This Week in Albany

Week ending February 9, 2018

Federal Update

Congress has reached an agreement to fund the federal government for two years. The agreement will raise caps on military and domestic spending by $296 billion through 2019 and increase the debt limit through March 1, 2019.

Regarding healthcare, the bill delays cuts to Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments until 2020, extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for an additional four years (on top of the recent six-year extension), reauthorizes Community Health Centers for two years, and repeals an independent medical advisory board established under the Affordable Care Act to control Medicare spending.

Other provisions in the deal include $90 billion in disaster relief, $20 billion for infrastructure projects, $6 billion to combat the opioid crisis, $5.8 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant program, $4 billion for the Veterans Administration for veterans’ hospitals and clinics, and the creation of a committee to study the solvency of multi-employer pension plans like the Teamsters plans that have been forced to slash benefits recently.

CSEA is continuing to review the spending agreement and will provide updates as needed.

At a Glance

The state legislature will be in session for two days next week, and will hold budget hearings on health, Medicaid, and mental hygiene. Legislators will then spend a week in their districts and return to Albany on February 27. The budget hearing on environmental conservation that was scheduled for this past Wednesday was rescheduled to February 27 due to the weather and will be the final joint legislative budget hearing of the year.

Amendments to the Executive Budget proposal are expected to be released by the end of next week. Governor Cuomo has indicated that these amendments will include proposals to address federal tax reform legislation, possibly including a proposal to shift the tax burden from an income tax to a payroll tax. Stay tuned for more details on these proposals when they become available.

Never Quit Fact of the Week

The average worker in a “Right to Work” state makes $6,109 less per year than a worker in a free bargaining state like New York.