Speaker Carl Heastie and Ways and Means Committee Chair Helene E. Weinstein today announced the Assembly’s State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22 Budget Proposal of $208.3 billion. The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a health crisis, it also resulted in an economic crisis. In order to help our communities recover and restart New York’s economy, the Assembly’s plan would make historic investments in health care, housing, education, higher education and local governments, and includes funding for critical transportation projects.
The Assembly proposes General Fund spending of $91.6 billion in SFY 2021-22. This is an increase of $16.9 billion or 22.6 percent over SFY 2020-21. The proposed spending is $8.7 billion or 10.6 percent higher than the Executive Budget proposal.
The Assembly proposes All Fund spending of $208.3 billion in SFY 2021-22. This is an increase of $15.6 billion or 8.1 percent over SFY 2020-21. The proposed spending is $12.2 billion or 6.3 percent higher than the Executive Budget proposal.
“I have always said New York had significant needs before the COVID outbreak and they have only been made more dire because of this unprecedented healthcare crisis. Our state budget must meet the moment, and we in the Assembly Majority are committed to meeting the needs of all New Yorkers,” Speaker Heastie said. “We are receiving significant federal funding, but we must also ask those who can do more to step up and help. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted every aspect of our lives, and we need to make investments that will aid in our state’s recovery, while ensuring that New Yorkers continue to have access to the vital services they need.”
“Our budget makes critical investments in our communities, in our people and in helping our state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Assemblymember Weinstein said. “From funding for education to quality, affordable housing to water and transportation infrastructure, the Assembly Majority is dedicated to ensuring that our budget improves the lives of all New Yorkers.”
The Assembly budget proposal includes increased revenues that total nearly $7 billion in SFY 2021-22. Earlier this week, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan which included $23.8 billion in federal funding to help New York State and local governments to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild the economy and get people back to work.
The Assembly proposal would increase the top income tax rate from 8.82 percent rate for single filers earning more than $1 million and couples earning more than $2 million, to 9.85 percent. It would also establish two new brackets as follows: 10.85 percent for taxpayers between $5 million and $25 million and 11.85 percent for taxpayers over $25 million. This would generate at total of $4.3 billion.
A new one percent surcharge on capital gains for taxpayers earning more than $1 million per year would generate $700 million.
A new 18 percent surcharge would be applied to corporate franchise taxpayers, corporate utility taxpayers and insurance taxpayers, generating $1 billion.
To ensure that businesses with large capital resources but relatively low taxable income pay a fair amount of corporate tax, the Assembly proposal would reinstate the minimum business tax on corporate capital that will generate $150 million.
Owners of high value second homes in New York City will be subject to a progressive state tax generating $300 million. An additional $171 million will be generated from a recording tax on mezzanine debt and preferred equity investments.
Finally, the top rate of the state’s estate tax will increase from 16 percent to 20 percent, resulting in an additional $130 million.
Getting New Yorkers Back to Work
The Assembly’s proposed budget includes $1 billion for a new Small Business Reopening and Relief Grant Program to help small businesses that have struggled to keep their doors open over the last year. It would also set aside $500 million of the fund for companies that fall into priority categories.
The proposed spending plan would invest $100 million in a new Arts Recovery and Revitalization Program to assist with reopening efforts of various arts organizations and to provide financial support for the conversion of new outdoor venue spaces.
The Assembly budget would direct up to $1.8 billion in anticipated federal child care to priority areas, including expanding access to families earning up to 85 percent of the state median income and other groups not currently eligible for subsidies.
The Assembly plan also includes $50 million for the COVID-19 Recovery Workforce Initiative to ensure that funds are directed toward those who have been most impacted by the economic fallout due to the pandemic, including women, minorities, and those who have been receiving unemployment benefits for an extended period of time.
Rent Relief and Investments in the Social Safety Net
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis have forced New Yorkers to struggle financially, making it hard for them to pay their rent or mortgages. The Assembly budget includes $3.125 billion in combined federal and state dollars to provide rent relief for tenants and landlords, including $400 million for prospective rent, $200 million to reduce homelessness and $100 million to supplement $575 million in federal mortgage relief in the most recent federal stimulus, for a total of $675 million for mortgage relief.
The Assembly’s spending plan proposes $2.1 billion to create a fund for New Yorkers who do not have access to unemployment, federal stimulus funds and other assistance programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Assembly budget would provide $935 million in capital funding to housing authorities across New York State, including $750 million for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The proposal also includes $100 million for state- and city- supervised Mitchell Lama Housing.
Under the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, New York received $1.3 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance to aid eligible renters with rental arrears, utility and home energy costs or arrears, future rent and other housing expenses. The Assembly spending plan includes a proposal to get this rent relief funding to New Yorkers most in need quickly and efficiently.
The spending plan includes a $100 million carve out in rental assistance for distressed landlords whose tenants failed to pay rent, or otherwise did not qualify under the parameters of the rent relief program. It would also increase homelessness vouchers to $200 million.
Investing in our schools, from foundation aid to funding for technology and mental health care, is more important than ever after our students have had two school years disrupted by COVID-19.The proposed budget increases Foundation Aid by $1.4 billion and fully phases Foundation Aid in over three years. As part of this increase, the Assembly’s plan would provide that school districts receive at least 60 percent of their Foundation Aid funding for SY 2021-22. Foundation Aid would be funded for a total of $19.8 billion.
The Assembly’s spending proposal would ensure that transportation standby costs are added to pandemic related reimbursable costs included in the Executive Budget.
The Assembly’s budget also includes critical funding for our most vulnerable students and to address the mental health challenges they are facing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan includes $10 million for homeless students and $10 million to support mental health in schools.
The proposed budget also includes $75 million to create new prekindergarten slots across the state.
With so many New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet, it is more important than ever to ensure that tuition costs do not put higher education out of reach for New York’s students. The SFY 2021-22 Budget rejects proposed tuition increases for SUNY and CUNY, provides $23 million to SUNY and $26.3 million to CUNY to begin to pay off the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) gap, and includes almost $180 million for opportunity programs.
The plan also increases the TAP funding award by $1,000, bringing it from $5,165 to $6,165.
SUNY community colleges would receive $33 million and CUNY community colleges would receive $10 million in additional funding to keep community college funding level with academic year (AY) 2020-21.
Investments in transportation are critical to getting the economy moving again. It provides important jobs in construction and ensures New Yorkers can get where they are going safely and efficiently. The Assembly budget invests in these transportation projects, providing $11.3 billion for the state’s transportation network, including a $504 million increase in funding for the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) two-year capital plan. It will also restore $137 million in operating aid for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
The spending plan includes $503.1 million for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs), which includes $65 million for extreme weather recovery.
The Assembly spending plan directs $1.8 billion in federal funding to expand access to child care, including $500 million to support child care providers and families to expand eligibility and access to subsidies. Additionally, the plan includes $59.8 million in local assistance for programs that provide services critical to the wellbeing of New York’s children, including childcare, child welfare services, foster care, adoption subsidies, adult protective and domestic violence services. The plan also provides $10 million for homeless students, including funding for trauma informed practices in schools.
The Assembly budget would create a $32 million fund to support crisis services, problem gambling, and chemical dependence outpatient and treatment support services.
The Assembly spending plan provides $94.2 million for the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to create new service slots, including an expansion of certified housing supports, community habilitation, respite services, housing subsidies, self-direction of services and an expansion of day programs and employment options.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put incredible stress on our healthcare system, and demonstrated just how important it is that New Yorker’s have quality, affordable healthcare. The Assembly spending plan would make $376 million in restorations to the Medicaid program, including $73.9 million for hospitals and $74.25 million for Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) programs.The proposal also includes $393 million in restorations to public health programs that were eliminated from the Executive Budget.
The Assembly spending plan provides $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, which includes $100 million in anticipated federal funding. The budget also includes $500 million for clean water infrastructure projects.
The Assembly’s proposed budget would provide $35.41 million for Agricultural Aid to Localities, an increase of $8 million above the Executive Budget. The plan also includes an additional $25 million for Nourish NY, bringing total funding to $85 million since the program’s inception. Additionally, the plan would fund “I Love NY Restaurants,” a program based on the World Central Kitchen model of providingfood to people in need, at $25 million.