This Week in Albany

Week ending March 17, 2017

One House Budgets Released

The Senate and Assembly have each released their “one-house” budget proposals, laying out each house’s priorities and positions in budget negotiations.

While many of CSEA’s top concerns have been addressed in the one-house proposals, it is important that CSEA members continue to advocate for their issues. None of these positions are final until an agreement has been reached with the Governor on a final budget.

The following is a brief summary of how the houses have responded to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal regarding major concerns of CSEA.

Retirees/Future Retirees

Executive Proposals: Reduce State contributions to the costs of health insurance premiums for state employees that retiree on or after October 1, 2017. The proposal would create a tiered system of State contributions based on years of service and paygrade. In addition, the Governor proposed capping Medicare Part B premium reimbursements for NYSHIP retirees and eliminating such reimbursements for higher income retirees.

One-House Proposals: The Senate and Assembly have each rejected these proposals.

 

OPWDD and OMH

Executive Proposal: Reduce the OPWDD and OMH workforces by over 600 FTEs.
One-House Proposals: Both houses included language that would provide that a state agency must maintain staffing levels from the year prior if a high percentage of its employees are working overtime.

Executive Proposal: Close 240 State-operated beds within OMH
One-House Proposals: The Senate rejected the proposed bed closures outright. The Assembly would lower the number to 100 beds.

One-House Proposals: The Senate’s proposal includes language that would put CSEA’s OPWDD care pilots into law and require that the services be brought up.

 

Local Governments

Executive Proposal: Require every county outside of New York City to prepare a plan for consolidating and eliminating services provided by municipalities within the county. The plan would be put to voters in the November 2017 election.
One-House Proposals: The Senate and Assembly have each rejected this proposal.

Executive Proposal: Freeze Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding for local governments. This funding has been held flat since 2011-12. Further, the release of these funds would only take place if a locality has complied with the Governor’s consolidation plan.
One-House Proposals: The Assembly proposes a total of nearly $778 million in AIM funding. The Senate accepts the proposed funding in the Executive Budget. Both houses rejected the Governor’s consolidation plan and holding AIM funding hostage.

 

Other Issues

School funding: Both houses have proposed school aid increases above that proposed by the Executive.

Millionaire’s Tax: The Assembly has proposed a more progressive Millionaire’s Tax than that proposed by the Governor. The Senate’s proposal does not include the Millionaire’s Tax.

START-UP NY: Both houses have rejected the Governor’s proposed renaming and expansion of START-UP NY. The Senate’s proposal would end the program in 2018.


Federal Budget Blueprint Released

The Trump Administration released its first budget proposal this week.

The proposal calls for a massive increase in defense spending with corresponding cuts to domestic non-defense programs. Several agencies are facing massive, double digit reductions in spending, including Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, the Department of Education, the Department of State, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture, the Commerce Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

This proposal would devastate funding that CSEA members depend on and would have a serious negative impact on New York.

Stay tuned for more information on the federal budget proposal as it becomes available.


At a Glance

The legislature will be in session for four days next week as budget negotiations enter their final stages. Joint budget conference committees, where both houses of the legislature meet to find common ground, are expected to begin on Monday. A final state budget is due by April 1.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday on the American Health Care Act, the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act. This proposal would cost New York several billions of dollars every year due to a massive reduction in federal support, especially for Medicaid. Click here for a summary of that legislation.