This Week in Albany

Week ending March 22, 2019

Budget Update

Legislative leaders have announced this year’s “table targets,” which are the additional funds that each budget subcommittee has to fund programs in addition to the spending proposed in the Executive Budget. In total, the budget committees have $275 million to spend. This table target agreement is another important step towards a final budget agreement.

There are still several sticking points in budget negotiations. While legislative leaders have focused on an on-time budget, the Governor has continually raised the possibility of a late budget. Some of the major outstanding issues include bail reform, congestion pricing in Manhattan, and school funding. The Governor has indicated that legalizing recreational marijuana will not be included in the budget.

The legislature and Governor have until April 1 to reach an agreement on an on-time budget.

Work Zone Safety

A recent tragedy has highlighted the need for our state to provide increased protections for transportation workers.

Working on or near traveled roads is one of the most dangerous environments for CSEA members. Just this week, Dennis (Matt) Howe of Tioga County, a CSEA-represented Department of Transportation (DOT) worker, lost his life from injuries sustained when a vehicle collided with a DOT truck in an active work zone.

As part of the Executive Budget, Governor Cuomo proposed to increase protections for transportation workers. CSEA strongly supports the reforms proposed in Part II of S.1508B / A.2008A, including increasing penalties for assaults on certain workers, creating the crime of “intrusion into an active work zone” and establishing a public education and outreach program to increase motorist awareness of the importance of highway work zone safety.

Taxpayer Funded Political Campaigns

The State Senate held a hearing this week touting proposals to use taxpayer funds to supplement private political campaigns. CSEA strongly opposes the idea of using public funds to pay for political campaigns. Our state has much greater needs to finance.

Please visit our website to learn more about this issue.

Village Elections

Village elections were held across the state this week. CSEA was involved in a handful of races on Long Island and in Western NY, and CSEA’s endorsed candidate won in each case. Thank you to those members who volunteered in these races. Your hard work helped make a difference in these important, but often overlooked, local government elections.

At a Glance

The legislature is scheduled to be in session for five days next week, though it is likely that they will be in for at least seven days, as the state budget must pass by midnight on Sunday to be on time.