Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Herman Farrell, Jr. today announced the Assembly's 2016-17 budget proposal of $156.7 billion. The proposed budget would address the needs of many hard working New Yorkers and their families across the state by including funding for resources necessary to care for their loved ones, secure an education for their children and access to opportunities they need to achieve economic success.
The Assembly budget proposal of $156.7 billion is a 3.1 percent increase in All Funds spending from the SFY 2015-16 level. All Funds spending includes extraordinary federal aid of $1.1 billion for Superstorm Sandy relief, $6.8 billion for the Affordable Care Act and $1.3 billion for capital spending from monetary settlement with financial institutions.
The Assembly proposes General Fund spending of $71.2 billion in SFY 2016-17. This is a decrease of $1.4 billion or 1.9 percent over SFY 2015-16. The proposed spending is $568 million higher than the Executive Budget proposal.
"This budget reflects the continued commitment of the Assembly to ensuring that everyone in the state has access to the resources they need to be successful and achieve economic stability," said Speaker Heastie. "We believe that no one should work 40 hours a week and struggle to keep a roof over their head, be crushed with tax burden or not be able to afford to care for a loved one. Providing people with basic necessities is not only the best thing to do for New York, it is the right thing to do."
"The Assembly is proposing a responsible budget that we feel addresses the people's requests for access to opportunities to both live comfortably and climb the economic ladder," said Assemblymember Farrell. "We have carefully considered how to deliver on the promises we've made to New York families, as well as how to resolve some of the most challenging hurdles the state is facing."
Relief for Working New Yorkers and Families
In order to help all New Yorkers achieve financial stability and economic independence, the Assembly has proposed to raise the wage floor to $15 an hour in New York City and surrounding counties (Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk) by December 31, 2018 and statewide by December 31, 2021. Following those dates, the plan calls for indexing the minimum wage to inflation to ensure it remains adequate.
The spending plan also addresses the challenge that many New Yorkers are faced with in providing care for a loved one. Under the proposal, all New Yorkers would be eligible to receive paid family leave to care for a child or sick family member. The plan would be funded through a modest employee contribution and would help promote workplace stability and reduce employee turnover rates.
In an effort to help working families maintain long lasting careers, the Assembly's budget proposal includes an additional $75 million for the creation of 10,000 new child care slots with priority consideration for homeless families. The plan also includes $8.4 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) designated for the state's Facilitated Enrollment program to provide working families with incomes up to 275 percent of the federal poverty level with access to affordable and consistent child care.
The SFY 2016-17 budget proposal includes a progressive tax reform measure that would reduce the personal income tax burden for more than five million middle class earners, and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to boost the average credit for more than 1.6 million of the lowest earners in the state. In addition to bringing relief to working families, by raising the income tax rate for the highest earners, or those earning $1 million or more annually, the state would generate more than $2 billion over the current tax rate structure in annual revenue to support schools, aging infrastructure and other public priorities.
The Assembly budget proposal allocates $25.4 billion in School Aid, a $2.1 billion increase from the SFY 2015-16 budget. The proposed spending plan also includes a $1.7 billion multi-year investment in higher education. The plan restores $485 million in state support for CUNY and freezes tuition for academic years 2016-17 and 2017-18.
The Assembly spending plan also includes measures to address the affordable housing crisis affecting many New Yorkers, as well as the rising number of people living in homelessness. The SFY 2016-17 budget appropriates $2.5 billion over five years to help revitalize and expand affordable housing in the state. The proposal also includes assistance to encourage the development of affordable rental units for low income older adults.
Additionally, the Assembly has committed to increase funding by $9.5 million for the New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP) and the Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP).
Critical Investments in the State
To confront the heroin epidemic in New York, the Assembly has invested $30 million for the expansion of heroin and opiate abuse treatment and support programs, a significant increase from last year's investment and the Executive's Budget proposal.
The Assembly has also committed $7.3 billion for the five-year 2015-2019 Capital Plan of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which has experienced an increase in ridership. An additional $488 million, a $50 million increase from the Executive's proposal, has been designated to fund the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), a program municipalities throughout the state rely on to keep their roadways in good repair.
In an effort to combat the climate change crisis and other environmental challenges, the Assembly will invest $32 million, $25.5 to be allocated to fund to fund the Climate Change Action Plan. An additional $4.5 million will be dedicated to municipal planning projects to mitigate climate change and to conduct vulnerability assessments of municipal drinking water, wastewater and transportation infrastructure.