Agreement reached on NYS budget, nursing home reform & legalized mobile sports betting included

State of State-New York
Posted at 4:39 PM, Apr 06, 2021

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have reached an agreement on the FY 2022 New York State budget.

Cuomo made the announcement early Tuesday evening, below are the highlights of the budget according to the governor's office.

  • A record $29.5 billion in aid to schools aid;
  • $29 billion in public and private green economy investments;
  • $2.4 billion for rent and homeowner relief;
  • $2.4 billion for child care;
  • $2.1 billion for excluded workers;
  • 1 billion for small business recovery;
  • A first-in-the-nation plan to make broadband internet affordable;
  • Legalizing mobile sports betting; and
  • Implementing comprehensive nursing home reforms.

The agreement includes spending in the following categories:

  • Total State Operating Funds: $111 billion
  • All Funds spending $212 billion
  • School Aid: $29.5 billion, a $3 billion increase.

The governor's office says the budget closes the deficit and invests in the ongoing pandemic response and recovery.

"New York was ambushed early and hit hardest by COVID, devastating our economy and requiring urgent and unprecedented emergency spending to manage the pandemic," Governor Cuomo said. "Thanks to the State's strong fiscal management and relentless pursuit to secure the federal support that the pandemic demanded, we not only balanced our budget, we are also making historic investments to reimagine, rebuild and renew New York in the aftermath of the worst health and economic crisis in a century."

State Senator Tim Kennedy, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, said the budget has more than a quarter billion dollars for roads across the state. He said part of that puts money into cities with a declining tax base, as well as $100 million in new funds for the Extreme Winter Recovery fund.

“That Extreme Winter fund, especially in cities like Buffalo and other upstate communities, is gonna be essential in taking care of our roads as we deal with inclement weather, the spring thaw, and all of the issues that come with it," Kennedy said.

State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt said there's too big a gap in upstate and downstate infrastructure funds.

“There was an increase in highway funding, but nowhere near parody with downstate transit, the MTA, which our conference has advocated for for a long time,” Ortt said.

Schools were a big budget item. The budget provides a $1.4 billion increase in Foundation Aid, the main source of funding for schools, and a three-year Foundation Aid phase-in to fully fund the program, according to Alliance for Quality Education Executive Director Jasmine Gripper.

“This is nothing like we’ve ever seen in recent years," Gripper said.

She said schools can use the money on a variety of things from student services, to transportation, to reducing class size.

This year schools can figure out reopening solutions and know that they have the resources to tap into to pay for those solutions," Gripper said.

This year's budget is up almost 10% from last year. It includes some middle-class tax cuts, and some tax increases for people making more than a million dollars and large businesses.

“The total state spending going up, that is going to drive employers out of New York or prevent employer from investing in New York State, especially coming out of the pandemic," Ortt said.

Jack O'Donnell, Managing Partner at O'Donnell & Associates said a lot of the money for the state budget is coming from increases in taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers and federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan.

“The amount of money that New York State is gonna spend is really significant, and a lot of people across New York are gonna feel that in their day to day lives,” O'Donnell said.

"New York State approached this year's budget with many challenges and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic." Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. "However, driven by a commitment to long-term equity and prosperity for all, we have accomplished a great deal. I am proud of the strides we have made in funding our schools, helping businesses rebuild, and protecting New York's most vulnerable. Working and middle-class taxpayers will receive the relief they desperately need, while the wealthiest New Yorkers will help their neighbors. This budget makes New York better for all. In the remaining months of session, the Senate Majority will continue to deliver results that are reflective of our progressive values and priorities."

"Budgets are a statement of values, and in my two decades of service to the people of New York I can't think of a more far-reaching and impactful budget than this," Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said. "It meets longstanding goals of our Assembly Majority and addresses the historic inequities that have existed for too long. My colleagues and I have worked tirelessly to deliver a budget that will help New York rise from this health crisis and recover from its devastating economic impacts while upholding our commitment to putting New York families first. I am particularly proud that we have been able to make historic investments in our schools, keep higher education within reach, deliver the relief that our small businesses need to get back on their feet, and provide critical funding for child care that families need. I thank all my colleagues, especially Ways and Means Committee Chair Helene Weinstein, for their tireless efforts and advocacy in crafting a budget that truly meets the needs of all New Yorkers."