This Week in Albany

Week ending October 13, 2017

State Agencies Directed to Hold Budgets Flat in 2018-19

In a letter to state agency commissioners made public this week, State Budget Director Robert Mujica directed agencies to submit zero-growth budgets for Fiscal Year 2018-19. This directive continues a multi-year pattern of holding agency budgets flat.

The 2018-19 Executive Budget proposal will be released in early January. It is also possible that the legislature is called back to Albany before January to attempt to address funding shortfalls resulting from federal actions, or the lack thereof.

 

DiNapoli: Local Governments Needs Billions to Repair Bridges

Comptroller DiNapoli released a report that estimates that local governments need approximately $27.4 billion for needed repairs on bridges they own and maintain.

While local governments own 8,834 of the 17,462 bridges in the state, State support for local bridge maintenance is crucial to ensuring their safety. The pressing needs of our local roads and bridges is yet another reason why spending hundreds of millions of state dollars on a constitutional convention is a waste of taxpayer money.

 

Con Con Fact

Corporations and other special interests could spend millions of dollars to have their lobbyists elected as delegates to a constitutional convention.

 

Elections

To find out how you can help get out the vote this election day, please contact your region’s Political Action Coordinator:

 

Long Island Region 1:

Sue Castle (631) 462 – 0030


Metropolitan Region 2:

Matthew D’Amico (212) 406 – 2156


Southern Region 3:

Chris Ludlow (845) 831 – 1000


Capital Region 4:

Bill Gustafson (518) 782 – 4400


Central Region 5:

Josh Schick (315) 433 – 0050


Western Region 6:

Chris Rackl (716) 691 – 6555

 

President Trump Goes After Obamacare

After multiple bills to “repeal and replace” Obamacare failed in the US Senate, President Trump decided to go after the health care law on his own this week.

The President issued an executive order aimed at “saving the American people from the nightmare of Obamacare.” The main component of the order is allowing trade association health plans to operate across state lines. This could lead younger, healthier policyholders to leave their current plans for bare-bones plans operated under the jurisdiction of states with the least stringent health insurance regulations. If that were to happen, older and sicker policyholders could see their costs skyrocket. In a state like New York, where state insurance regulations have strong protections, the impact could be felt especially hard.

In addition to the executive order, the administration announced that it will immediately discontinue subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs to low-income people. The President had threatened to stop these payments before, but continued them after being warned that the loss of these subsidies could quickly unravel insurance markets.

While the actual impact of these two actions remains to be seen, they undoubtedly inject more uncertainty into the health care system and into New York’s financial outlook.