This Week in Albany

Week ending February 15, 2019

Budget Update

Governor Cuomo released amendments to his Executive Budget proposal on Friday. The following is a brief initial summary of important changes:

Local governments: The amended budget still eliminates Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding to 90% of towns and villages. However, it would require counties to provide any municipality that has its AIM funding eliminated with a payment from county sales tax collections to make up for that loss. CSEA remains opposed to this proposal that would not only eliminate state funding for many municipalities, but now would rob Peter to pay Paul.

Prison Closures: The amended budget proposes to allow the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to close up to three prisons with only 60-days notice. At this time, we do not have any details on where such closures would occur. CSEA opposes this proposal.

Expanding Division of the Budget (DOB) “Superpowers”: The amended budget would expand proposals to give DOB broad authority to make mid-year cuts to budget appropriations. CSEA opposes these proposals.

Cuts to Medicaid: The amended budget proposes $190,200,000 in state Medicaid cuts for each of the next two fiscal years. In addition, it would allow the Department of Health to make a Medicaid rate cut to facilities with a higher percentage of potentially avoidable inpatient services. CSEA opposes Medicaid cuts.

Stay tuned for more information on the budget as we have more time to review the full documents.

Amazon Pulls Out of New York

Amazon announced it would pull out of a deal to build a new headquarters in Long Island City in Queens. The move came after opposition from local elected officials and community groups.

It was predicted Amazon would bring 25,000-40,000 jobs to New York. However, those opposed to the deal criticized the $3 billion in tax subsidies the company was promised and what they considered to be a lack of transparency.

Amazon’s decision is expected to have significant fallout at both the city and state level, and will increase friction between Democrats in the State Senate, many of whom opposed the deal, and Governor Andrew Cuomo, who strongly supported it.

Congress Reaches Funding Deal, But Wall Fight Not Over

On Thursday, Congress passed a $333 billion spending bill, funding the federal government through September 30 and avoiding another partial government shutdown.

The spending agreement included $1.4 billion for additional border security, far below the $5.7 billion President Trump was seeking for a border wall. While the President said that he would sign the spending agreement, on Friday he also declared a national emergency and directed that up to $8 billion be redirected from other spending to fund wall construction.

At this point, it is unclear how members of Congress will react to this declaration. However, it is expected that legal challenges to the President’s declaration will be forthcoming.

At a Glance

State legislators are in their home districts next week, and will return to Albany on February 26. A final state budget agreement is due by April 1.