This Week in Albany

Week ending October 27, 2017

Legislative Update

Governor Cuomo acted on 84 bills this week, signing 69 bills and vetoing 15.

Among the bills signed into law was S.1411B – Griffo / A.711B – Gunther, that would provide additional health benefits to volunteer firefighters. Under the new law, volunteer firefighters who contract certain cancers will be eligible for enhanced disability and death benefits effective January 1, 2019.

There are still 185 bills that passed both houses but have not been sent to the Governor’s office, including many of CSEA’s priority bills. Stay tuned for updates on important legislation as they become available.


Federal Budget / Taxes

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the Senate’s 2018 budget resolution, setting up a fight over Republicans’ efforts to rewrite the tax code.

By passing the resolution, the House allows the Senate to use the process of reconciliation to pass tax reform with only 51 votes instead of the normally required 60 votes. The reconciliation process will also allow the Republican tax plan to increase the deficit by up to $1.5 trillion over the next decade. The tax plan is expected to contain a provision that would eliminate the ability for homeowners to deduct state and local tax payments, including property taxes. If this measure is included, it would raise taxes on every New Yorker who pays property taxes. According to a report by Comptroller DiNapoli, New York taxpayers could lose $72 billion in deductions if this plan moves forward.

Every New York Republican voted no on the measure except for Tom Reed (NY-23) and Chris Collins (NY-27). Had Reed and Collins voted no, the measure would have failed. Instead, the measure passed by a vote of 216-212.

Federal funding is set to expire on December 8th. Legislators will need to reach a spending agreement before then to avoid a government shutdown.


Social Security COLA

The Social Security Administration announced that Social Security recipients will receive a two percent increase in their benefits next year. While this is the largest increase since 2012, the average beneficiary will see only a $25 increase per month.

Roughly one-in-five Americans are impacted by the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).


Election Spotlight – Nassau County

CSEA has endorsed Republican Jack Martins for Nassau County Executive. Click here to learn more about the race and the two candidates vying for an open seat.


Con Con Fact

Unlike the New York State constitution, the United States constitution does not clearly protect against the diminishment of pensions. A New York State constitutional convention could remove the clear and unambiguous protections that go above and beyond those provided for by the federal government.