This Week in Albany

Week ending January 26, 2018

CSEA Testifies at State Budget Hearing

CSEA testified at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Workforce Development this week. The testimony highlighted many of CSEA’s concerns with the 2018-19 Executive Budget proposal, as well as several proposals that CSEA supports.

Overall, the Executive Budget proposal does not target public services or contain many of the harmful proposals seen in years past. With that being said, there are many areas that need improvement or adjustment.

Among the areas covered in the testimony are: revenues and taxes, health care, state agencies, local governments, retiree health care, child care, procurement, the separation of powers, economic development, schools, and libraries.

CSEA’s full written testimony, along with a video of the testimony, can be found on our website.

Federal Shutdown Ends After Weekend

After Congress couldn’t reach an agreement to continue funding the government last Friday, the federal government shut down over the weekend. The shutdown didn’t last long, however, as an agreement to fund the government through February 8th was reached on Monday.

Included in the short-term spending bill was a six year extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Importantly for CSEA, the package will also delay for two years the so-called “Cadillac tax” on the health care benefits of many union members. The Cadillac tax is a 40 percent excise tax on health benefits valued at more than $10,200 for individual coverage or $27,500 for a family that was initially set to take effect in 2020. The implementation of the tax will now not take effect until 2022.

The spending bill did not address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or provide funding for President Trump’s “border wall.” Negotiations over immigration policy is expected to continue until the next deadline to extend government funding.

At a Glance

The Senate and Assembly will be in session for two days next week. In addition, the legislature will hold joint budget hearings on the areas of economic development, public protection, and elementary and secondary education.