NYS FY2023 budget summary
April 10, 2022
- Despite Hochul’s promises, the process was more opaque than ever, and policy was introduced– some of it (criminal justice rollbacks) at the last minute. No public hearings, budget passed literally in the middle of the night.
- $220B final budget, +$8B from last year and +$4B from Hochul’s proposed budget – and same total as both one houses, yet does not remotely make the investments we were looking for, or at the amounts needed for them to deliver real results. So kind of worst of all outcomes.
- Buffalo Stadium is in: $600M directly from the state, with Erie county footing over $200M
- Alcohol to go is in.
- Criminal justice reforms rollbacks: Not as bad as Gov’s proposed 10-point plan but lots of regression. Much easier to hold people for offenses like petty theft. And the Gov’s last-minute introduction of this seems to have occupied much of the legislature’s time and energy instead of pushing for other better outcomes. More detail here.
- State gas tax will be suspended 6/1- 12/31. This is not enough that people will feel the $5-$7 savings per fill-up significantly. The loss of revenue will incentivize use of single-occupancy vehicles even as it takes money away from the MTA. Supposedly the MTA loss will be covered by the general fund–we’ll see if that happens but in any case the MTA needed more funding, period.
- Childcare–$7B to be spread out over 4 years, far less than the $3B ask for year 1. Raises eligibility for subsidy to 300% of poverty level, no increase to make childcare universal, and the rollout is so slow that it will not catch up with demand. Requires parents prove they’re working 35 hrs/wk, a tough hurdle for gig workers, and it excludes undocumented children altogether.Hochul used as an excuse that a large part of the funding is federal but the portion funded by the state would have allowed that.
- Health coverage for all–is not. Undocumented seniors >65 and recent moms only, and the $100M allocated falls far short of the $345M called for.
- Environment: Bond Act increased to $4.2B, but spans 30 years, and still has to be voted on. Small win: Funding to protect 1 million acres of wetlands.
- Fair Pay for Home Care got only a $3 wage increase over two years (as opposed to the 150% increase pushed for). In some regions, this is still less than what people make at McDonalds. It may also be just enough to disqualify a full-time worker from food stamps, so instead of helping to fill a home care shortage it may discourage people from working full-time.
- Housing Access Voucher not in the budget at all. $250M set aside to help with utility arrears. $800M for ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance Program)
- CUNY & SUNY: $4M (vs $1.5B asked for). Tuition assistance will be extended to incarcerated individuals.
- Elections: absentee ballots mailed with postage paid return, more access on campuses
- Film tax credit extended for 3 years. Small business tax credit for pandemic-related capital improvements extended through the end of this year.
- Ethics “reforms.” This is really bad. It will not allow us to hold people accountable.
- 421a subsidy to luxury real estate developers: Not in the budget, not its almost as evil twin. But as policy it can and will resurface in remainder of session before June expiration.
- This process proved how much power the governor still has and we need to look at getting the Biaggi/Gottfried-sponsored Budget Equity Act (that would create a constitutional amendment to redistribute power between the governor and the legislature) passed off to real champions.
- And most of all it we need to work to get a greater concentration of real progressives in both the Senate and the Assembly. Pataki/Silver won’t do it alone, we need real pressure on the governor and leadership. So that means supporting real progressives in winnable electoral races and helping/pressuring our electeds to speak to the investments needed.