This Week in Albany

Week ending August 23, 2019

Pension Fund

Comptroller DiNapoli announced that the New York State Common Retirement Fund grew by 3.38% during the first quarter of State Fiscal Year 2019-20, raising its estimated value to $216.2 billion. This outpaced the 3.27% growth for similar funds across the country over the same time period.

Under the stewardship of Comptroller DiNapoli, the Fund continues to be one of the best funded and managed pension plans in the nation, ranking fourth in terms of funding ratio.

Public Campaign Financing

The Public Campaign Financing Commission, which was established in the 2019-20 state budget, met for the first time this week. The Commission is tasked with coming up with recommendations to establish a system where taxpayer funds are used to match private campaign contributions, and will also examine whether fusion voting should be eliminated. Fusion voting is the practice where one candidate can run on multiple party lines in the same election. Commission members decided that the Commission will take all recommendations up in a single vote, rather than individual votes for each issue.

The Commission released a public hearing schedule as follows:

  • Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 4 p.m.
    Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC)
    New York City
  • Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 10 a.m.
    Rockefeller Institute of Government
    Albany
  • Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 10 a.m.
    Suffolk County Legislature, William J. Lindsay County Complex
    Smithtown
  • Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 11 a.m.
    Burchfield Penney Arts Center,
    Buffalo

The Commission has until December 1 to make its recommendations.

CSEA strongly opposes the creation of taxpayer-financed political campaigns. Stay tuned for more information on this issue.

New License Plate

A public vote on the design of New York’s next license plate was announced by Governor Cuomo this week. The design with the most votes will become the State’s official license plate beginning in April 2020.

This will begin a 10-year replacement program where drivers with license plates that are 10-years-old or older will be issued new plates as they renew their vehicle registrations. A fee of $25 for replacement plates will be added to the cost of a registration renewal as necessary.

You can vote on the new design here. Voting will be open through Labor Day.

Federal Update

CSEA is strongly supportive of HR 2328, legislation that would delay scheduled Medicaid Disproportionate Share (DSH) cuts for two years. These reductions, which go into effect on October 1, 2019, would cost hospitals $43 billion from 2022 and 2025. Specifically, New York State hospitals would lose over $5 billion during this time period. This legislation has been approved by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee and CSEA is lobbying for the House and Senate to act before these cuts go into effect. Losing billions of dollars in funding would be disastrous for New York State hospitals, specifically safety-net providers such as Erie County Medical Center, Nassau University Medical Center, Westchester Medical Center, and the three SUNY Hospitals in Syracuse, Brooklyn, and Stony Brook.

Labor Day

Labor Day is Monday, September 2. While you are enjoying your picnics, barbeques, and parades, it is important to remember what Labor Day represents. Labor Day honors the labor movement for improving the lives of hardworking Americans, their families and the communities they live in. These efforts are more important now than ever. Thank you for what you do every day to make our union, our state, and our country stronger.