Rozic Announces Final State Budget Agreement
Albany, NY Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows) announced the passage of the $175.5 billion 2019-20 state budget that invests in public education, codifies the Affordable Care Act, modernizes our voting system, and supports seniors aging with dignity.
The Assembly worked around the clock to ensure this years budget is much more than a spending plan, said Rozic. I am pleased to announce a deal was reached that provides for and protects all New Yorkers. From strengthening our students education and protecting health care, to finally taking steps toward cleaning up our mass transit this budget continues the progress made and proves we are committed to social and environmental justice.
Investing in our students futures
The 2019-20 state budget continues the Assemblys commitment to expanding opportunity by providing a total of $27.8 billion in education funding, an increase of $1 billion increase over last year. This includes a $618 million increase in Foundation Aid for a total of $18.4 billion and a $15 million increase for grants for prekindergarten, for a total of $822 million.
To further assist families already struggling to make ends meet and help ensure that students focus is on learning, not hunger, the budget includes $2.3 million so that eligible students no longer have to pay for reduced-priced meals. And to ensure students whose primary
language is not English have an equal opportunity to learn and succeed, the budget increases funding for bilingual education by $1 million for a total of $18.5 million, as well as restores $770,000 for training programs for bilingual or multilingual education teachers. It also provides $1 million for the translation of state exams.
Additionally, the budget extends mayoral control of the New York City School District for three years until June 30, 2022. It also includes provisions to require increased parental involvement by allowing Community Education Councils to appoint a member to the Panel for Educational
Policy and measures are included to ensure membership that reflects a representative cross-section of the communities within the school district and diversity of the student population.
Ensuring everyone is counted in the 2020 Census
While the federal government puts hurdles in place to make it harder for certain communities to participate in the census including a proposed citizenship question the Assembly is taking steps to ensure everyone is counted. To that end, the 2019-20 state budget includes $20 million to promote the census and to assist with funding for local outreach efforts.
With the census being offered online for the first time, the state budget also ensures public libraries are getting the funding they need as they will also play a major role in achieving a complete count. The Census Bureau is aiming to receive half of its 2020 submissions online, but this can be a real problem for lower-income households and communities with limited internet access. Not only are libraries the primary channel of internet access for many, but they also host programs and set up census stations to inform communities about the importance of the census and how to participate.
Supporting homeowners and seniors
To help more New Yorkers remain in their homes, the state budget provides $20 million for the Communities First program to fund foreclosure prevention assistance. It also requires lenders to provide 90 days notice to homeowners facing foreclosure and makes settlement conferences mandatory.
The budget includes a $15 million increase for Expanded In-home Services Program (EISEP), which offers non-medical in-home services such as personal care and housekeeping, for a total of $65.1 million. To help more seniors remain in the communities they helped build, the budget increases the maximum amount the state can provide a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) from $200,000 to $300,000.
Expanding access to child care
This years state budget also allocates $832 million for child care subsidies an increase of $26 million over last years final budget. The budget also includes $334,000 to support SUNY and CUNY child care. The budget creates the New York State Employer-Provided Child Care Credit, which is equal to 100 percent of the federal credit, for employers who provide child and dependent care facilities to their employees.
Strengthening public health programs
With the federal government actively working to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the 2019-20 state budget codifies the ACA into state law a reflection of the Assembly Majoritys commitment to making sure New Yorkers not priced out of insurance and services.
The budget further strengthens womens reproductive health and rights by requiring insurance coverage for medically necessary fertility preservation and large group insurance policies to provide coverage for in-vitro fertilization.
Modernizing New Yorks voting system
To help ensure every New Yorker has an opportunity to participate in our democracy, the Assembly passed a law establishing early voting during a nine-day period before any general, primary, run-off primary or special election to make voting more accessible (Ch. 6 of 2019). To offset the costs of additional poll hours for financially strained local governments, the final state budget earmarks $10 million for localities. The budget also includes legislation ensuring that workers receive three hours of paid time off on Election Day.
The state budget enacts an electronic voter registration system through which voters can register and have their application submitted to the appropriate local board of elections online.
Protecting the environment
New York is not only home to some of the countrys most beautiful landmarks that we can explore and enjoy, but also natural resources that help our communities and boost our economy. To help keep our environment vibrant and healthy, the final budget renews a record $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), the highest level of funding in the programs history.
To ensure all New Yorkers have access to clean drinking water, the 2019-20 state budget builds on the states historic $2.5 billion investment in clean water, including an additional $500 million in funding for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act.
Additionally, to cut down on food waste, the budget requires large-scale food scrap generators to separate as much edible food as possible for donation, and separate food scraps for organic recycling if they are within 25 miles of an organics recycler, exempting hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, and elementary and secondary schools. The budget also encourages the use of clean and alternative energy by providing $23 million for clean energy tax credits.