This Week in Albany

Week ending April 5, 2019

Enacted State Budget Summary

Governor Cuomo and legislators agreed to a timely state budget earlier this week. The following is a brief summary of important provisions included in the enacted 2019-20 state budget. A more complete summary can be found on our website.

Janus

The budget takes the following positive actions regarding public sector unions:

  • Makes it an improper practice for a public employer to disclose the home address, personal telephone numbers, cell phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of employees.
  • Requires a public employer to release to the union, upon the request of the union and not more than quarterly, the name, address, job title, employing agency or department and work location of employees in a bargaining unit.
  • Removes any liability from employers or unions who complied with state law regarding agency shop fee deductions prior to June 27, 2018.

The final budget rejected a provision proposed in the Executive budget to require the disclosure of the terms of a tentative collective bargaining agreement before either employees or employer has voted on the contract.

Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM)

While the enacted budget cuts AIM funding for towns and villages where AIM makes up less than 2% of their budget, the budget makes these municipalities whole by dedicating revenue from the newly enacted internet sales tax to fill this gap.

Public Financing

The budget establishes a 9-member commission to establish a system of taxpayer-financed political campaigns for legislative and statewide offices. The commission can establish a system that will use up to $100 million annually in public funds to match private campaign contributions. It will also consider the future of fusion voting. The commission’s report is due by December 1 of this year, and its recommendations will be binding unless it is modified by the legislation prior to December 22. CSEA strongly opposes this proposal and will continue to advocate against this proposal.

Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS)

The final budget gives the Executive authority to close up to three correctional facilities with only 90-days’ notice instead of legally required one-year notice. The Governor originally proposed to close three facilities with only 60-days’ notice. The facilities that will be closed have not yet been named. The intent is to bring down 1,200 empty beds in the system.

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

After intense lobbying by CSEA, the final budget does not include provisions that would have allowed DEC to outsource the maintenance and operations work of CSEA-represented state employees at DEC-owned lands.

Retirees

The final budget rejects all the Executive’s proposals that would have resulted in increased health care costs for state and local government retirees.

Property Tax Cap

The enacted budget makes the property tax cap permanent with no changes.

School Aid

The final budget provides a roughly $1 billion increase of FY19, a 3.8% year-to-year increase. As part of the funding increase, school districts will be required to focus funding on poorer schools.

The budget provides an additional $12 million for services and expenses of the Yonkers City School District.

Child Care

The budget includes language to bring New York’s child care laws into compliance with federal law. The new law increases state and federal background checks for staff and volunteers, requires annual inspections of child care facilities, amends training requirements for providers, and increases from two years to four years the length of time an initial license is valid.

Funding for child care subsidies is increased by $27 million.

Not Included

  • Legalization of recreational marijuana.
  • Additional protections for workers whose job site is on or near highways and other roads.
  • Changes to peace officer status.

At a Glance

The legislature is scheduled to be in session for three days next week, before returning to their home districts for the following two weeks.