2019-20 State Budget Summary

Janus

The budget takes the following positive actions regarding public sector unions:

  • Makes it an improper practice for a public employer to disclose the home address, personal telephone numbers, cell phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of employees.
  • Requires a public employer to release to the union, upon the request of the union and not more than quarterly, the name, address, job title, employing agency or department and work location of employees in a bargaining unit.
  • Removes any liability from employers or unions who complied with state law regarding agency shop fee deductions prior to June 27, 2018.

The final budget rejected a provision proposed in the Executive budget to require the disclosure of the terms of a tentative collective bargaining agreement before either employees or employer has voted on the contract.

Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM)

While the enacted budget cuts AIM funding for towns and villages where AIM makes up less than 2% of their budget, the budget makes these municipalities whole by dedicating revenue from the newly enacted internet sales tax to fill this gap.

Voting Reforms

The final budget includes the following voting reforms:

Public Financing

The budget establishes a 9-member commission to establish a system of taxpayer-financed political campaigns for legislative and statewide offices. The commission can establish a system that will use up to $100 million annually in public funds to match private campaign contributions. It will also consider the future of fusion voting. The commission’s report is due by December 1 of this year, and its recommendations will be binding unless it is modified by the legislation prior to December 22. CSEA strongly opposes this proposal and will continue to advocate against this proposal.

Other voting reforms include the following.

  • Requires the state Board of Elections to create an electronic voter registration system which allows people to apply to register to vote online. This will go into effect within two years or when the BOE has certified that their system is in place, whichever is earlier;
  • Requires polls in every county to be open from 6am – 9pm for primary elections. Currently, only polls in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Erie Counties are open those hours for primaries. This will expand hours for all other counties. The expanded hours will be in effect for any primary that takes place after August 1, 2019;
  • Provides $10 million for the implementation of early voting, which was passed earlier this year by the legislature; Effective date November 2019
  • Provides $14.7 million in capital funds for the implementation of electronic poll books and cyber security for early voting.
  • Will allow all employees to take up to three hours off, at either the beginning or end of their shift, to vote in any election. An employee must notify their employer at least two days in advance that they will be utilizing this time.

Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS)

The final budget gives the Executive authority to close up to three correctional facilities with only 90-days’ notice instead of legally required one-year notice. The Governor originally proposed to close three facilities with only 60-days’ notice. The facilities that will be closed have not yet been named. The intent is to bring down 1,200 empty beds in the system.

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

After intense lobbying by CSEA, the final budget does not include provisions that would have allowed DEC to outsource the maintenance and operations work of CSEA-represented state employees at DEC-owned lands.

State University of New York (SUNY)

The Governor’s proposed budget eliminated the operating subsidy for the three SUNY hospitals. CSEA lobbied against this reduction. The enacted budget will allow the state to pay for SUNY hospital operating costs or the debt service payments for the hospitals. This provision will keep the hospitals financially whole.

The budget provides for an additional $60 million in Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments for SUNY hospitals, bringing the total amount appropriated to $460 million.

The final budget restores state aid to community colleges roughly to last year’s levels. The Executive Budget appropriation was about $12 million lower than last year’s funding due to a decrease in enrollment. State aid to community colleges is based on a certain amount per full-time-equivalent student.

The budget provides authority for the University at Albany to lease space to a private entity at yet-to-be-constructed building at the Harriman campus. CSEA worked to include language to ensure that the future work at this site will be done by SUNY employees.

Retirees

The final budget rejects all the Executive’s proposals that would have resulted in increased health care costs for state and local government retirees.

Property Tax Cap

The enacted budget makes the property tax cap permanent with no changes.

Raise the Age Funding

The enacted budget provides counties and New York City with $200 million to cover costs relating to raising the age of criminal responsibility, which expands on October 1 of this year. This funding is important to ensure that counties have the resources needed to hire additional staff, including probation officers, to comply with Raise the Age.

Local Roads and Bridges

Funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and Marchiselli programs is held flat over 2018-19. The budget does not include $65 million for “extreme winter recovery” that was included in last year’s budget, resulting in an overall reduction in funding to local roads and bridges from last year.

School Aid

The final budget provides a roughly $1 billion increase of FY19, a 3.8% year-to-year increase. As part of the funding increase, school districts will be required to focus funding on poorer schools.

The budget provides an additional $12 million for services and expenses of the Yonkers City School District.

Libraries

The final budget restores a $5 million cut to library aid to keep funding at the same level as last year. The final budget cuts library construction aid by $20 million – from $34 million to $14 million.

Health Care

Medicaid spending will equal $19.6 billion, an increase of $550 million.

Funding for enhanced safety-net hospitals, those that treat a high-number of Medicaid and uninsured patients, was increased from $50 million to $82 million. Eligible hospitals include, among others, all hospitals that CSEA members work in.

The budget requires the state Department of Health to complete a study on how staffing enhancements and other initiatives can be used to improve patient safety and the quality of health care delivery in hospitals and nursing homes. The department will study minimum staffing levels, other staffing enhancement strategies, and other patient quality improvement initiatives for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nurse aides. The report is due by December 31, 2019.

Child Care

The budget includes language to bring New York’s child care laws into compliance with federal law. The new law increases state and federal background checks for staff and volunteers, requires annual inspections of child care facilities, amends training requirements for providers, and increases from two years to four years the length of time an initial license is valid.

Funding for child care subsidies is increased by $27 million.

Revenues

  • The enacted budget accepts the Executive proposal to extend the current Millionaire’s Tax for five years.
  • The budget provides for the uniform collection of sales taxes from online marketplaces. According to the Executive, this proposal will generate $160 million for local governments, and $320 million for the MTA. However, $59 million of the local government share will be taken up restoring funding to municipalities that have their AIM funding eliminated. This will go into effect on June 1, 2019.
  • The budget provides for an additional real estate transfer tax on the sale of homes worth over $2 million in New York City, as well as an additional “Mansion Tax” on such properties. These taxes would go into effect for sales occurring on or after July 1, 2019. According to the Executive, this will raise $365 million for the MTA.
  • The budget establishes a “Central Business District” tolling program, which would establish tolls for vehicles entering below 60th Street in Manhattan. The earliest possible implementation of this program will be December 31, 2020. A commission is established to determine the amount of the tolls.
  • The budget establishes a new 20% tax on the retail sale of vaping products.
  • The budget creates a new 6% tax on car rentals in areas outside of New York City and the suburbs that will fund upstate public transit systems.
  • The budget establishes a new excise tax on the first sale of every opioid.

Not-For-Profit Workers

The budget provides for a 2% cost-of-living-adjustments for not-for-profit direct care workers on January 1, 2020 and another 2% on April 1, 2020.

Division of Budget Superpowers

The enacted budget provides that, if estimated tax receipts fall $500 million below the executive budget estimate, the Division of the Budget (DOB) will prepare a plan that would allow for a 1% reduction in disbursements of state operating funds to eliminate the imbalance. The legislature would then have 30 days to adopt its own plan or DOB’s plan would go into effect automatically. Public assistance payments and several other required payments would be exempted.

The budget also includes a proposal to allow for mid-year cuts if federal support is reduced by $850 million for either Medicaid or other federal funding that goes to the state.

Other Items

  • Beginning in March 2020, single-use plastic bags provided to a customer where sales tax is imposed will no longer be allowed to be issued. However, items such as garbage bags, deli bags, bags for food from takeout restaurants, prescription drug bags, and CSEA bags      will still be allowed. The new law allows cities and counties to pass a local resolution to allow stores to charge a 5-cent fee for paper bags. Two-cents of this fee will be given to counties to provide re-usable bags to low-income individuals and three-cents will be deposited in the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.
  • The budget provides for the elimination of cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies effective January 1, 2020.

Not Included

  • Legalization of recreational marijuana.
  • Additional protections for workers whose job site is on or near highways and other roads.
  • Changes to peace officer status.