State 2016-17 Budget Supports Bronx Families, Invests in Education, Guarantees Future Opportunity

Bronx, N.Y. – In the 2016-17 State’s $146.7 billion budget, Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner (D-Bronx, 77th AD), and her colleagues supported families by installing a $15 minimum wage, instituting paid family leave, investing in education and protecting public health – all measures that can help lift families down on their luck and offer future opportunity.

“Having a $15 minimum wage that ensures a more suitable and livable wage, securing paid family leave so that families do not have to choose between work or caring for a loved one, ensuring adequate health care through dedicated Medicaid funding, making sure public education and our children have an increase in public school aid and freezing tuition costs for higher education at CUNY and SUNY are all keys towards increasing opportunity and the futures of Bronx families,” said Assemblywoman Joyner. “Also, investments in initiatives like My Brother’s Keeper guarantee that all of New York children will be offered a chance to succeed. My top concern is to lift those facing difficult times out of poverty and the SFY 2016-2017 Budget does just that by leveling the economic and educational playing field for all.”

$15 Minimum Wage

In New York City, the minimum wage will increase to $11 at the end of 2016, followed by $2 increases each year after, reaching $15 an hour on Dec. 31, 2018. For New York City businesses with 10 or fewer employees, the minimum wage will increase to $10.50 at the end of 2016, followed by $1.50 increases each of the following years and reach $15 on Dec. 31, 2019.

Putting families first with paid family leave

The budget includes a paid family leave provision that, when fully phased in, will afford employees 12 weeks of paid leave per year to care for a new child or family member in need. The measure will be funded through a small weekly employee contribution and offer up to two-thirds of an employee’s salary during their absence, not to exceed two-thirds of the statewide average weekly wage. The policy will be implemented at a gradual rate, and workers will be eligible for the program after six months of employment.

Assemblywoman Joyner continues: “This year’s budget puts our families in the 77th Assembly District first by supporting them today and for the future.”

Supporting education and our youth

The SFY 2016-17 Budget also includes increases for education aid by $1.47 billion – or 6.3 percent – for a total of $24.7 billion; and allocates $175 million to transform struggling and high-needs schools into community schools, which provide a number of crucial services to students and their families. These services include mentoring, health care, summer programs and job training.

Also, $20 million will be promised to implement the My Brother’s Keeper initiative in the state. Previously established by President Obama, the program will address opportunity gaps faced by young boys and men of color.

For higher education, the State Budget guarantees a tuition freeze for all SUNY and CUNY students – including an additional $18 million in operating funds for SUNY and $12 million in operating funds at CUNY schools; it also restores $902,000 in funding to CUNY child care centers.

The 2016-17 state budget invests in New York’s public college system and makes higher education more accessible and affordable for all by providing a 20 percent increase over last year, for a total of $23.8 million, for higher educational opportunity programs.

Other education-related investments include:

  • $1.5 million for the NYC Community Learning Schools Initiative, which works to provide vital services to public school students and their families; and
  • $1 million increase in bilingual education services funding, for a total of $15.5 million; and
  • $1.5 million in restorations for the Consortium for Worker Education (CWE), for a total of $13 million, to provide career training and job placement services; and
  • $1 million in additional funding for adult literacy education, for a total of $7.2 million; and
  • Recognizing the importance and lasting benefit of early childhood education, the budget provides $807 million for continued implementation and development of the statewide universal pre-kindergarten program.

Providing opportunities for families

The budget includes $24.9 million for various child care opportunities. It allocates $10.6 million for facilitated enrollment, which provides 12 months of child care subsidies for working and middle-income families who meet employment and income requirements. The facilitated enrollment allotment includes $6.2 million for New York City and restores $2.6 million for upstate communities.

The final budget contains additional programs that further benefit children across New York State:

  • $5 million for Advantage Afterschool, which offers extracurricular activities for students in a positive environment;
  • $3 million for Safe Harbour, which provides support for sexually exploited youth;
  • $3 million for Kinship Care with $100,000 allocated for Kinship Navigator, a support-system for non-parent child caregivers;
  • $2.5 million for Settlement Houses, which support community needs through programs that include extracurricular activities and vocational programs;
  • $2 million for QUALITYstarsNY, which works to build a sustainable and high-quality child care system throughout New York State; and
  • $1.7 million for the Youth Development Program, an initiative that offers training in important life skills and promotes community involvement.

Cutting taxes for middle-class families

In order to provide additional assistance to working and middle-income families, the budget will cut personal income taxes by $270 million in 2018 compared to 2017 tax rates. These tax savings will increase to approximately $3 billion by 2025 when the middle-class tax rate reductions are fully phased in.

Protecting public health

The budget also restores critical funding for public health programs and provides funding for health care infrastructure programs. In addition, the budget provides important Medicaid funding, including funding to offset the costs of medications and long-term care.