This Week in Albany

Week ending July 26, 2019

Legislative Update 

Governor Cuomo signed the following bills into law:

  • A.8419 – Nolan / S.6578 – Ramos: Provides fair labor practices for farm workers including the right to collectively bargain, mandated rest time, overtime compensation, and unemployment insurance. CSEA strongly supported this legislation for years.
  • S.6549 – Carlucci / A.5308B – Crespo: Prohibits employers from requesting salary history as a condition of employment or promotion. This will apply to all employers in the state, including public employers, effective January 6, 2020.
  • S.5248B – Biaggi / A.8093A – McMahon: Prohibits private-sector employers from paying employees in a “protected class” less than employee not in a protected class for equal or substantially similar work. “Protected class” includes age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, or domestic violence victim.

Tax Cap to Stay at 2% for 2020

Comptroller DiNapoli announced that the property tax cap will remain at 2% for the 2020 fiscal year for counties, towns, fire districts, cities, and villages with a fiscal year ending on December 31.

While often referred to as a 2% cap, the property tax cap was essentially at zero percent for a number of years and municipalities had their tax levy growth capped at less than 2% from 2014-2018. 2020 marks only the second year that the cap has been at 2%. Additionally, the Comptroller warned local governments that mixed economic signals may change financial conditions, and local officials should “remain vigilant when crafting their budgets.”
Federal Update

“Cadillac Tax”

The House of Representatives voted to repeal the “Cadillac” tax on high-cost health insurance plans. All members of the New York House of Representatives delegation voted in favor of this legislation. CSEA supports repealing this tax.

The tax, which affects many union health insurance plans, would require insurance companies to pay a 40% tax on the value of a health insurance plan above $30,150 for families and $11,200 for individuals beginning in 2022. This tax would make your health insurance more expensive and encourage employers to shift more health insurance costs to workers.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Minimum Wage

The House also voted to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. The minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour, has not been increased since 2009. This drought between increases, already the longest since the minimum wage was established in 1938, is likely to continue as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has said that the Senate will not take up the measure.
Spending / Debt Ceiling Deal

White House and congressional leaders announced a deal to lift the nation’s debt limit and dramatically raise federal spending levels. The agreement, negotiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, is expected to clear both chambers before the August recess.

Under the deal, the Pentagon’s budget would increase to $738 billion next fiscal year — a $22 billion increase. In addition, non-defense spending, including funding for many programs that are operated by state and local governments, would increase to $632 billion — a $27 billion increase.