March 24, 2010

Assembly Majority Unveils 2010-2011 Budget Proposal

Plan makes $4.3 billion in cuts to balance state finances,
while protecting most vulnerable New Yorkers and working families

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (center), joined by his Assembly Majority colleagues, discussed the Assembly's 2010-2011 budget resolution at a Capitol news conference. Silver said the plan makes $4.3 billion in cuts and rejects $1 billion in taxes and fees, while protecting the most vulnerable New Yorkers and working families.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Ways and Means Committee Chair Herman D. Farrell, Jr., today unveiled the Assembly Majority's 2010-2011 budget proposal. The Assembly budget proposes more than $4.3 billion in spending cuts and rejects $1 billion in proposed taxes and fees.

The Assembly budget also proposes budget reforms based on the recommendations of Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch including the five year elimination of the structural deficit by moving to a GAAP balance budget, the formation of the Review Board and the imposition of strict time periods to address unanticipated revenue shortfalls.

While the Assembly Majority accepts many reductions included in the Executive Budget, cuts to specific areas have been restored in an effort to protect New York's working families and most vulnerable citizens.

"Our plan addresses New York's $9.2 billion budget deficit through a combination of responsible spending cuts and critical budget reforms, while protecting programs and services New York's working families depend on and rejecting $1 billion in proposed taxes and fees," said Silver (D-Manhattan).

"This budget reflects the many crucial difficult choices necessary for the fiscal stability of our state," said Farrell (D-Manhattan). "By following reforms outlined by Lt. Gov. Ravitch, we also now have a plan for our state going forward."

New York City
The Assembly budget restores more than $475.4 million in critical funding for New York City that had been eliminated in the governor's original budget proposal including a restoration of $150.8 million in AIM funding, $193 million in school aid, $18.5 million in Title XX funding for New York City senior centers, $92.5 million for the city's adult homeless shelters, $13.5 million for summer youth employment and $2.1 million for settlement houses.

The Assembly budget rejects the governor's proposal to increase the MTA payroll tax in New York City and restores the governor's proposed cuts to NYC STAR property tax relief. The Assembly budget expands and extends the film tax credit, allocates $35 million to the MTA to subsidize student Metrocards and enhances the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation's ability to draw down additional federal funds for providing health care to the indigent.

The Assembly proposal also includes a state takeover of local Medicaid administration over a period of five years. This action would save the City of New York $45 million in 2011-2012, and over $250 million annually once fully implemented.

Education The Assembly budget plan restores $600 million to school aid, freezes foundation aid, and rejects the Executive's proposal to freeze all expense-based aids, including transportation, building, BOCES, special services, instructional materials, and charter school transition aid for the 2010-2011 school year. It rejects the summer school special education cost shift of $86 million onto school districts, and accepts the governor's proposal to continue Universal Prekindergarten through 2011-2012.

As Speaker Silver explained the Assembly budget resolution to the Capitol press corps, he was flanked by (first row, from left) Assembly members Ellen Jaffee and Helene Weinstein, Steven Cymbrowitz, Deborah Glick; (second row) RoAnn Destito, Rory Lancman, Richard Gottfried, Kevin Cahill, Joseph Lentol, David Weprin, Addie Russell, Harvey Weisenberg, Cathy Nolan, Grace Meng and Margaret Markey; (back row) Michael Benedetto, Jack McEneny, Kenneth Zebrowski, Barabara Lifton, Bob Reilly, Darryl Towns, Felix Ortiz, Gary Pretlow, Majority Leader Ron Canestrari, Marcos Crespo, William Scarborough, Philip Ramos and Keith Wright.
The Assembly budget reduces health care cuts by $126 million, rejecting $32 million in cuts to hospitals, $25.9 million in cuts to nursing homes and $36.5 million in cuts to home health care. The plan also includes a measure that would shift all Medicaid administration costs from counties to the state to streamline eligibility and service determinations, implement operational efficiencies and consolidate services and contracts. It also increases HCRA funding by $218 million by raising the cigarette tax by $1 per pack.

The Assembly budget rejects the governor's proposal to institute parental fees for the Early Intervention program.

The proposal reinstitutes the requirement that health insurance companies may not increase premiums on certain plans without prior approval from the Insurance Department.

Environment and parks
The Assembly budget proposal averts the closure of 91 state parks and historic sites by providing $11.25 million in funding and $2.1 million in restored fee revenues and additional $25 million to the state Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), while also restoring funding for land acquisition within the EPF.

Higher Education
The Assembly Majority accepts the governor's $109.9 million reduction to SUNY state- operated colleges, while rejecting the base aid cut to SUNY and CUNY community colleges. The Assembly rejects the governor's proposals to reduce the maximum TAP award for two-year colleges, as well as the proposed $75 across-the-board cut to all TAP awards, increased academic standards and credit minimums for TAP, reductions in awards for married students without children and the cancellation of awards to graduate students.

Agency Consolidations
Also included in the Assembly budget is a proposal for agency consolidation and shared services that would save over $30 million by merging certain state agencies that share similar objectives. For example, the Department of Banking and the Department of Insurance would merge to become the Department of Financial Services.

Prison Closures
The Assembly accepts the closure of Lyon Mountain and Butler correctional facilities, as well as the consolidation of several medium security dormitories, which will save $7 million this year and $52 million in subsequent years. While the Executive proposed to close the Ogdensburg and Moriah Shock facilities in April 2011, the Assembly plan calls for identifying alternative facilities for closure to maintain shock program availability and to achieve an even greater savings.

Taxes and Fees
The Assembly budget rejects $1 billion in new taxes and fees proposed by the governor, including the $450 million syrup tax, cuts to the STAR program and selling wine in grocery stores.

Budget Reforms
The Assembly's fiscal plan includes the issuance of $2 billion in bonds. A review board will advise and report quarterly. After a finding that the budget will be out of balance at the end of the fiscal year, the governor would have 30 days to correct it administratively, then the Legislature and governor would have an additional 30 days for the correction. After 60 days, the governor would have the power to reduce all spending across the board.


Please click here to view a Summary of SFY 2010-11 Assembly One-House Proposals.