State budget talks go into overtime

Posted at 7:54 AM, Apr 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-02 08:14:56-04

New York State lawmakers failed to pass the state budget by the midnight deadline, but they were able to reach several key compromises on issues like minimum wage, paid family leave and education funding.

Votes on budget bills continued into the night, and the State Assembly passed its version of the package just before 5 a.m. Friday morning.

At the time of this post, the State Senate has not passed its version, and passage of the entire budget is not expected before Friday afternoon.

This year's state budget is set to include the following:

State-Wide Minimum Wage Increase

  • Workers in New York City: $15/hour by end of 2018 (large business); $15/hour by end of 2019 (small business)
  • Workers in Upstate New York:  $9.70 by end of 2016, then another $0.70 each year until reaching $12.50 by end of 2020 - after which will continue to increase to $15/hour on an indexed schedule to be set by the Director of the Division of Budget
  • The bill provides a "safety valve" for the increases.  Beginning in 2019, the government will conduct an annual economic analysis in each region to determine whether a temporary suspension of the wage increase is necessary.

Education Funding

  • $24.8 billion in aid to public schools, up $1.3 billion from last year
  • The aid supports near 700 school districts with 2.8 million students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
  • Eliminates the so-called "gap elimination adjustment" - the state policy of taking back some school aid to balance the budget that primarily affected many suburban districts

Middle Class Tax Cuts

  • Pertains to New Yorkers who make between $40,000 and $300,000 and rates that currently range from 6.45 to 6.65 percent
  • Begins in 2018
  • Rates would gradually drop to 5.5 percent by 2025
  • Estimated to save more than 4 million tax filers nearly $6.6 billion in the first four years, with annual savings reaching $4.2 billion by 2025

Paid Family Leave

  • New York workers will become eligible for paid family leave in 2018.
  • 12 weeks of leave to care for a child or other family member will be funded by worker payroll contributions that will cost from 70 cents a week up to $1.40.
  • Benefits will start at 50 percent of an employee's average weekly wage, capped a half the statewide average weekly wage, rising to 67 percent in 2021.