This Week in Albany

Week ending March 15, 2019

Budget Update

The Senate and Assembly released their one-house budget proposals this week. These proposals are largely symbolic representations of what each house’s ideal budget proposal would look like. The following is a brief summary of positions taken in the one-houses that are relevant to CSEA members.

Both houses of the legislature rejected the following:

  • Proposed cuts to Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding for towns and villages;
  • Proposals to increase retiree health care costs;
  • The closure of three correctional facilities with only 60-days’ notice;
  • Proposed changes to peace officer status;
  • A proposal to require the disclosure of the terms of a tentative collective bargaining agreement before it is agreed to by employees or employer;
  • Giving the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) authority to outsource maintenance and operations work to private and not-for-profit entities;
  • Providing the Division of the Budget with unilateral authority to make mid-year appropriation cuts;
  • Establishing a system of taxpayer-funded campaign contributions (though both houses expressed support of the concept);

Other issues

  • Both houses accepted a proposal to broaden the collection of sales taxes from online marketplaces and proposed a new tax on second homes worth over $5 million within New York City;
  • Both houses included language to free-up operating funding for the SUNY hospitals;
  • The Assembly rejected a proposal to expand design-build authority, while the Senate amended the Governor’s proposal to include protection language for public employees while limiting the expansion to New York City entities;
  • The Senate included a proposal, supported by CSEA, to make an assault on a DMV License Examiner a felony to provide those workers with increased protections; and
  • The Assembly included a proposal, supported by CSEA, to establish caseload standards for Child Protective Service (CPS) workers.

The one-house budgets are largely supportive of CSEA positions. Negotiations over a final budget will intensify as the April 1 deadline approaches.

Legislative Update

It has come to our attention that concern has been raised on social media in recent weeks about a legislative proposal that would limit final average salary calculations for current and future public employees.

This proposal (A.5361 – Fitzpatrick) has been around for years and has not and is not expected to move from the Assembly Governmental Employees committee. It has no matching bill in the Senate, and would be unconstitutional even if it somehow passed the legislature.

Democratic Primaries?

According to a news report, the Democratic Socialists of America are threatening to run primary campaigns against Assembly Democrats they claim are not supportive of working people.

However, Assembly Democrats, including Peter Abbate, Joe Lentol, and Jeffrey Dinowitz, have continuously stood up for workers in both the public and private sectors. These members have fought to improve workplace safety, increase pay, protect defined-benefit pensions, and ensure access to quality healthcare.

CSEA will continue to support pro-worker legislators that have a proven track record on these issues, and we encourage CSEA members to show their support for their Assemblymembers on Twitter and other social media platforms.

At a Glance

The legislature will be in session for four days next week. Legislators are expected to continue to hold public Joint Budget Committee meetings as negotiations over a final budget continue. A final state budget agreement is due by April 1.