Cuomo, Legislature leaders announce agreement on $175 billion budget
Permanent property tax cap at 2%, Internet sales tax and plastic bag ban all part of the budget
Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie today announced an agreement on the FY 2020 Budget. The budget holds spending growth at 2% for the ninth consecutive year and cuts taxes for the middle class.
The budget includes several landmark policies that will bring sweeping transformation and social justice reform to the state with the passage of the permanent 2% property tax cap that has already saved New Yorkers $25 billion since it was first implemented in 2012; a strategic MTA reform plan and steady revenue stream to fund the next capital plan through Central Business District Tolling; an additional $1 billion to support education, bringing total education funding to $27.9 billion; and landmark criminal justice reforms, including reforming the cash bail system, speedy trial, and the discovery process for a more fair and just New York for all.
The budget agreement includes spending in the following categories:
Total State Operating Funds: $102.1 billion; 2 percent growth
All Funds spending $175.5 billion for FY 2020
School Aid: $27.9 billion; 3.8 percent growth
State Medicaid/Health Spending: $19.6 billion; 3.6 percent growth
“From the beginning, I said we will not do a budget that fails to address three major issues that have evaded this state for decades – the permanent property tax cap, criminal justice reform and an MTA overhaul including Central Business District Tolling,” Governor Cuomo said. “I also said this budget must be done right – meaning it must be fiscally responsible and protect New York from the federal government’s ongoing economic assault on our state.”
Budget Highlights Include:
• Permanent 2% Property Tax Cap: With the passage of this historic legislation, the inclusion of the permanent 2% property tax cap in the FY 2020 Budget will build upon the approximately $25 billion in taxpayer savings since the cap was implemented by the Governor in 2012.
• Criminal Justice Reform: New York continues its commitment to a fairer criminal justice system with the inclusion of the following reforms in the FY 2020 Enacted Budget:
• Reforming Bail and Pretrial Detention Reform: As part of a groundbreaking plan to modernize New York’s bail system, cash bail will be eliminated for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, alongside a new requirement that police officers must issue desk appearance tickets to most people charged with misdemeanors and Class E felonies, rather than making a custodial arrest. Together, these reforms will ensure approximately 90 percent of people charged, but not yet convicted of a crime, are not sitting in jail awaiting trial solely because they do not have the economic resources to meet bail.
• Transforming the Discovery Process: In order to overhaul New York’s antiquated discovery process by which prosecutors were able to withhold basic evidence until the day the trial begins, legislation included in the FY 2020 Enacted Budget will require that both prosecutors and defendants share all information in their possession well in advance of trial. Defendants will also be allowed the opportunity to review whatever evidence is in the prosecution’s possession prior to pleading guilty to a crime. In addition, the legislation will ensure that victims and witnesses are protected from intimidation and other forms of coercion by providing prosecutors with the ability to petition a court for a protective order, shielding identifying information when necessary to ensure the safety of witnesses and the sanctity of the judicial process.
• Ensuring the Right to a Speedy Trial: Under New York State law, misdemeanors are required to be resolved within 90 days and felonies within 180 days, however, the average length of pretrial detention is far longer. To address this injustice, the FY 2020 Enacted Budget includes legislation that requires courts to take a proactive role in advising litigants on how time will be charged. When appropriate, courts will also inquire into the government’s readiness to proceed to trial and require that the government file all appropriate paperwork before a statement of readiness is accepted, ensuring that the government is not able to proceed to trial until the defendant has been provided with all of the information in the case against them.
• Progressive Mansion Tax: To raise resources for the MTA, the Enacted FY 2020 Budget implements a progressive mansion tax on mansions with a combined top rate of 4.15% on the sale of properties valued at $25 million or above. This structure provides for efficient tax administration on high-end properties, raising $365 million that will be deposited into the MTA’s Central Business District tolling capital lockbox and will be used to support up to $5 billion in financing for MTA projects. The new rates go into effect on July 1, 2019.
• Internet Sales Tax: The Enacted Budget will provide a consistent framework for the collection of required sales taxes by internet marketplace providers, which is expected to annually generate $160 million in new revenue for local governments and $320 million for the MTA capital plan lockbox, supporting up to $5 billion. Other changes in sales taxes will generate another $48 million in new resources for county governments outside of New York City.
• Increases Education Funding and Equity: An increase of over $1 billion in education aid will bring total education funding to a record $27.9 billion, with over 70 percent of the increased funding going to poorer districts. School districts would be required to report how they provide appropriate funding for certain schools.
• Implements Public Campaign Finance: The FY 2020 Enacted Budget establishes a public financing commission that will have the binding power to implement public campaign financing for legislative and statewide offices, authorizing up to $100 million annually in public funds. The commission will determine specific aspects of the public financing system, including eligibility thresholds, public financing limits, and contribution limits for participating candidates. The commission’s findings will be due in a report by December 1, 2019 and will be binding unless modified by law within 20 days.
• Codifies the Affordable Care Act and Health Exchange into Law: As Washington continues to threaten to roll back the historic progress made with the Affordable Care Act, the codification of key ACA provisions and the New York State Health Exchange into law to ensure that no matter what happens at the federal level, these key provisions are protected in New York State.
• Prohibits the Use of Plastic Bags: The Enacted Budget includes legislation to ban single-use plastic bags provided to customers and allows counties and cities to opt in to a 5-cent fee on paper bags, with 40 percent of the revenue supporting local programs to buy reusable bags for low and fixed income consumers, and 60 percent of the revenue supporting programs in the State’s Environmental Protection Fund.
• Extends the Women’s Agenda: The Enacted Budget mandates coverage for in-vitro fertilization and egg-freezing, establishes rape shield protections for victims of sex trafficking, reforms domestic violence shelter requirements, and invests $26 million in child care to maintain the market rate for districts outside of New York City.
• Expands Janus Protections: The Enacted Budget provides new safeguards for public sector unions and goes further by extending Janus protections to all local governments in New York and guaranteeing the right to organize and collectively bargain.
• Enacts the Democracy Agenda: Building upon voting reform passed within the first 10 weeks of the legislative session, additional legislation mandating three hours of paid time off for all New Yorkers to vote on Election Day, enacting online voter registration, funding e-poll books, and expanding upstate voting hours to begin at 6 a.m. are being enacted as part of this year’s Budget, and includes $10 million for early voting.
• Invests in Clean Drinking Water: The FY 2020 Budget will invest an additional $500 million in clean water infrastructure, building on the State’s historic $2.5 billion investment.
• Expands Eligibility for the Excelsior Scholarship Free Tuition Program: As the state’s successful free tuition program enters its third year, SUNY and CUNY students whose families make up to $125,000 annually will now be eligible to apply for tuition-free college.
• Makes the Jose R. Peralta DREAM Act a Reality: First passed by the Legislature earlier this year, the Enacted Budget implements and fully funds the Jose R. Peralta DREAM Act for $27 million.
• Supports a Complete Census Count: This year’s budget authorizes up to $20 million for FY 2020 for outreach and education efforts to ensure all New Yorkers are counted as part of the census.
• Renews Record Funding for the Environmental Protection Fund: The Enacted Budget includes record funding of $300 million, the highest level of funding in the program’s history.