Norris, Hawley both oppose Assembly budget that increases spending by $10 billion from Hochul’s plan
The State Assembly on Monday approved a $226 billion budget plan, which topped Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive budget by $10 billion. Hochul’s $216 billion budget was a 5 percent increase from the current 2021-22 budget.
Local State Assembly members, Steve Hawley of Batavia and Mike Norris of Lockport, both voted against the Assembly budget.
Steve Hawley issued this statement:
“The Assembly Majority’s one-house budget is a historically-poor representation of where state funds should be allocated, and this year’s is no different. Not only does it deny health care heroes a bonus for their incredible work over the last two years and ignore the need for teacher support in our state, but it directs funds towards illegal immigrants for public defenders in deportation cases and so prison inmates get longer phone call times.
“It’s a bloated budget proposal spurred by a downstate mindset and totals at a whopping $226 billion, which is even larger than the governor’s own proposal, and it would leave behind a burden of debt repayment for our children’s entire young adult lives. The Majority is clearly out of touch with the needs of the greater New York state, and it’s why I voted against this proposal.”
Mike Norris issued this statement:
“The downstate driven Assembly Majority’s proposed budget comes in at a whopping $226 billion, which is $10 billion more than the governor’s increased proposed budget.
“With soaring gas and food prices, the war in Ukraine, ongoing economic pressures felt from the pandemic, and the continued exodus of population, New Yorkers simply cannot afford such excessive and outrageous spending – especially when the plan prioritizes spending hard-earned tax dollars on items like $345 million for illegal immigrants, debt funding for cannabis dealers, and nearly $10 million in free phone calls for inmates. It is long past due that New York stops this amount of annual spending and debt. We just can’t sustain it and I am once again voting no.”
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Ways and Means Committee Chair Helene E. Weinstein issued this news release about the $226.4 billion budget proposal:
The Assembly’s spending plan aims to support New York’s families as we move out of a two-year pandemic with unprecedented investments in childcare, universal prekindergarten, rent relief and home ownership, and sustainable living wages for our essential state health care workers.
The proposed spending is $7.9 billion or 3.6 percent higher than the Executive Budget proposal.
“For two years New Yorkers have been struggling to overcome the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have had to find new ways to educate our children, keep our small businesses afloat, return to work, ensure access to housing and prioritize our mental health,” said Speaker Heastie. “This budget proposal makes critical investments across the board to help us return to normal and to ensure our families are healthy and our communities remain strong.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic that began shutting down our state and our country almost exactly two years ago, impacted every aspect of New Yorkers’ lives,” Assemblymember Weinstein said. “The Assembly Majority it committed to investing in our communities, in New Yorkers and in programs and services that will help them to succeed and to build back stronger than ever. This budget makes those investments – including critical funding for our schools, to help small businesses keep their doors open, to help New Yorkers stay in their homes and to ensure that New Yorkers get the health and mental health services they need.”
This budget includes more than $3 billion for childcare, a critical service to families and essential to a strong economy.
The Assembly’s proposed spending plan includes more than $3 billion in childcare investments, including $2 billion to maintain current subsidies and expand the eligibility from 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) to 400 percent of the FPL, over a three year period. To increase the childcare market rate from the 69th percentile to the 90th percentile, the proposal includes an investment of $370 million. The plan also includes $500 million for additional childcare stabilization grants to assist with provider costs such as wages, rent, and other operational needs, and $200 million in capital support to expand childcare access and availability, with a priority on investments in childcare deserts.
The Assembly Budget also adds $5 million in funding for Advantage Afterschool to restore funding to the SFY 2021-22 level of $33 million.
The proposal provides $30.9 billion in funding to General Support for Public Schools (GSPS), an increase of $2.1 billion or seven percent, over the 2021-22 school year (SY), maintaining the Assembly Majority’s commitment to ensuring every child has access to a high quality education. The Assembly’s proposed spending plan would increase Foundation Aid by $1.5 billion and would fully phase in Foundation Aid by the 2023-24 SY.
The budget also includes $150 million for Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK), of which $125 million would be used to support new statewide universal full-day pre-kindergarten programs paying $10,000 per four-year old.
This spending plan would give state workers in New York’s health and mental hygiene sectors permanent raises to help retain and grow our workforce, and give them the wages they deserve for their hard work.
Under the proposal, direct care service providers from the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Office of Mental Health (OMH), Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), Office for the Aging (SOFA), Office of Temporary and Disability Services (OTDA), and Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) would receive an 11 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA).
This budget proposal helps fight homelessness and keep New Yorkers that have struggled financially during the pandemic their homes.
The Assembly makes critical investments in rent and homeownership relief including:
- $1.25 billion for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP);
- $500 million for a utility arrears program, to be administered by the Public Service Commission; and
- $400 million for the Landlord Rental Assistance Program (LRAP).
- An additional $250 million would establish the Housing Access Voucher Program (HVAP) to help individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to secure permanent housing and transition out of shelters or unsustainable housing situations. The budget also includes $500 million for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) capital repairs.
- The plan adds $1.7 billion to the five-year affordable housing capital plan, for a total of $6.2 billion. Within that funding, the Assembly’s spending plan includes $1.35 billion to fund a new Assembly homeownership program.
This spending plan makes investments to ensure higher education is accessible for all New York students by funding the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York’s (CUNY) world class educational programs and providing $215 million for opportunity programs.
The SFY 2022-23 Assembly Budget includes $48.8 million to SUNY and $59.6 million to CUNY to fully reimburse each system and eliminate the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) gap.
It also provides $1.63 billion in expansion capital for both SUNY and CUNY for a five-year capital plan, an increase of $1.2 billion over the executive proposal, and makes an additional investment of $200 million in state operating support funds each for SUNY and CUNY.
The Assembly provides $204 million to increase the maximum TAP award by $1,405, bringing it from $5,665 to $7,070 over the next two years so that the maximum TAP award matches SUNY’s tuition. Additionally, the Assembly will raise the minimum TAP award from $500 to $1,000.
The Assembly invests in programs that support our small businesses, encourage innovation and help rebuild New York’s economy.
The plan includes a second round of $25 million for the Restaurant Resiliency Grant program to help New York’s restaurants continue to recover and rebuild, as well as $231.4 million for the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) to help theaters and museums which were hit especially hard by the pandemic to recover.
The Assembly also provides $300 million in state funding to ensure access to high-speed internet across the state for a total of $1.4 billion when combined with $1.1 billion in federal funding.
Mental Health and Addiction Services
For many people, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused uncertainty, financial strain and social isolation. This budget includes critical investments to improve access to mental health and substance use disorder services, including $50 million in capital funds for municipal and nonprofit organizations to increase capacity and expand mental health and substance use disorder services. The proposal also provides $65 million to support current community-based residential programs to assist in preserving access to housing for individuals in recovery, and $5 million for Crisis Intervention Teams.
There is a $53 million increase for children’s mental health programs operated by OMH, including $7.5 million in funding for residential treatment facilities (RTFs) for children, and $10 million to expand children’s community-based mental health services and integrate mental health services into pediatric primary care under the HealthSteps program. Other investments for children include $100 million over two years for the Recover from Covid Schools Program (RECOVS), and an additional $40 million for more mental health grants for schools.
Other mental health investments include $29.8 million each for both SUNY and CUNY mental health services.
Disruptions to daily life combined with increased stress and reduced access to in-person services caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a sharp spike in substance use disorders. The Assembly’s proposed budget appropriates $265.9 million from the Opioid Settlement Fund to expand access to critical addiction services.
The Assembly budget would make critical health investments that protect vulnerable individuals, including undocumented immigrants, pregnant and postpartum women, children and the elderly and disabled New Yorkers.
It includes a new $345 million appropriation to include coverage for undocumented immigrants under the Essential Plan.
It also provides an additional $1 billion for safety net ($750 million) and major public ($250 million) hospitals.
The proposal prioritizes the health and wellness of pregnant women and new mothers by investing $1.5 million to restore funding for the Nurse-Family Partnership program. It would expand prenatal and postpartum care and services under the Medicaid program and expand postpartum Medicaid coverage to one year following a pregnancy, regardless of immigration status.
Criminal Justice Reforms
The budget proposal includes critical funding for pretrial services that offer mental health treatment and other alternatives to incarceration, as well as funding for programs across the state to fight gun violence.
It includes $15 million in funding to help justice system involved New Yorkers access pretrial services, including job placement programs, drug treatment and counseling services. The budget also provides $50 million for municipal and nonprofit organizations to increase capacity and an expansion of ATI, mental health and substance use disorder treatment programs. Also included is an additional $19 million in critical investments to fight gun violence. An additional $212.5 million in funding is dedicated to the Office of Indigent Legal Services, to provide increased representation to individuals who are entitled to counsel in court matters and are financially unable to obtain representation.
The Assembly Budget makes a significant investment in our environment. The plan increases funding for the Environmental Bond Act of 2022 by $2 billion to be allocated for climate change related purposes, including:
- $500 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at state-owned buildings;
- $450 million for climate adaptation and mitigation projects, including for land acquisition and wetland protection;
- $300 million to combat air pollution in environmental justice communities;
- $250 million to combat water pollution in environmental justice communities;
- $200 million to combat the urban heat island effect;
- $150 million for open space conservation;
- $100 million for farmland protection easements; and
- $50 million for urban forest and habitat restoration projects.
- The Assembly’s proposal also allocates $400 million for the state Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), an increase of $100 million over last year’s funding.
- In addition to other funding supporting clean water initiatives in the proposed budget, the Assembly allocates $500 million for clean water infrastructure.