Assemblyman Perry: ‘Families First’ Budget Proposal Aims to Provide Economic Security for All

Assemblyman N. Nick Perry announced the release of the Assembly’s 2015-16 “Families First” budget proposal (E.203). The $150.7 billion budget plan focuses on New York’s families by making investments in education, health and human services, housing, and helping ensure economic security for all.

“By putting families first, we’re making New York stronger,” said Assemblyman Perry. “New Yorkers are hardworking, innovative, compassionate people, and the Assembly’s budget proposal reflects these values. The comprehensive approach of this proposal is aimed at helping families and hardworking people across the state get ahead.”

Families First – Increasing the minimum wage

“In this country, there is no reason someone working a full-time job should struggle to put food on the table, but this is the reality for so many in our state. We need to raise the minimum wage so working families can make ends meet,” said Assemblyman Perry. “There are over 1 million people in this state who would benefit directly from a minimum wage increase. Raising the minimum wage would also have a direct and positive impact on our economy.”

The Assembly’s budget proposal would increase the state minimum wage to $10.50 per hour starting Dec. 31, 2016, and to $12.60 per hour beginning Dec. 31, 2018. The proposal would also create a minimum wage for New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties of $12.50 per hour to begin Dec. 31, 2016, increasing to $15.00 per hour starting Dec. 31, 2018. The state tipped wage would increase to $7.50 per hour – $9.50 per hour for New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties – beginning Dec. 31, 2016. It would then increase again to $9.00 per hour – $11.40 per hour for New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties – by Dec. 31, 2018. Further, the state minimum wage would be indexed to the rate of inflation beginning in 2019.

Families First – Investing in education

The Assembly’s budget proposal builds on the promise of full-day pre-kindergarten by earmarking an additional $80 million for statewide universal pre-K. For 2015-16, the proposal would increase school aid by $1.8 billion for a total investment of $23.95 billion, independent of any other budgetary action.

“Part of putting families first is ensuring that children have the foundation they need to find success and continue to prosper throughout their lives,” said Assemblyman Perry. “Every child in this state has a right to a sound, quality education. It’s time for us to deliver.”

Families First – Supporting higher education

“These days, most jobs require an education beyond a high school diploma. However, for many, accessing higher education is simply not an option,” said Assemblyman Perry. “If a student wants to attend college, he or she should have the opportunity to do so, regardless of where they come from or what their financial situation is.”

The Families First budget also provides critical funding to the Assembly’s Higher Education Road to Success proposal. The program would fund innovative new and existing programs to make college more affordable, including increasing support for Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards and committing more than $20 million to Opportunity Programs. The spending plan also provides funding to enhance community college base aid, support the DREAM Act and boost outreach programs.

Families First – Safe and affordable child care

The Assembly’s proposal also includes $25 million for 3,000 new child care slots, an additional $10.7 million in support for facilitated enrollment services, $1 million for the continuation of child care programs for SUNY and CUNY, and it will increase Advantage Afterschool Program funding to $18.3 million.

“A lack of access to affordable, quality child care remains one of the largest obstacles to financial security for New York’s working families,” said Assemblyman Perry. “Creating good jobs is one step toward economic security for all. However, without access to dependable child care, parents – especially women – are often forced to choose between their job and their family.”

Families First – Housing and homelessness prevention

The Families First proposal would commit $254.5 million for affordable housing programs, including $100 million for assistance to homeowners in foreclosure or whose mortgage is “underwater.” An additional $310 million is set aside for preservation and rehabilitation programs of which $125 million would be provided to the New York City Housing Authority and $110 million would be provided for Mitchell-Lama developments.

“An affordable, safe home is essential to stability and security. It’s so important that we continue helping those who are still struggling,” said Assemblyman Perry. “The Assembly’s Families First plan addresses the most pressing issues and works toward ending this crisis.”

The Families First budget provides $32 million for a homelessness prevention pilot program to allow for enhanced rental assistance to individuals and families who are at risk of losing their homes. An additional $5 million would be allocated for homeless and supportive housing services for a total investment of $36.5 million.

Families First – A stronger safety net for the most vulnerable

“Some New Yorkers are facing unimaginable circumstances and need a strong safety net to avoid falling through society’s cracks,” said Assemblyman Perry. “The programs funded by the Assembly budget proposal provide assistance for those who need it as they get back on their feet.”

The Families First budget restores $30.9 million in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funding for programs that provide relief to families in need. Additionally, the Assembly proposal allocates $5 million to support the development of new service opportunities for individuals with disabilities who are living with aging parents. The budget proposal also commits $5 million to the Safe Harbour for Sexually Exploited Youth and $5.4 million for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.

Currently, New York and North Carolina are the only states that treat all 16- and 17-year-olds charged with offenses as adults. The Assembly budget modifies the governor’s proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility and requires that all but those charged with serious felony offenses under the age of 18 be adjudicated in Family Court. The Assembly’s measures recognize the scientific advancements in understanding adolescent development and will provide more appropriate and effective treatment of young people charged with crimes, reduce incidents of re-offense and improve outcomes.

“For many young people, incarceration in adult jails and prisons is not only dangerous to their physical and emotional well-being, but counterproductive to reducing recidivism. Further, young people stigmatized with a criminal conviction also face roadblocks to finishing school and finding a job,” said Assemblyman Perry. “By diverting juvenile offenders to programs that are age-appropriate, we can help ensure their futures aren’t ruined simply because they made a youthful mistake.”

Families First – Keeping health care affordable and accessible

The Assembly funds $10.7 million for spousal refusal, which ensures that elderly individuals living in the community will not be impoverished if their spouse needs long-term care services. Additionally, $4 million is proposed for the Nurse Family Partnership, a community health program that assists first-time and low-income mothers as well as $5.5 million for maternal and child health programs. The proposal restores $10.9 million to support clinic services, including family planning clinics. HIV/AIDS community-based providers will receive an additional $1.1 million in addition to $10 million in support for the proposed End of AIDS initiative.

“Our health care system should be as strong as the New Yorkers it serves. That means investing in health programs and medical research to ensure the well-being of families across New York,” said Assemblyman Perry. “These programs protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community and ensure that New Yorkers have access to high-quality care.”

The Assembly rejects the governor’s proposal to permit private equity to be invested in as many as five hospitals. Currently, hospitals are only allowed to be not-for-profits. Allowing corporate investment and ownership of hospitals may lead to incentivizing profits over the well-being of patients.

Families First – Lowering taxes and investing in economic development

The Assembly has long championed the implementation of a “circuit breaker” to provide families with much-needed property tax relief. The plan would tie property taxes to household income for homeowners, instead of basing the taxes on property value, and would be the first time in recent years that property taxes are actually cut. The circuit breaker credit would also be extended to renters, with a portion of annual rent tied to household income. The Assembly has once again included the circuit breaker in this year’s budget proposal and welcomes the governor’s support.

“Brooklyn families have been crippled by sky-high property taxes/rent for far too long,” said Assemblyman Perry. “It’s time our families pay based on what they can afford, not their property value.”

The Assembly’s proposal also provides $500 million to expand rural broadband access that is expected to generate a private-sector 1:1 match, for a total of $1 billion.

In an effort to create good-paying jobs, the Assembly’s budget proposes $1.5 billion in economic development funding for the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, along with $250 million in grants to local governments whose sewers and water mains are in need of repair or replacement. It also includes $300 million for a new Regional Significant Infrastructure Program to promote local economic development through workforce development, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism initiatives.

“New York’s economy is showing promise of improvement after the economic downturn, and we have to continue the momentum. The Assembly’s proposal renews our commitment to creating jobs and helping families all across the state get ahead,” said Assemblyman Perry. “Our proposal will help businesses grow and create better job opportunities.”