Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today highlighted some of the Long Island-specific accomplishments from the 2016-17 state budget agreement. In addition to a $15 statewide minimum wage plan, the nation’s strongest paid family leave policy, and a personal income tax cut that will reduce middle class taxes to their lowest rates in 70 years – the budget includes a number of signature investments that will grow the economy and create a stronger, cleaner, greener and healthier New York.
For reference, information on the $15 minimum wage plan, 12-week paid family leave plan, $4.2 billion middle class tax cut and $24.8 billion in school aid is available here.
Regional highlights of the 2016-17 state budget specific to Long Island’s communities include:
School aid: School districts in Long Island will be receiving $3 billion in school aid – an increase of $200 million over last year. The region will be receiving $8.8 million in community schools funding. This budget fully restores the region's $117.6 million Gap Elimination Adjustment.
Minimum wage: The State Department of Labor projects 382,236 workers on Long Island will experience higher pay as a result of the $15 minimum wage, reinvesting an estimated $2.45 billion in the region's economy.
Paid family leave: The State Department of Labor projects 936,283 private sector workers on Long Island will become eligible for 12 weeks of paid family leave.
Middle class tax cut: The budget's middle class tax cut, when fully phased in, will save 904,774 taxpayers on Long Island a total $766.1 million with average savings of $847 a year.
Long Island-specific investments in the budget include:
- SUNY institutions on Long Island will receive $87.7 million in capital funding.
- $40 million in CHIPS funding for local roads and bridges.
- $50 million to build a state-of-the-art Center for Bioelectronic Medicine. Joint venture with the Feinstein Institute, North Shore, Cold Spring, Hofstra and Stony Brook University. Matched by $300 million in private investment, and will create 650 jobs.
- $1.5 million to address poverty in Hempstead through the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative.
- $15 million to support critical infrastructure projects for Brookhaven National Lab.
- $10 million for one Long Island community (selected by the Regional Council) to fund transformative housing, economic development, transportation, and community projects designed to attract and retain residents, visitors, and businesses to downtowns.
- $50 million for infrastructure improvements at Ronkonkoma Hub. Will spur $600 million in mixed-use development.
- $5 million to study the feasibility of a tunnel connecting Long Island to Westchester, or CT or the Bronx.
- $1 million to study a deep water port at the old Shoreham Power Plant, which would take cargo to the middle of Long Island, reducing commercial traffic from the city.
- $6 million to fully fund a Federal Customs Inspection Station at MacArthur Airport. Relieves traffic from JFK. Increases economic development on Long Island.
- Marketing 14.5 acres for aviation or commercial development at Republic Airport, and propose redeveloping a northern parcel into a new, 12.5 acre mixed-use development with a new LIRR stop.
- $200,000 for groundwater monitoring in Nassau County to support the Long Island Pesticide Pollution Prevent Strategy.
- $4.5 million for sewer improvement projects, septic improvements, and nitrogen management in Suffolk County.
- $5 million for improvements to the Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant in Nassau County.
- $1.8 million for the Long Island Pine Barrens Commission, which preserves a critical drinking water source for Long Island.
- $130 million for extreme weather hardening of the Nassau Expressway, creating 2,100 jobs.
- $32 million to reconstruct 8 miles of State Route 112 LIE, creating 756 jobs.
- $66.6 million for transit operating assistance to Nassau County; $25.9 million for Suffolk County; and $4.5 billion for the MTA that includes operations of the Long Island Railroad.
- $500,000 to Bethpage State Park for golf course improvements to prepare for major tournaments
- $2,000,000 Heckscher State Park improvements
- $10 million for Jones Beach State Park for the comprehensive Jones Beach Revitalization Initiative, and $400,000 to construct phase I of a bicycle & multi-use trail.
- $7 million in tax credits to grow the agricultural industry on Long Island.
- $22 million to expand LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University.
- $7.5 million for campus upgrades at Stony Brook Southampton.
- $900,000 to advance water quality and climate resiliency projects in communities of the communities of the South Shore Estuary.
Other locally significant initiatives and investments in the budget include:
Support for Public Higher Education
For the State University of New York, a $56 million increase in general operating support and employee fringe benefits is provided for state-operated campuses. The four university centers are authorized to increase non-resident undergraduate tuition rates by up to 10 percent for an estimated $22 million in additional revenue.
The budget also includes more than $1.6 billion in state support for the City University of New York senior colleges, including a $29 million increase in general operating support and employee fringe benefits. The state will appoint a management organization expert to restructure administrative and back office functions and present a comprehensive plan for inclusion in the next state budget. The plan will not only bring great savings to CUNY, but will also include shared services opportunities with SUNY.
To build a stronger future for SUNY and CUNY, the budget provides $110 million for a new round of competitive NYSUNY 2020 and NYCUNY 2020 capital challenge grants. These resources fund campus initiatives to improve academic outcomes, find efficiencies, and promote innovation and economic development. More than $1 billion is invested in strategic programs to make college more affordable and encourage the best and brightest students to build their future in New York State are continued, including increased funding for the Tuition Assistance Program and support for the Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program.
The budget also includes a $20 million investment to support workforce development programs at SUNY and CUNY that prepare students for 21st century careers. This includes:
- $15 million for Clean Energy Workforce Program
- Educates the next generation of clean energy workers across the state to ensure that New York leads the way in clean tech workforce development,
- Expands clean technology and renewable energy programs offered by SUNY.
- $5 million to create Apprentice SUNY/CUNY
- Enhances SUNY/CUNY innovative partnership with New York employers as one of the nation’s largest statewide public-private apprenticeship programs
- Insures students complete degrees while participating in registered apprenticeships ultimately preparing thousands of New Yorkers for new employment opportunities in advanced manufacturing in both large and small firms.
- Links classroom-based instruction with paid on-the-job training valued by our State’s employers
Urban Youth Jobs Program Tax Credit
This program encourages businesses to hire unemployed, disadvantaged youth, ages 16 to 24, living in the cities and towns with the highest poverty and unemployment rates. The annual allocation is increased from $20 million to $50 million for hiring years 2016 and 2017, of which $20 million annually may be allocated statewide.
$50 million I LOVE NY investment
The budget includes $50 million for the I LOVE NY campaign in order to continue growing New York’s significant tourism sector – which was responsible for more than 883,000 jobs and an economic impact of $100 billion in 2015.
$54 Million to Expand Law Enforcement Capacities and Help Combat Terrorism
Recent terror attacks have revealed a trend towards coordinated strikes using military-style assault weapons, as well as home-grown extremists committing lone-wolf attacks. These attacks are easier to carry out on American soil and can occur anywhere within New York State. This new normal of terrorism requires an expanded approach to the State’s counter terrorism efforts.
The budget includes a $40 million investment, first proposed in the Governor’s state of the state, to expand the presence of law enforcement agencies statewide, $10 million for safety equipment for local law enforcement agencies, and $4 million investment to provide members of the New York State Police with high-powered rifles, body armor and ballistic helmets to all on-duty uniformed troopers, along with the necessary training to prepare them to respond to this evolving threat of terrorism.
Environmental Protection Fund
The Budget includes appropriations of $300 million for the EPF, the highest level of funding in the program’s history and an increase of $123 million from FY 2016. The increase will provide record funding for stewardship, agriculture programs, invasive species prevention and eradication, water quality improvement, municipal recycling and an aggressive environmental justice agenda. Further, this funding level will establish new programs to help communities adapt to climate change through resiliency planning and capital projects, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions outside of the power sector.
Water Infrastructure Improvement Act
The Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015 provides grants to municipalities for critical drinking water and wastewater system improvements. This year’s budget increases the act’s funding from the $200 million approved in 2015, to $350 million. Grants provided through the act will help local governments advance approximately $2 billion in local drinking water and waste water infrastructure investments while creating an estimated 33,000 construction jobs.
Combat Opioid Abuse
The budget invests $25 million in the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to combat the heroin/opiate crisis, increasing spending from $141 million in FY 2016 to $166 million in FY 2017 (a $51 million increase since FY 2014). Funding will be directed to increase access for prevention, treatment and recovery support services for individuals impacted by heroin, opiate and other substance use disorders. Additionally, to further combat opioid abuse, the budget includes an initiative that will require managed care organizations to implement prior authorization for opioid refills exceeding four prescriptions in 30 days. The initiative will exclude patients with cancer, sickle cell disease or receiving hospice care.
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