March 16, 2023
Assembly's $232.9 Billion Spending Plan Makes Critical Investments to Help Make New York State More Affordable for Families
Speaker Carl Heastie and Ways and Means Committee Chair Helene E. Weinstein today announced that the Assembly has passed the Assembly State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2023-24 Budget. The $232.9 billion spending plan makes critical investments to make New York State a more affordable place to live, including programs to address the housing crisis, Medicaid and public health, record investments in School Aid funding and keeping (State University of New York) SUNY and (City University of New York) CUNY tuition from rising.
“This year’s Assembly budget is laser focused on combating the rising cost of living in our state and making New York more affordable,” Speaker Heastie said. “Over the last year our country saw a 40-year high inflation rate, which followed a global pandemic and ensuing economic crisis. As we continue to recover from the effects of these, the Assembly Majority is committed to creating and supporting programs that will help ease the burden on families in New York State.”
“This budget is an investment in our people and in our state,” Assemblymember Weinstein said. “Too many New Yorkers have struggled financially over the last several years and this budget will help them- from addressing the housing crisis and putting homeownership within reach for more New Yorkers, to preventing increases in SUNY and CUNY tuition as well as increases in MTA fares, to making record investments in funding for schools.”
The Assembly budget includes a proposed $1.5 billion to assist tenants with arrears and provide homeowner assistance. It would also create the Housing Access Voucher Program to provide rental assistance to individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, as well as the Homeownership Opportunity Connection Program to better connect residents of communities with below average homeownership rates and not-for-profit housing organizations with the multitude of homeownership programs funded within the state’s multi-year housing program. The spending plan would also incentivize the development of new housing in municipalities across the state, and includes $125 million in incentives for New York City and $500 million for other cities, towns and villages.
The Assembly’s spending plan ensures that higher education is affordable and accessible to all New Yorkers by making investments that prevent tuition increases at the SUNY and CUNY schools and raising the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) income threshold limit from $80,000 to $100,000. The spending plan also restores $6 million and adds an additional $10.2 million for opportunity programs for a total of $213 million.
The proposed budget would provide $34.3 billion in funding to General Support for Public Schools (GSPS), an increase of $3 billion or 9.7 percent, over the 2022-23 school year (SY). The Assembly’s proposed spending plan includes $2.6 billion to fully fund Foundation Aid for the first time since the formula was created in 2007. The proposal also includes $280 million in funding to make school meals free for all students in the state.
Last year’s SFY 2022-23 budget included $7 billion over four years to expand access to safe, affordable childcare across the state. The proposed Assembly budget for SFY 2023-24 includes an additional $137.5 million over the allocated amount for the second year of the four year spending plan.
The Assembly’s budget includes $8.3 billion funding for the MTA, including $196.9 million to eliminate a proposed 5.5 precent fare increase. The proposed budget also includes $50 million for a zero-fare bus pilot program, which would include two free bus routes in each borough, one route would serve a low-income community and the other would serve a commercial district. The spending plan also includes $1.33 billion for capital aid to localities programs to maintain and repair aging transportation infrastructure, including CHIPs, Pave our Potholes, Bridge N.Y., Extreme Weather Recovery and State Route NY. It also includes an increase of $100 million from the executive’s proposal for the Pave N.Y. program.
The proposed spending plan would add $2.7 billion in funding to the Medicaid Program and $110 million in funding for public health. The plan also includes $850 million in additional funding for financially distressed hospitals and calls for the expansion of coverage for undocumented immigrants through the Essential Plan.
Criminal Justice System
The Assembly spending plan includes critical investments in our criminal justice system, including $275 million in critical funding for discovery within the court system, and $198 million for grants to counties for expenses related to increased counsel rates to improve the quality of representation available to those who are entitled to representation but are financially unable to attain it. It also includes $40 million in funding for Aid to Defense and restores the carve out of $2.83 million for Legal Services Assistance Fund (LSAF) to support civil and criminal legal services grants. Additionally, the budget includes a total of $69.3 million in in anti-gun violence initiatives across the state.
Minimum Wage Increase
In this year’s budget, the Assembly Majority is committed to raising the minimum wage to address the rising costs of living, and indexing the minimum wage. The indexing should not be subject to exceptions which would prevent employees from getting an annual increase and diminish the value of the minimum wage rate. Additionally, the wage rate for home care workers must remain at least $3 above the minimum wage rate so it may rise jointly with the rest of the state.
The Assembly’s proposed budget would help transition the state away from fossil fuels by implementing all-electric building provisions for new construction, which would prohibit the installation of building systems or equipment used for the combustion of fossil fuels in new smaller building construction beginning in 2025 and new larger building construction in 2028. The proposal also invests $200 million for two energy programs, for a total of $400 million, aimed at increasing affordability. The Assembly also remains committed to developing a plan to require any renewable energy project built, financed or operated by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to:
- fill energy generation gaps identified by NYPA’s assessment of the state’s progress towards achieving the energy goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) annually;
- include strong labor standards and protections, Buy American requirements, and workforce development programs to train, retrain and transition the fossil-fuel workforce; and
- provide low- and moderate-income consumers, and consumers living in disadvantaged communities with financial protections during the transition to renewable energy, including providing utility bill credits.
The Assembly budget increases funding for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) by $35 million for a total allocation of $435 million, and allocates $600 million to support clean water initiatives.