Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Ways and Means Committee Chair Helene E. Weinstein today announced the Assembly's State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2019-20 Budget proposal of $175.6 billion.
This proposal would make significant investments in health care, housing, education, higher education and local governments, and includes funding for critical transportation projects.
The Assembly proposes General Fund spending of $77.3 billion in SFY 2019-20. This is an increase of $3.8 billion or 5.1 percent over SFY 2018-19. The proposed spending is $711 million or 0.9 percent higher than the Executive Budget proposal. "The Assembly Majority remains committed to delivering New Yorkers a fiscally sound spending plan that puts families first," said Speaker Heastie. "Our budget recognizes the financial challenges we are facing, but protects the progress we have made to ensure access to high quality affordable health care, makes investments in our children's education, and provides real solutions for our state's transportation needs. This is not the first time the state has faced financial challenges, and it will not be the last."
"The Assembly Majority has crafted a budget that makes critical investments in our communities and in our people," Assemblymember Weinstein said. "From funding an education system that will put our students on the road to success to investing in water and transportation infrastructure, we are committed to improving the lives of all New Yorkers. This spending plan will help us do that."
To ensure the wealthiest New Yorkers pay their fair share, the Assembly spending plan would expand tax rates for upper income earners, including three new tax brackets, consisting of a 9.32 percent rate for incomes between $5 million and $10 million; a 9.82 percent rate for incomes between $10 million and $100 million; and a 10.32 percent rate for incomes over $100 million.
Many properties in New York City are owned by individuals who live outside of the state, or even outside of the county. The plan includes a new pied-à-terre tax, which authorizes New York City to establish a progressive property surcharge on secondary homes that are valued at over $5 million. The tax would consist of a sliding rate for such properties, ranging from 0.3 percent to four percent, based on the value of the home.
The plan includes language to establish a progressive transfer tax on the conveyance of properties over $5 million, which would range from a 0.3 percent tax on transfers of $5 million to a 1.5 percent tax on transfers over $1 billion.
It also would require marketplace providers to collect sales tax on taxable sales of tangible personal property, leveling the playing field for brick and mortar stores.
The budget includes proposals designed to help communities across the state grow and thrive by expanding tax credits that promote redevelopment. The Assembly proposes expanding the availability of the Historic Rehabilitation Credit to include more areas, and increasing funding for smaller projects. Under the proposal, the credit would be expanded to include cities with poverty rates over 15 percent and would increase the eligible reimbursement from 20 to 30 percent for projects under $5 million. Another proposal would promote job growth by offering tax breaks to investors that invest in certain business funds that help rural enterprises.
Although the state is faced with limited resources, the Assembly remains committed to making sure New Yorkers have access to the vital services they need. The spending plan would restore $550 million in Medicaid cuts that were made in the executive's 30- day amendments, including $222 million to restore the two percent rate increase for hospitals and 1.5 percent increase for nursing homes. The plan also includes $190.2 million to restore an 0.8 percent across-the-board cut to Medicaid claims.
In recognition of the vital role that safety net hospitals have in our communities, the Assembly proposal includes $25 million for enhanced safety net providers.
The administration in Washington continues to attack women's access to reproductive health care. Most recently, the administration advanced significant changes to Title X, a federal family planning program, that would effectively reduce federal funding the state would receive. The Assembly's budget proposal includes $16 million for family planning funding.
The Assembly spending plan makes critical investments in affordable housing across the state, including programs serving urban and rural communities, assistance for homeowners facing foreclosure, and continued capital funding for public housing authorities. The budget provides $400 million for public housing capital repairs and restoration including lead abatement, $300 million of which will go to NYCHA and $100 million of which will be made available to public housing authorities statewide. It also includes $100 million in capital support for state- and city-supervised Mitchell-Lama housing, which provides affordable rental and cooperative housing to moderate- and middle-income families. The Assembly plan would also increase funding for Neighborhood Preservation Programs and Rural Preservation Programs to a total of $18.2 million, and Access to Home to a total of $4 million.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
The Assembly remains committed to discussing an MTA financing package and will be guided by principles which include recognizing that the MTA requires a long-term sustainable funding source to bring the subway into good repair, meaningfully reducing congestion in the Central Business District (CBD), including offsets for New York residents paying a toll before entering the CBD and addressing transit inequities in New York City and the suburbs.
Across the state, communities struggle with aging transportation infrastructure in need of upkeep and repairs. To help maintain roads, bridges and highways throughout the state, the Assembly Budget includes $503 million for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs), $104.5 million in non-MTA transit capital funding and $39.7 million for the Marchiselli program.
The Assembly also provides $350 million to non-MTA downstate transit systems and $226.5 million to upstate transit systems.
Aid and Incentives to Municipalities
The Assembly continues support to local governments as they struggle to provide essential services. The spending plan restores Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM ) funding to $715 million, restoring a $59 million reduction in the Executive's proposal.
The Assembly's budget proposal allocates $28.4 billion in school aid, which is an increase of $1.6 billion or 6.3 percent, over the 2018-19 School Year (SY). The plan reflects an investment of an additional $644 million over the executive proposal.
The Assembly proposes increasing Foundation Aid to $18.9 billion for SY 2019-20, an increase of $1.16 billion. The Assembly's budget proposal would also fully phase in Foundation Aid over the next three years.
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.
The budget proposal would extend mayoral control of the New York City School District for three years until June 30, 2022. The Assembly is committed to holding public hearings and other informational forums throughout the City of New York to assess the effectiveness of mayoral control of the New York City School District and hear from stakeholders on ways to address the inequities in New York City schools and improve student performance. For each of the three years the provisions of mayoral control are extended, the Assembly Education Committee will prepare and make public a report of the findings and recommendations from the hearings.
The Assembly's budget proposal promotes college affordability by restoring and increasing funding by $23.8 million or 20 percent for opportunity programs, and providing $12.8 million to the State University of New York (SUNY) and $14.8 million to the City University of New York (CUNY) in increased operating support. The Assembly provides an additional $6 million for Educational Opportunity Centers, and $30 million in new capital investments. The proposal also earmarks more than $900 million for capital investments at public colleges and universities around the state and $27 million to implement the Jose Peralta DREAM Act.
The Assembly remains committed to reforming the state's antiquated criminal justice system by implementing discovery reform, ending cash bail, reforming speedy trial rights and reducing solitary confinement which will be advanced as stand-alone bills.
The Assembly spending plan funds critical programs to combat gang violence and support public protection in communities. It includes an additional $10 million, for a total of $20 million, for anti-gang and other youth programs, and includes $4.8 million for the SNUG program.
The Assembly proposal adds $200,000 to establish a Gun Violence Research Institute. The budget also restores $2.83 million for civil and criminal legal service grants. The Assembly also added $3 million to the Indigent Legal Services budget to support parental representation in family court.
The Assembly provides $8.8 million for various legislative restorations, including $1.06 million for the New York State Defenders Association and $609,000 in domestic violence related civil and criminal legal services support.
The Assembly budget would provide capital funds of $27 million for local boards of elections to implement early voting by purchasing electronic poll books and on-demand ballot printers to update and improve voting for all New Yorkers. The Assembly would provide an additional $7 million to offset other costs associated with early voting.
The plan also provides $3.1 million to maintain current operations at the State Board of Elections, and would authorize counties to use electronic poll books that have been approved and certified by the State Board of Elections.
The Assembly proposal does not include the executive proposal to use taxpayer funds for the public financing of political campaigns, but indicates support for a low donor matching program which would limit the influence of money and ensure democracy in our elections. These discussions will continue during the budget negotiations.
To ensure fair and accurate counting in the 2020 Census, which will assist in determining the distribution of resources and political representation, the Assembly proposal includes $40 million for community-based outreach efforts.
The Assembly allocates $500 million in new funding for water infrastructure programs including $200 million for the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and $140 million for water projects administered by New York City. The proposal maintains $300 million in funding for the Environmental Protection Fund.
The Assembly is committed to continuing discussions with the executive and the senate to regulate cannabis products, expand the existing medical marijuana program and regulate cannabis and cannabis products for adult-use. The Assembly supports the creation of a regulatory body comprised of legislative and executive appointments and state agency employees that were involved in implementation.
For too long, marijuana convictions have destroyed the lives of countless New Yorkers, hitting communities of color the hardest. The Assembly proposes reducing penalties for future cannabis related activity and vacating or expunging past convictions.
The Assembly is also committed to ensuring that communities that have been disproportionately impacted by past criminalization of marijuana have access to the necessary permits and licensure to benefit from its regulation and sale. The Assembly maintains that it is critically important that revenue generated from the legalization of marijuana be invested in communities that were disproportionately impacted by past policies.
The Assembly proposal would provide $35.4 million in support to establish a cannabis management office.