth reforms that will lower costs, enhance care for vulnerable populations, and increase access to telehealth services by:
√ Increasing access to services through comprehensive regulatory reform by permitting telephonic delivery of care, permitting interstate licensure, allowing certain unlicensed staff (e.g. credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor trainees) to deliver substance use disorder services via telehealth, expanding covered telehealth providers, eliminating obsolete location requirements, expanding reimbursement for patient monitoring, integrating telehealth into the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY), requiring telehealth in commercial insurance and expanding access to mental health and addiction services.
√ Promoting innovative technologies and approaches by increasing training and education opportunities, establishing a pilot program to facilitate telehealth for vulnerable populations, requiring insurers to offer e-triage and virtual emergency department, and allowing insurers to satisfy contractual care management requirements by utilizing emerging telehealth solutions that enhance care management efforts and integrated multi-disciplinary teams.
Expanding Nation-Leading COVID-19 Diagnostic Capacity: The executive budget will continue to support the expansion of the state's world-leading testing program, currently able to perform over 200,000 COVID-19 tests on a daily basis to identify disease and mitigate community spread. This will include leveraging the research expertise of Wadsworth laboratories, which was the first public laboratory in the U.S. to have a non-Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 test approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The state will also continue to operate a network of 22 regionally located drive-thru and walk-in testing locations available to all New Yorkers completely free of charge, and will establish a network of rapid testing locations by partnering with testing companies to allow business and entertainment centers to safely reopen.
Launch a New York State Infectious Diseases Resiliency Commercialization Fund: As part of Cuomo's Life Science Initiative, Empire State Development will create a new $40 million New York State Infectious Diseases Resiliency Commercialization Fund led by ESD and advised by the New York State Department of Health and other private experts to capitalize on New York's substantial research and development assets and expertise in life sciences, biotechnology and biodefense. The fund will focus on accelerating the growth of companies to fast track the development of innovations that address emerging infectious diseases, public health threats and support economic growth.
Continue COVID Response and Implementation of Vaccine Distribution: The executive budget will support the implementation of a statewide COVID-19 vaccination program that will be available to all New Yorkers within the year, ensuring a fair and equitable distribution to vulnerable and underserved communities within all regions of the state. The vaccine program will cover nearly 20 million residents at no cost, driving New York toward becoming the nation's first COVID-safe state and accelerating the state's reopening effort.
Create the New York Public Health Corps: The New York Public Health Corps will assist in supporting COVID-19 vaccination operations and establishing a best-in-the-nation emergency response public health capacity that lasts beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. These fellows will include students in undergraduate and graduate public health programs, nursing schools and medical and pharmaceutical schools, recent graduates, retired medical professionals, volunteer first responders, and other New Yorkers who will receive an intensive public health training curriculum developed by Cornell University. After the COVID vaccination program is completed, New York will build on this public health corps model by continuing to recruit and train public health professionals to be available and prepared to serve the state in any future crisis.
Assist Workers in Getting Vaccinated: To protect workers and those returning to work, improve public health, and help the state's economic recovery, public and private employers would be required to provide four hours of paid leave for up to two COVID-19 vaccinations for each employee.
$100 million to Eliminate Co-Payments for Low-Income New Yorkers: The COVID-19 pandemic showcased the persistent, staggering health care disparities in this country and in New York. Blacks, Latinos, Asians and poor communities paid the highest price for COVID-19. Higher rates of underlying conditions were a major driver of these disparities. Increasing access to affordable health care will help address these disparities and help ensure that New York emerges from the pandemic stronger and more equitable.
Through New York's successful health insurance exchange, the New York State of Health, low-income families qualify for the state's Essential Plan for free or with a maximum premium of $20 a month per person. However, families and individuals still struggle with the expense. To make coverage more affordable for low-income New Yorkers, Cuomo will eliminate these monthly premiums for over 400,000 New Yorkers, saving families nearly $100 million per year in premiums and enrolling 100,000 New Yorkers who are currently uninsured.
Additionally, the executive budget calls for a $420 million investment in rates of payments to Essential Plan providers. This rate change will enhance provider reimbursement, which will promote and support access to vital health care services. Further, the budget establishes a $200 million Essential Plan quality pool to promote high quality of care, strengthen provider networks, incentivize providers based on performance, and ensure provider access for all Essential Plan members.
Create the New Office of Addiction and Mental Health Services. In a continuation of previous efforts to coordinate and align services for individuals with addiction and mental illness, the executive budget integrates the Office of Addiction Services and Supports and the Office of Mental Health to create a new agency: the Office of Addiction and Mental Health Services.
Integrated Licensing: The executive budget authorizes the Department of Health, Office of Addiction Services and Supports, and the Office of Mental Health to establish a single, integrated license for outpatient mental health, addiction, and physical health services.
Jumpstarting New York's Economic Recovery
Enact the Pandemic Recovery and Restart Program: In order to help jumpstart New York's economy, New York will establish three new tax credits and expand another totaling $130 million to help smaller businesses in the accommodation, arts and entertainment, restaurant and musical and theatrical production industries to recover from the pandemic and bring back jobs to New York.
•Small Business Return-To-Work Tax Credit: This provides up to $50 million in tax credits to support small businesses in highly impacted sectors in the hiring of additional workers through 2021.
•Restaurant Return-To-Work Tax Credit: This tax credit provides up to $50 million in tax credits to support restaurants hard hit by the pandemic through 2021.
•Extend and Enhance the Musical and Theatrical Production Credit for Four Years: This tax credit provides up to $25 million in tax credits for the jump start of the industry and the support of tourism activity in New York City. In order to support musical and theatrical productions that occur in the state but outside of New York City, the budget extends this credit for four years through 2025 and doubles it to $8 million.
Educate and Train Workers for In-Demand Jobs: Under Cuomo's leadership, New York state has connected an unprecedented number of workers to jobs, and New York's colleges and universities have served a vital role in this effort. Workforce development must be flexible and respond nimbly to a rapidly changing environment and the COVID-related recession has magnified the need for flexibility.
Along with an unprecedented increase in unemployment, the pandemic has caused a massive shift in the type of jobs available and in who is looking for work. The executive budget includes several initiatives under which New York's colleges and universities will help rebuild New York's economy by educating and training workers for in-demand jobs:
•Pathways Pledge: In partnership with Cuomo's Reimagine New York Commission, New York is launching a “Pathways Pledge” among New York's leading employers, both public and private, to create more inclusive workforces and provide more workforce development opportunities.
•SUNY's Free Online Training Center: Cuomo will expand SUNY's free Online Training Center so New Yorkers can enroll in additional employment certification programs for quality jobs in high-demand growing industries like health care and advanced manufacturing. The training center will give more New Yorkers in every region of the state – from rural communities to urban centers – another opportunity to receive free job training certifications and then automatically be admitted to any one of SUNY's 30 community colleges for future career advancements.
•SUNY Stony Brook Offshore Wind Institute: New York's accelerated renewable energy development program is creating thousands of well-paying jobs. In order to make sure New Yorkers benefit from these opportunities, the state is investing $20 million in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute based at SUNY Stony Brook and Farmingdale State College. In 2021, NYSERDA and SUNY will issue the first solicitations for advanced technology training partners, leveraging our SUNY and CUNY system to train the first phase of an estimated 2,500 workers beginning in summer of 2021.
•Priority Access for Nurses in SUNY and CUNY Programs: In 2017, Cuomo signed into law "BSN in 10" to enhance the quality of patient care and elevate the nursing profession. It requires all nurses who complete an associate degree in New York state to complete a baccalaureate of science degree in nursing within 10 years to maintain licensure by the state. Beginning in fall 2021, SUNY and CUNY will implement priority admission to nursing programs so the 40,000 nurses and nursing candidates in need of completing their baccalaureate credentials can receive a quality and affordable education within the state.
Advance the Economic Recovery through Workforce Development. The executive budget enacts a COVID-19 recovery workforce initiative, which invests $50 million for training in high-growth industries, employer-driven training for low-income workers, and funding for small businesses to re-train and hire furloughed, laid-off, or new employees. The investments will provide durable skills that lead to high-quality jobs and support the growth of small businesses recovering from COVID-19 impacts.
Mobile Sports Betting: The executive budget will authorize a mobile sports wagering market. Legalization will provide more than $500 million in much-needed revenue for the state to help rebuild from COVID-19 in the short-term and grow what could be the largest sports wagering market in the U.S. into a profitable industry long-term.
Legalization of Adult-Use Cannabis: The executive budget legalizes cannabis for adult use. Legalization will not only ensure public health and safety, but provide an opportunity for the state to generate more than $300 million in tax revenue. Beginning in FY 2023, revenues shall be first distributed to the cannabis social equity fund in the amount of $100 million over four years and $50 million annually thereafter. These monies will be used to support individuals and communities that have been the most harmed by decades of cannabis prohibition.
Support the Unemployed and Protect Workers: Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Department of Labor has paid out more than $61 billion in benefits to over 4 million New Yorkers – nearly 29 typical years' worth of benefits. The executive budget and administrative actions advance a package of reforms to the unemployment system, including upgrades to modernize technology, allowing work search activities to be performed via video conference and online, and creating a centralized virtual portal for workers to file wage, discrimination, retaliation and other workplace violation claims. In addition, DOL will implement immediate regulatory changes to allow for partial unemployment benefits, based on the number of hours actually worked over the course of a week to incentivize unemployed New Yorkers to assume a part-time job as they search for full-time work. Legislation submitted with the budget will make permanent new benefit calculations for partial unemployment insurance made possible by technological improvements.
Continued Investment in Tourism: The COVID-19 pandemic caused a precipitous drop in travel, hitting New York's tourism industry particularly hard. As New York state advances its scientific-based reopening efforts, the budget includes additional funding to attract visitors from around the world and boost the tourism economy. The program includes a ninth round of $15 million in competitive funding through the Market NY initiative to support marketing projects that promote regional attractions.
Another Round of Regional Economic Development Councils: The executive budget includes core capital and tax-credit funding that will be combined with a wide range of existing agency programs for REDC awards totaling $750 million and will target assistance to impacted industries and allow for job creating and retention.
Expand Opportunities for New York's MWBE Program: Cuomo has been a champion of the minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE). In 2014, he set the utilization goal in state contracting at 30% to ensure all New Yorkers have the opportunity to take part in New York state's growing economy. New York state now has the highest MWBE contract participation in the nation. In fact, state contract spending with MWBE firms has grown from less than $100 million in 2010 to $3.14 billion as MWBE in FY 2020. To build upon this success, the Empire State Development Corp., in partnership with the Reimagine New York Commission, will launch the "Entrepreneurship Navigator'' to provide customized services and streamlined access to start-up programs to help incubate minority and women entrepreneurs in the technology and innovation sector.
New York Works Economic Development Fund. A sixth round of investment equaling $220 million for the New York Works Economic Development Fund will provide additional statewide capital grants to support projects that facilitate the creation of new jobs or retain existing jobs, or fund infrastructure investments necessary to attract new businesses or expand existing businesses in support of economic recovery.
Downtown Revitalization: The pandemic has kept New Yorkers at home to save lives, disrupting the flow of commerce in the downtown communities across the state. These areas need support now more than ever. To that end, the FY 2022 budget provides $100 million for another round of the downtown revitalization initiative, which has been transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families.
Transportation and Infrastructure
$306 Billion Infrastructure Plan: New York's $306 billion infrastructure plan includes the governor's $206 billion 2020-24 plan and his $100 billion 2015-19 plan. It grows this year from $275 billion with the inclusion of new, key elements of the Midtown West Redevelopment of New York City, Belmont Station Redevelopment and $1.5 billion in new capital.
Transformational Midtown West Macro Development:
•Empire Station Complex. As part of the Transformational Midtown West Development and with the completion of the Moynihan Train Hall, the state will turn to the existing Penn Station, launching a comprehensive $16 billion project to expand and reconstruct the existing station. The fully renovated Penn Station, including the iconic new Long Island Rail Road entrance on 7th Avenue that opened on Dec. 31, 2020, will comprise a widened and completely reconstructed 33rd Street LIRR concourse and an expanded and completely transformed station. Additionally, at least eight new tracks will be constructed south of the existing Penn Station to add capacity, cut down on delays, and improve operations. This will be a signature transportation project creating nearly 60,000 direct jobs and involving the federal government, Empire State Development, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. New York state stands ready to work with New Jersey Transit and the federal government to share in this historic investment for the future of the region.
•High Line Extension to Moynihan Station. As part of the Transformational Midtown West Development, the budget includes funding to support the governor's proposal to extend the High Line in Manhattan to give pedestrians seamless access to the elevated pathway from the recently opened Moynihan Train Hall. As part of a public-private partnership, Brookfield Property Group will partner with Empire State Development, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Friends of the High Line to build an L-shaped connection from the 10th Avenue terminus of the High Line to Brookfield's Manhattan West public space.
First-in-the-Nation Affordable Internet for All Low-Income Families: When the COVID-19 virus first came to New York and then quickly began to spread throughout our communities, students and adults alike had to adapt to remote learning and remote work to keep each other safe. Immediately, it became clear that universal broadband was a prerequisite for success in a remote world. Currently, a basic high-speed internet plan costs, on average, more than $50 a month. The executive budget includes first-in-the-nation legislation requiring internet service providers to offer an affordable $15 per month high speed internet plan to all low-income households. The state will also require providers to advertise this plan to ensure programs reach underserved populations across the state. To further bridge the gap, the state will partner with Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation to launch a new hardship fund to pay for internet subscriptions for our most in need students who cannot afford $15 per month during this crisis.
After nearly $500 million invested to expand broadband internet to 98% of the state, New York will also lead the nation in making broadband affordable. Without affordable broadband, people are not only disconnected, they are disenfranchised. The Reimagine New York Commission reported to the governor that high-quality, affordable broadband must be available to everyone and in New York we will make sure it is.
DOT Capital Plan: The executive budget provides $5.8 billion for the second year of a record $11.9 billion, 2-Year DOT capital plan that will facilitate the improvement of highways, bridges, rail, aviation infrastructure, non-MTA transit and DOT facilities. Compared to the final two years of the last DOT capital plan, this is an increase of $3.0 billion, or 33%.
Strengthening Local Highways and Bridges: The executive budget continues Cuomo's record commitment to funding local highway and bridge projects. Funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and the Marchiselli program is maintained at last year's level of $477.8 million. The budget also continues $100 million in highway aid through the PAVE NY program, and $100 million to fund local bridge projects from the BRIDGE NY program. These programs are further improving conditions on state and local roads and bridges.
Supporting Parks and DEC Capital Projects: The executive budget allocates $110 million in New York Works capital funding for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation. This funding will aid the ongoing transformation of the state's flagship parks, and support critical infrastructure projects. The executive budget also includes $75 million for the Department of Environmental Conservation to address a variety of capital needs to improve access to state lands, and rehabilitate campgrounds.
Clean Water Infrastructure Investment: The executive budget adds a $500 million appropriation to support clean water, raising the state's total investment to $4 billion and continuing to fulfill the governor's $5 billion clean water commitment.
Reimagine the Erie Canal: Building on the findings of the Reimagine the Canal task force, the New York Power Authority board, which now oversees the Canal Corp. as a subsidiary, will invest $300 million over the next five years to integrate the Empire State Trail and Erie Canal into a new "Empire Line" system that will stimulate tourism and economic development, address environmental challenges unknown a century ago, and create an asset that will improve the quality of life in communities along the 360-mile spine of the Erie Canal.
Olympic Regional Development Authority Capital Improvements: The executive budget includes $105 million in new capital funding for Olympic Regional Development Authority, including $92.5 million for a strategic upgrade and modernization plan to support improvements to the Olympic facilities and ski resorts with a focus on preparing for the 2023 World University Games, $10 million for critical maintenance and energy-efficiency upgrades, and $2.5 million appropriated from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation budget as part of the New York Works initiative.
Making New York a Leader in the Green Energy Economy
Under Cuomo's leadership, New York will embark on an ambitious green energy program that will spur more than $29 billion in public and private investment across the state and create 12,400 megawatts of green energy – enough to power 6 million homes. These investments will not only shift the state to a carbon neutral economy, fulfilling the goals of New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, but also spur the COVID economic recovery. Projects include:
√ Largest Offshore Wind Program in the Nation. The state will contract with Equinor Wind US LLC for the development of two new offshore wind farms more than 20 miles off the shore of Long Island, in what is the largest procurement of renewable energy by a state in U.S. history. Upon completion, the two offshore wind farms will yield a combined 2,490 megawatts of carbon-free energy, bring another $8.9 billion in investment.
√ Global Wind Energy Manufacturing Powerhouse. New York has secured commitments from companies to manufacture wind turbine components within the state and build the nation's largest offshore wind program. Plans to make New York State a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse include upgrades to create five dedicated port facilities. These projects include: the nation's first offshore wind tower-manufacturing facility to be built in the Port of Albany; facilities at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal; greater activity at Port Jefferson and Port of Montauk Harbor in Long Island. Together, the projects will leverage almost $3 of private funding for every $1 of public funding, for a combined $644 million investment in these port facilities.
√ Construct New York's Green Energy Transmission Superhighway. New York State will construct a new green energy superhighway of 250 miles. The $2 billion project will create opportunities to maximize the use of renewable energy for the parts of the state that still rely on polluting fossil-fuel plants. Construction has already started on the New York Power Authority's 86-mile Smart Path project from Massena to Croghan, and construction will soon start on several key projects in Western New York, Mid-Hudson, and the Capital Region.
√ Public-Private Partnership to Build Nearly 100 Renewable Energy Projects: Over the past five years, the State has contracted for the construction of 68 new large-scale renewable energy facilities including solar farms, onshore wind farms, and three offshore wind farms that are among the largest in the nation. These investments in renewable energy have brought economic activity to 34 counties, will add 6,100 megawatts of clean energy capacity to the state's infrastructure, and generate investment of more than $12 billion.
To build on this progress, New York will contract for another 24 large-scale renewable energy generation projects in 2021, to bring the State's total clean energy build-out to nearly 100 projects. The 23 solar farms and one hydroelectric facility will be the most cost-efficient clean energy construction to date in New York, producing more than 2,200 megawatts of clean power, generating more than $2.9 billion of investment and creating 3,400 jobs in 16 counties Upstate.
Support Electric Buses. The Executive Budget also provides non-MTA transit systems with another $20 million of capital aid, for the second installment of a $100 million five-year program to support transit agencies' transition to electric buses. Under this program, five of the largest upstate and suburban transit authorities will electrify 25 percent of their fleets by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035.
Addressing Systemic Injustices
Streamlining and Enhancing Work to Address Domestic and Gender-Based Violence: Throughout the pandemic, there has been a stark increase in instances of domestic and gender-based violence, not only in New York, but throughout the nation. To address this, the Governor will build off past progress and implement new initiatives to stamp out this despicable behavior, including:
√ Establishing a Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Label As part of the Executive Budget, the Governor will be establishing a domestic violence misdemeanor ensuring these crimes will be added to a list of those disqualifying an individual from owning a firearm.
√ The Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence: New York is proud to be the only State with an executive-level agency dedicated to the issue of domestic violence. The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence will transform into the Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence aimed at bringing together multiple efforts to address gender-based violence and create the first agency addressing gender-based violence in the nation. The new office will encourage collaboration among agencies and service providers, eliminate redundant processes, and simplify survivor interactions with the State.
√ Require Abusers to Pay Survivor Housing Costs: The Executive Budget includes legislation allowing courts to require abusers to pay for damages to housing units, moving expenses and other housing costs when related to a domestic violence incident.
Facilitating the Creation of Statewide Child Care Options: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how a lack of access to affordable child care can disrupt low-income families and force caregivers, primarily women, to choose between putting food on the table and caring for their children. While affordability serves as a barrier to families securing child care, there is also a lack of general accessibility of child care programs, as well as insufficient high-quality provider capacity across the state, which can inhibit families from accessing child care.
To make child care more affordable and equitable for our most vulnerable children and their parents, the executive budget includes efforts to:
•Strengthen Child Care Programs: The executive budget maintains $832 million for child care subsidies through the New York State Child Care Block Grant. These funds serve approximately 169,000 children, ages 0-13, from approximately 101,000 low-income families. Including child-focused tax credits and pre-kindergarten programs, support for families with child care-aged children totals nearly $2.8 billion.
•Enact Employer Child Care Credits: The budget enhances the Excelsior Jobs Program and Employer Provided Child Care Credit, providing meaningful incentives to employers to help them provide much-needed child care to their employees. The Excelsior Jobs Program is enhanced to allow for an expanded 5% investment tax credit component and a credit for 6% of ongoing net child care expenditures provided by the credit recipient. The Employer Provided Child Care Credit is also enhanced by doubling the current credit percentages to 50% of qualified child care expenditures and 20% of qualified child care resource and referral expenditures while increasing the per taxpayer cap from $150,000 to $500,000.
•Improve Child Care Affordability. The executive budget invests $40 million to ensure that no low-income New York family receiving a subsidy pays more than 20% of their income above the poverty level for child care co-pays, reducing the burden on approximately 32,000 working families. It also invests $6 million for start-up grants to create programs in child care deserts and wage supports for programs located in existing deserts identified through the Regional Economic Development Councils.
Strengthen Hiring Standards for Police Officers: The executive budget includes legislation requiring all law enforcement agencies to comply with background check standards that include a criminal history check, a mental health exam, prior employer disclosure, review of the police registry for permanent decertification, and disclosure of previous misconduct.
Require Accreditation of Departments for Background Checks: The executive budget includes legislation requiring law enforcement agencies to become accredited for the purpose of standardizing background checks to ensure that only those most qualified can serve as a law enforcement officer.
Establish Decertification Standards for Police Officers: The executive budget includes legislation to create a more robust accountability mechanism to ensure no bad actors may serve as police officers by clearly defining conduct that results in permanent decertification, mandating reporting of misconduct, and requiring information sharing of serious misconduct by officers.
Fund Body Worn Cameras: The executive budget includes funding to support recently passed legislation requiring all State Police officers on patrol to wear body cameras.
Liberty Defense Fund: This year, Cuomo will continue to support the Liberty Defense Project to keep fighting for immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families. The executive budget authorizes $10 million for the Liberty Defense Fund to provide free legal consultations and screenings to help undocumented New Yorkers.
Support Raise the Age Implementation: The executive budget includes a $250 million appropriation to support continued implementation of the “Raise the Age” initiative.
Ensure Human Rights Protections for all New Yorkers: The executive budget supports the expansion of the equal rights amendment in the state Constitution to permanently codify rights that reflect New York's commitment to equality. Legislation submitted with the budget also adds citizenship and immigration status as protected classes under the human rights law, and extends anti-discrimination provisions to for-profit schools to better protect against discrimination, harassment and bullying in such institutions.
Tackling Food Insecurities: The budget includes $150 million to tackle food insecurity, and adds $25 million to Nourish New York for a total $60 million investment. This critical program helps people who are food insecure to access the nourishment that they need, while providing a market for farmers to sell their products.
$31.7 Billion in Support to School Districts: The executive budget provides $31.7 billion in funding for school districts through school aid, STAR, and extraordinary federal funds, to support operational costs of school districts that educate 2.6 million students statewide. Approximately 70% of these funds are targeted to high-need school districts.
Allocate $4.3 Billion in Federal Supplemental Funds: Given the extraordinary strain that the pandemic as places on school districts, educators and students, the executive budget allocates funds to schools to support ongoing operational and pandemic-related costs.
Authorize Aid for Pandemic-Related School District Transportation Costs: Under the executive budget, school districts will be reimbursed school districts for the cost of delivering school meals and instructional materials during pandemic-related school closures in spring 2020.
Consolidate $3.7 Billion in Expense-Based Aids: The executive budget establishes a block grant program from existing expense-based aids so that future funding increases can be allocated more progressively through foundation aid.
Ensure Fair and Safe Housing
Affordable and Homeless Housing Capital Plan: The executive budget continues the $20 billion, comprehensive, five-year investment to create or preserve over 100,000 units of affordable housing and create 6,000 new units of supportive housing. The state is well on track toward meeting affordable housing goals and has already exceeded the supportive housing. To date, New York has financed the new construction and preservation of more than 66,500 affordable housing units and more than 7,000 units of supportive housing units that provide stability for some of the state's most vulnerable populations, including veterans, victims of domestic violence, frail or disabled senior citizens, young adults aging out of foster care, and New Yorkers identified as homeless with special needs, conditions, or other life challenges. With this success, the governor has continued the state's commitment to supportive housing. The goal is now to create 20,000 units over 15 years, and the budget includes $250 million in additional capital funding to continue making progress in FY 2022.
Support New Homeless Housing: The executive budget continues $128 million for the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, a level achieved when funding for the program was doubled in FY 2021. This investment will create more housing for individuals and families who are homeless and unable to secure adequate housing without special assistance.
Protect Renters: The executive budget advances the emergency rental assistance program supported by federal funds. The program will support households in rental arrears that have experienced financial hardship, are at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and that earn less than 80% of area median income. The program would prioritize the unemployed and those with the lowest incomes. The proposal ensures access to undocumented New Yorkers and may include the creation of a hardship fund. In addition to using the $800 million provided directly to the state, the program would be structured to enable coordinated efforts between the state and the local governments that opted to receive funds directly – leveraging the full $1.3 billion directed to New York and other resources, gaining efficiencies, and preventing fraud.
Improve Office of Mental Health Housing Services: The budget continues the $20 million investment from FY 2021 to support existing residential programs, a part of the cumulative increase of $70 million annually since FY 2015. In addition, $60 million in capital funding will preserve community-based housing that allows people to live in the most integrated setting possible.
The executive budget provides $7.5 billion in funding for higher education in New York, not including tuition – a $1.5 billion increase since FY 2012.
Preserving Support for Students Most In Need: The executive budget ensures access to an affordable college education in the face of economic challenges caused by the pandemic by preserving student financial aid and opportunity programs for our neediest students. The FY 2022 executive budget maintains full support for over $1 billion in HESC financial aid programs, including TAP and the Excelsior Scholarship, as well as over $200 million in funding for higher education opportunity programs and training centers. The budget extends financial aid award duration limits for those students who, because of the pandemic, were unable to maintain satisfactory academic progress due to illness, course closure, or other special circumstances.
Extend a Predictable Funding Plan for SUNY and CUNY. In 2011, the governor enacted a plan for predictable tuition increases for CUNY and SUNY, putting an end to surprise increases in student's bills. The executive budget extends this predictable funding plan for CUNY and SUNY that will continue to protect students from tuition spikes and provide our public colleges with additional resources to invest in college affordability and student success. This plan limits increases in the resident tuition rate at SUNY and CUNY to no more than $200 a year through AY 2025. The revenue generated from any tuition increase will be reinvested to support faculty, instruction, initiatives to improve student success and completion, and tuition credits for TAP-eligible students.
New York State Sen Rob Ortt, leader of the state GOP, said, “Today’s 2021 executive budget presentation was full of wishful thinking but lacked any sort of tangible substance. The governor continues to shift blame to the federal government while Albany Democrats skirt responsibility and allow the governor to make all of the decisions unilaterally. New York’s overtaxing and overspending far predate COVID, and it’s time for the state government to realize that on behalf of our struggling businesses and middle-class families. This is poor financial management and poor governing.”
The New York Farm Bureau issued a statement that read, “Gov. Cuomo’s proposed executive budget rests on many uncertainties facing our state’s fiscal future. Without additional federal support, agricultural programs and rural needs would undoubtedly suffer.
“The governor’s budget address highlighted two priority issues for New York Farm Bureau, universal and accessible broadband and $25 million in additional funding for Nourish NY. Many rural communities are still lacking affordable and fast broadband, which, in turn, slows down business activity and family necessities that many New Yorkers take for granted. Nourish NY has proven to be a lifeline for people in need as well as for many of our farms. When there were major disruptions along the food supply chain at the beginning of the pandemic, Nourish NY stepped in to coordinate a pathway to move food from the farms to food banks, compensating farmers for their products and reducing food waste at the same time. The program must continue.
“As we take a deep dive into the budget, we are pleased that Gov. Cuomo has also extended the farm workforce retention tax credit of $600 per employee. Its purpose was to ease the burden of climbing minimum wage rates on the fragile farm economy. New York Farm Bureau will continue to monitor budget information as it rolls out, especially considering the mounting deficit the state finds itself in this year. We urge lawmakers to be careful how they spend money. The agricultural budget is a tiny fraction of overall state spending, but farms feed all New Yorkers and are an economic engine that returns state investment exponentially. Funding reductions for research, marketing, conservation programs and the like would place even larger barriers in front of the state’s farms and food system that would prove more costly to correct down the road.”
New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta said, “This tale of two budgets is stark and a clear message to Washington that New York needs its fair share in additional stimulus funding. We agree. But, as we’ve said since last year, a two-pronged approach to the state’s fiscal crisis that includes additional federal funding for public services and new state taxes on the ultrawealthy is a long-term imperative.
“It’s a positive signal to hear that the governor’s best-case scenario budget would turn fair funding from Washington into significant resources for K-12 education, higher education and health care. However, under the ‘worst case scenario,’ using federal money while reducing the state’s share of education funding – rather than supplementing state funding – is reminiscent of the Gap Elimination Adjustment we fought for years to close. As a state, we can’t afford to view cuts of any kind to public schools and colleges, public health care, and other public services funded by state and local governments as a default option – especially when the billionaire class has seen its wealth grow as millions of New York families have struggled during this pandemic.
“We look forward to reviewing the executive budget legislation in detail and amplifying the voices of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in education, higher education, human services and health care in Albany and Washington in the months ahead to fight for a budget that meets New Yorkers’ needs during this COVID crisis.”
New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Robert Schneider said, “Gov. Cuomo presented a budget proposal – or actually, two proposals – today that includes a lot of unknowns and uncertainty for school districts. The unusual design of his budget presentation – one that assumes a minimum level of federal assistance to New York and one that provides a fairer share – underscores the fact that the governor’s budget plan is, more this year than ever, a work in progress.
“We are heartened by the state’s success in paring back the projected budget deficit, though the gap still remains daunting. New York is in dire need of assistance from the federal government, and we join with the governor in calling for our state to receive its fair share of future COVID relief packages.
“We remain concerned with the governor’s proposals to help balance the state’s budget at the expense of school districts. Those proposals include: using federal money to offset state aid cuts, reducing and consolidating categorical aids, limiting reimbursement for the steps districts took to keep their transportation programs intact last spring and eliminating prior year aid claims.
“We fully support the governor’s call for the federal government to remove the ‘SALT’ cap on state and local tax deductibility, which has hurt so many New Yorkers who support their local school districts with their property tax payments.
“On the heels of the unprecedented disruption caused by the pandemic, our schools and our students need and deserve a recovery that provides financial stability, not more unpredictability and anxiety. We are hopeful that, with sufficient federal help, our students and schools will thrive in the post-COVID recovery. We look forward to working with our state lawmakers to chart a course that provides the financial stability that our schools and students need.”
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said, “Gov. Cuomo put forward a state budget proposal during one of the most difficult times faced by our state. The pandemic is far from over, and it continues to have damaging effects on our revenues and spending. While our state economy has improved, state tax receipts are still $2.5 billion below the same point last year.
“As the governor pointed out, without federal action, communities around the state may face devastating cuts with serious consequences for New Yorkers. I am encouraged by the incoming Biden-Harris administration’s plan to provide additional help for state and local governments, but we need this aid soon.
“My office will release a more detailed analysis of the budget proposal in the coming days.”