Assembly Releases $170 Billion Spending Plan

In March 13, 2018
Proposal Continues Assembly Commitment to School Aid, Higher Education, Health Care, Human Services and Criminal Justice Reforms

 

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Ways and Means Committee Chair Helene E. Weinstein today announced the Assembly’s State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2018-19 Families First budget proposal of $170.2 billion.

This proposal would make significant investments in education, identify essential, ongoing resources to fund the MTA, establish meaningful policies to confront sexual harassment and reform our criminal justice system to ensure that all New Yorkers are treated equally.

The Assembly proposes General Fund spending of $76.6 billion in SFY 2018-19. This is an increase of $6.5 billion or 9.3 percent over SFY 2017-18. The proposed spending is $1.3 billion or 1.7 percent higher than the Executive Budget proposal.

“The Assembly majority is dedicated to making New York State a better place to live and to raise your family. Our budget reflects that, making important investments in education, so from pre-k to college, our students have the resources they need to thrive in the 21st century economy. New Yorkers deserve to have a safe, reliable and efficient transportation system. To help the MTA get there, we’re investing nearly $500 million to fund improvements. In order to meet these critical needs, we are asking the most fortunate among us to do a little more,” said Heastie. “We will keep fighting to ensure that from the Long Island Sound to the shores of the Great Lakes, every New Yorker has opportunity to succeed.”

“This spending plan will help support every aspect of New Yorkers’ lives from pre-natal care to assisted living to ensuring a quality education that will put them on the path to success for the rest of their lives,” said Weinstein. “The Assembly Majority has worked hard and will continue working to ensure these kinds of investments in our community will make New York a better place for all families.”

Revenues

The Assembly spending plan would make the current Personal Income Tax top rate of 8.82 percent permanent and increase rates for those making over $5 million to ensure funding for critical services. The Assembly’s Personal Income Tax surcharge proposal on earners who make over $5 million is projected to increase revenues by $232 million in SFY 2018-19, growing to almost $4 billion in SFY 2021-22. The rates would be 9.32 percent for incomes between $5 million and $10 million, 9.82 percent for incomes between $10 million and $100 million, and 10.32 percent for incomes over $100 million.

The Assembly provides nearly $500 million in new revenues from the Transportation Sustainability Program to fund certain transportation and MTA initiatives. Among these is a $2.75 charge on transportation services like Uber, Lyft, black cars and limousines in Manhattan below 96th Street, and a charge of one dollar on trips outside that zone. Taxicabs and street hailed green cab trips below 96th Street in Manhattan would be subject to an additional 50 cent per trip surcharge.

As part of the revenues in the Transportation Sustainability Program, the real estate transfer tax also provides $284 million to the General Fund. The Assembly plan proposes progressive Real Estate Transfer tax rates for residential and commercial properties valued over $5 million. A New York City real estate “flipping tax” would amend the New York City tax code to allow imposing a surcharge on real estate transactions when the sale occurs within two years of the original conveyance.

The Assembly largely accepts the Executive proposal aimed at protecting New Yorkers from federal tax reforms that give tax cuts to wealthy donors, while the American middle class faces tax increases, lost deductions and economic uncertainty.

The Assembly spending plan would also include a proposal to close the carried interest tax loophole, which would tax the carried interest income of hedge fund and private equity investors as ordinary income.

Education

The spending plan allocates $27.1 billion in school aid, which is an increase of $1.5 billion or 5.9 percent over the 2017-18 School Year (SY).

The Assembly proposes to increase Foundation Aid to $18.4 billion for SY 2018-19, an increase of $1.2 billion. This allocation helps fund the State’s obligation for our neediest schools pursuant to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, bringing all schools to at least 50 percent of their total Foundation Aid. The Assembly proposal also includes a multi-year phase-in of Foundation Aid, ensuring that all school districts would receive their full Foundation Aid by SY 2021-22.

The budget also makes critical investments in community schools, which offer a holistic approach to educating students by acting as community hubs and offering wraparound services, as well as the Supportive Schools Grant Program, which helps districts improve school climate, safety, and implement the Dignity for All Students Act. Other significant investments include funding for pre-kindergarten, mental health services, and My Brother’s Keeper, a program initiated to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.

Higher Education

The Assembly’s budget proposal continues the progress of the Higher Education Road to Success Initiative by making a $16 billion investment to promote college affordability in New York State. It includes a 20 percent increase over 2017-18 levels for opportunity programs for a total investment of $23.8 million, and increases base aid at SUNY and CUNY to $2,747/Full Time Equivalent (FTE). The Assembly budget restores $24.6 million to fully fund Bundy Aid and builds on the successful Foster Youth initiative started in 2015 by providing $6 million to support foster students on their path to higher education. The proposal restores $200 million in capital support to SUNY for critical maintenance and $100 million each to CUNY and SUNY for expansion projects. Other measures include a new $25 million Martin Luther King, Jr. non-tuition scholarship to help close the affordability gap for even more families across the state.

Transportation and MTA

The Assembly budget proposal invests $10.5 billion in the state’s transportation network. New measures will address current and future capital needs by creating dedicated revenue streams to prioritize safety and service reliability in transit systems across the state. The Assembly adds $490 million to bring total MTA support to $5.3 billion. To support suburban and upstate transportation needs, $335 million is dedicated for non-MTA downstate transit systems and $221.5 million to upstate transit systems. Also included in the spending action is $519.9 million for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) and $100 million for the Pave NY program. Other budget items include $104.5 million in support for non-MTA downstate and upstate transit capital projects, as well as $3 million to upgrade diesel train engines to meet higher emissions standards.

The Assembly budget would establish a new bi-partisan workgroup to make recommendations on the actions and measures needed to provide safe, adequate and reliable transportation within the City of New York and the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District.

Criminal Justice

The Assembly’s spending plan incorporates components from the Assembly’s Criminal Justice Package that include comprehensive reforms of pretrial processes and procedures in criminal cases regarding speedy trial and discovery, measures to increase accountability and transparency in cases where civilians are killed during interactions with law enforcement, limits on the use of solitary confinement in jails and prisons, and gun safety measures. The plan allocates $5 million in additional funding to support the implementation of the bail reform provisions. The proposal also includes the Assembly’s proposed Child Victims Act to extend the criminal and civil statute of limitations for sex offenses against a minor.

Also included in the plan are re-entry initiatives to assist individuals with criminal convictions to successfully and safely reintegrate into society. The plan includes a proposal to ensure New Yorkers are able to find employment after incarceration by clarifying the process by which employers and licensing agencies evaluate an individual’s criminal history as well as “ban the box” legislation, automatic sealing of low-level marijuana offenses and expansion of diversion from incarceration opportunities.

The Assembly’s proposal would also require the State to fully fund the implementation of Raise the Age for every local government, including the City of New York.

Sexual Harassment

The Assembly will propose a comprehensive package of laws to address the scourge of sexual harassment that injures victims personally, financially and professionally.

The proposal would expand the powers of the Attorney General to provide the authority to prosecute criminal and defend civil cases for all protected classes. It preserves the right of a plaintiff to request confidentiality. It allows the state or local government that has paid a victim to recover payment from an officer or employee as a result of his or her discriminatory act. It would also:

  • require a neutral third party arbitrator;
  • ban mandatory arbitration agreements;
  • void clauses in employment contracts that waive rights relating to discrimination claims; and
  • require annual reporting requirements for employers related to discrimination.

Additionally, the Division of Human Rights would develop a model policy that would be posted online and made available to the public. The policy would prohibit discrimination, unlawful discriminatory practices including sexual harassment, and retaliation. It would include a complaint and investigation process, an appeals process and training requirements. All employers, employment agencies, labor organizations and licensing agencies would be required to have a policy in place that meets the minimum standard established by the model policy. The Division of Human Rights would also be required to establish a 24-hour complaint hotline and develop informational materials.

Organizations participating in any state or local competitive bidding process or applying for any state or local tax credit would be required to have a policy prohibiting discrimination including sexual harassment.

Housing

The Assembly proposal provides $275 million for capital repairs and restoration for public housing developments. Of that, $200 million is earmarked for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The plan enhances the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to maximize investment in low income housing projects. It also includes the extension of the Historic Rehabilitation Credit.

Health and Mental Health

The Assembly spending plan makes critical investments in the state’s public health system, and particularly in combating heroin and opioid addiction. The plan restores $135 million in reductions to the Medicaid program. Recognizing the vitally important role of health care providers, the Assembly proposal would restore the trend factor for hospital nursing homes, home care and personal care providers, which would provide $430 million in support for critical safety-net providers. The plan also earmarks $525 million in capital funding for the state’s health care providers, which includes at least $75 million for community based providers.

The bill invests in children’s mental hygiene by providing $15 million to expand children’s mental health services, which the Executive budget would have delayed, and $10 million in capital support for children’s behavior health development.

To combat the scourge of heroin and opioid addiction, Assembly provides $47.75 million in additional support of an expansion of related programs, bringing total spending to $270 million. The legislation would also increase the proposed opioid surcharge, which would provide an additional $31.75 million over the Executive proposal. These funds would to go support the expansion of treatment, prevention and recovery programs, as well as school based substance use programs, workforce support and other programs.

Human Services

The Assembly’s budget proposal includes a new $128.7 million federal allocation in support of child care services, including $31 million to increase child care subsidies.

The plan also reduces cost shifts to local governments by restoring $58.4 million to reject the Governor’s reductions to the City of New York for the Close to Home Program ($41.4 million) and child welfare services ($17 million).

The Assembly’s plan also offers support for the human services sector by providing $23 million to fund increased labor costs among human service contractors due to the increase in minimum wage and provides a new $20 million for the Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment Program.

Other human services allocations include $15 million for a three-year pilot program to support shelter allowances for individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in New York City and Rochester.

Seniors

As the Baby Boom population has aged, New York State’s older population has grown, and will continue to grow significantly. The Assembly spending plan includes important investments to help support the aging population. The budget provides $20 million in capital funding to support the establishment of 1,000 new assisted living program beds in underserved areas. The proposal also funds $29.4 million, restoring $500,000 from the Executive budget, in funding for the Community Services for the Elderly program. The spending plan provides more than $2 million in restorations to long-term care programs, which ensure that home care and personal care services are available to help seniors remain in the community.

Also allowing seniors to stay in their homes as long as possible, the plan provides funding for senior housing programs including a total of $4 million for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC) and Neighborhood NORC.

The Assembly also takes measures to protect seniors and other New Yorkers from unscrupulous practice by investing $350,000 to create the Office of the Utility Consumer Advocate.

Environment

The Assembly’s spending plan includes a $300 million allocation to the Environmental Protection Fund. Included is funding for land acquisition, zoos, botanical gardens and aquaria, the Hudson River Park Trust, and environmental justice. Additionally, to ensure the availability of safe drinking water, the Assembly authorizes all water bodies throughout the state to be eligible for $65 million in funding sources to combat algae blooms.