Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Long Island regional highlights of the FY 2019 Executive Budget - advancing the state's efforts to deliver on the promise of progressive government by protecting taxpayers against devastating federal action, strengthening the middle class, cutting taxes and making smart investments in Long Island's future. For the eighth consecutive year, the Budget is balanced and holds spending growth below two percent.
"New York has made tremendous progress over the past eight years by restoring fiscal discipline to the state, making smart investments in economic development and infrastructure, and ensuring the state is a beacon of progressive progress for the nation," Governor Cuomo said. "The FY 2019 Budget builds on our strong record and continues to move New York forward by protecting taxpayers against the federal assault, creating jobs and investing in education, and implementing bold policies to make New York more just and fair for all."
Highlights of the FY 2019 State Budget for Long Island:
- Continues Middle Class Tax Cut - 686,413 Long Island taxpayers will see an average tax cut of $301, rising to 904,774 Long Island taxpayers will see an average tax cut of $847 by 2025
- Raises income eligibility for Excelsior Scholarship to $110,000 for middle-class families; 38 percent of Long Island students attending public college now go tuition-free as a result of the program
- Cuts off the MS-13 Recruitment Pipeline
- Increases Education Aid for Long Island by $76.4 million - bringing total funding to $3.1 billion
- Includes $118 million for higher education infrastructure at SUNY
- Continues $300 Million Environmental Protection Fund Historic Investment
- Advances $2.5 billion for the statewide Clean Water Infrastructure Act
- Launches Round III of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative
- Establishes new opioid epidemic surcharge
- Maintains Medicaid for 42,000 DACA recipients regardless of federal changes
- Invests $6.6 billion to transformation and modernize the LIRR
Significant initiatives and investments included in the FY 2019 State Budget that will benefit Long Island include:
Keeping New York Economically Competitive
The FY 2019 Executive Budget takes aggressive action to protect New Yorkers from the devastating impacts of Federal tax assault, continues the phase-in of the middle class tax cuts, advances efforts to improve New York's business climate, and improves the fairness of the tax system.
Fighting the Federal Tax Assault
The recently enacted federal tax law is an assault on New York. By gutting the deductibility of state and local taxes, the law effectively raises middle class families' property and state income taxes by 20 to 25 percent. Under Governor Cuomo, New York is fighting back against the federal plan and the loss of both income tax deductibility and property tax deductibility.
The new federal law disproportionally and adversely impacts the State of New York, which already sends $48 billion more each year to Washington than it receives in federal dollars. According to a recent report released by the State Department of Tax and Finance, the elimination of full SALT deductibility alone will cost New York an additional $14.3 billion.
Governor Cuomo has launched a three-pronged effort to fight the federal tax assault on New York. The first step is the multi-state coalition to sue the federal government, which now includes New York, Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut. The second prong of the effort is to launch a repeal-and-replace strategy, and the third prong is to explore the feasibility of a major shift in the structure of State tax policy.
New York has engaged tax experts, both houses of the legislature, employers, and other stakeholders in a thorough and collaborative process to produce a proposal that promotes fairness for New York's taxpayers and safeguards the competitiveness of New York's economy. Legislation is expected with 30-day amendments to the Executive Budget.
Continue the Middle Class Tax Cut
The Budget supports the phase-in of the middle class tax cut. In 2018, 686,413 Long Island taxpayers will see an average tax cut of $301. In 2025, 904,774 Long Island taxpayers will see an average tax cut of $847. Once fully phased in, the new rates will be the lowest in more than 70 years - dropping from 6.45 to 5.5 percent for incomes ranging from $40,000 - $150,000 and 6.65 to 6 percent for incomes ranging from $150,000 - $300,000. The new lower tax rates will save middle class New Yorkers $4.2 billion, annually, by 2025.
Advancing Shared Services
With the Shared Services initiative, Governor Cuomo has made a historic commitment to reducing local property taxes for millions of New Yorkers. The first shared services plans developed under New York State's County-Wide Shared Services Initiative law include 389 proposals totaling $208 million in projected savings in 2018. To build on this success, the budget includes $225 million to make shared services panels permanent, corrects several bureaucratic hurdles that prevent localities from sharing services, and matches savings.
Advancing the Women's Agenda
Governor Cuomo has put forward a robust 2018 Women's Agenda for New York, with more than 30 proposals to advance equality and promote opportunity in women and girls' health, safety, workplace, and family life. The Governor has also proposed legislation to prevent public dollars from being used to settle sexual harassment claims against individuals, void forced arbitration policies in employee contracts, and mandate that any companies that do business with the state disclose the number of sexual harassment adjudications and nondisclosure agreements they have executed. Additionally, the Governor has outlined a comprehensive plan to outlaw "sextortion" and non-consensual pornography, often known as "revenge porn." More information on the Governor's 2018 Women's Agenda is available here, here and here.
Ensuring Equal Justice for All
Governor Cuomo has advanced significant criminal justice reforms throughout his time in office, improving every stage of the justice system from arrest to community reentry. Three major reforms were passed this past year, including Raising the Age of criminal responsibility, extending the landmark Hurrell-Harring settlement's indigent criminal defense reforms to the entire state, and requiring law enforcement to video-record interrogations for serious offenses, as well as allowing properly-conducted witness identification into evidence at trial.
In 2018, New York will build on this bold progress by restoring basic fairness to our state's criminal justice system with a multi-pronged package of reforms, including:
- Eliminate monetary bail for people facing misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges;
- Expand the discovery process to include disclosure of information in a timely manner including evidence and information favorable to the defense; intended exhibits; expert opinion evidence; witnesses' criminal history information; and search warrant information;
- Reduce unnecessary delays and adjournments in court proceedings, requiring that people held in custody - not just their attorneys - consent to a speedy trial waiver that must be approved by a judge and ensure that defendants are not being held unnecessarily when the prosecution fails to meet deadlines;
- Ban all asset seizures, unless an arrest is made and enhance reporting requirements for local law enforcement and District Attorneys; and
- Improve the re-entry process for individuals transitioning from incarceration to their communities.
Advancing the Democracy Agenda
As proven in the 2016 election, social media is a highly utilized tool for placing and viewing political advertisements, yet political advertisements on social media platforms are not regulated in the same way as advertisements on traditional media platforms. This has created new opportunities for unscrupulous and disruptive actors to improperly influence our political process. This year, Governor Cuomo has put forward the strongest and most comprehensive policy to ensure that elections in New York State remain fair and transparent and that online political ads are archived for all to see, including:
- Increasing Transparency in Digital Political Ads
- Expands New York State's definition of political communication to include paid internet and digital advertisements
- Requires digital platforms to maintain a public file of all political advertisements purchased by a person or group for publication on the platform
- Requires online platforms to make reasonable efforts to ensure that foreign individuals and entities are not purchasing political advertisements in order to influence the American electorate
- Instituting Early Voting
- Adopting Automatic Voter Registration
- Allowing Same-Day Voter Registration
- Enhancing Statewide Election Cyber Security Resilience and Defend Against Election Disruption
- Creating the Election Support Center
- Developing and Deploying the Elections Cyber Security Support Toolkit
Investing in Education
Cutting off the Recruitment Pipeline to Combat MS-13
MS-13 is an international criminal gang that emerged in the United States in the 1980s. They engage in a wide range of criminal activity and are uniquely violent, oftentimes engaging in brutal acts simply to increase the gang's notoriety. Despite violent crime being down dramatically in Suffolk County over the past several years, a recent uptick in violent crime has been traced directly back to the gang. New York will implement a comprehensive $11.5 million strategy to provide at-risk youth in Suffolk County with greater access to social programs and alternatives to gang activity.
- Expand afterschool programs in at-risk areas.
- Expand job and vocational training opportunities for at-risk young people.
- Provide gang prevention education programming to at-risk students.
- Expand comprehensive support services for at-risk young people, especially immigrant children - including comprehensive case management for at risk young people, with a focus on unaccompanied children entering the United States.
- Deploy a Community Assistance Team comprised of six State Troopers, three investigators, one senior investigator and one supervisor to identify and engage gang activity hot-spots or respond to departmental and community requests for increased service.
Supporting K-12 Education
The FY 2019 Budget continues the progress made to strengthen educational outcomes and increase access to high-quality learning across New York State. The FY 2019 Executive Budget reflects the Governor's strong commitment to education through a $769 million annual increase in School Aid — doubling the statutory School Aid growth cap and increasing education aid 35 percent since 2012. On Long Island, education aid increases by $76.4 million - bringing total funding for the region to $3.1 billion.
Continuing the Landmark Excelsior Scholarship
The Budget raises the income eligibility for the Excelsior Scholarship to $110,000 for middle class families. The FY 2019 budget invests $118 million to expand the program in its second year. Under the scholarship, 38 percent of Long Island students at public colleges now attend tuition-free. In addition, Long Island will receive $118 million in capital funding to maintain and upgrade its SUNY Higher Educational facilities.
Investing in Jobs & Infrastructure
Transforming Belmont Park
New York Arena Partners, a joint venture among Sterling Equities, the Scott Malkin Group, Madison Square Garden and the Oak View Group has been tapped to lead a transformational $1 billion redevelopment of Belmont Park. The project will transform the facility into an internationally recognized mixed-use destination for sports, entertainment, retail and hospitality, featuring an 18,000-seat arena for the New York Islanders, a new 435,000-square-foot retail and entertainment complex, a new hotel, and other community amenities. To accommodate New Yorkers and visitors traveling to the brand-new facility, the Long Island Railroad is committed to developing a plan to expand LIRR service to Belmont Park Station for events year-round. The state-of-the-art project is expected to create 12,300 construction jobs and 3,100 permanent jobs.
Revitalizing the Nassau Coliseum
Beginning in October 2018, the New York Islanders have agreed to play 12 games at the Coliseum during the regular season, and 48 games over the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons. New York State will invest $6 million in enhancements at the Coliseum to meet NHL requirements, specifically investing in ice plant redundancy and dehumidification, and media and broadcast cabling infrastructure. The improvements are expected to be completed by Fall 2018.
Leveraging Long Island's Assets
The Budget includes the continued investment of $550 million from existing capital resources in transformative projects on Long Island. Investments include, $70 million in Brookhaven National Laboratory, $75 million in Stony Brook University, $25 million in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and $50 million in the Feinstein Institute, creating new bioelectric medical treatments.
Modernizing the Long Island Rail Road
The $5.6 billion transformation of the LIRR is part of New York's $100 billion infrastructure program, the largest in the nation. After 70 years of stagnation, all 100 transformative LIRR capital projects are moving forward. In fact, 24 LIRR projects totaling $1 billion - including the $121 million Hicksville Station Transformation and the new Wyandanch Station - will be completed in 2018. Twenty-one additional LIRR projects will break ground this year, including the $2 billion LIRR Expansion Project that will add a third track to 9.8 miles along the congested Main Line of the LIRR between Floral Park and Hicksville.
Launching the Long Island Tunnel RFEI
In 2015, the Governor directed $5 million to the Department of Transportation to examine the feasibility of a tunnel connecting Long Island to Westchester County or Connecticut. This year, the Governor has directed that New York State should continue to pursue such a tunnel, a project which DOT has determined is feasible as a way of reducing traffic on the congested Long Island Expressway. The New York State Department of Transportation has issued a Request for Expressions of Interest to advance the proposed Long Island tunnel project, which the Governor announced in his 2018 State of the State address. The RFEI invites interested parties to provide input on engineering, environmental, operations and financial considerations that will be used to inform the future development of a Request for Proposals. The RFEI builds upon the preliminary study released by the Department in 2017, which assessed the feasibility of a Long Island Sound crossing.
Rebuilding Local Roads and Bridges
The FY 2019 Budget includes $40.1 million in funding for local roads and bridges on Long Island through the CHIPS program. In addition, the budget provides $9.2 million in funding for local roads on Long Island through the PAVE NY program.
Protecting and Promoting the Environment
Fast Track State-of-the-Art Containment and Treatment of the U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman Contamination Plume
New York is fast tracking construction of a new, state-of-the-art well system to fully contain and treat the plume of contamination caused by industrial waste from the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman Bethpage manufacturing facilities in Oyster Bay, Nassau County. New analysis and modeling shows that it is possible to fully contain and treat the plume, which is now stretches nearly four miles long and two miles wide in the underground aquifer. Governor Cuomo is directing DEC to use every legal tool at its disposal to hold the polluters accountable for constructing and operating the system, which will fully contain and treat to plume to protect Long Island communities.
Launching the Offshore Wind Master Plan
To position New York as the leading offshore wind market in the United States and to drive competition, reduce costs and create jobs in this emerging industry, Governor Cuomo has directed the state to procure at least 800 megawatts of offshore wind power between two solicitations to be issued in 2018 and 2019, resulting in enough clean, renewable energy to power 400,000 New York households. The Governor is also directing NYSERDA to invest $15 million in clean energy workforce development and infrastructure advancement to train workers for jobs in this industry, including offshore wind construction, installation, operation, maintenance, design and associated infrastructure. To attract private investment in port infrastructure and supply chain activities, Governor Cuomo is also directing NYSERDA to work with Empire State Development and other State agencies to determine the most promising public and private offshore wind port infrastructure investments.
Continuing Historic Environmental Protection Fund Investment
The FY 2019 State Budget continues to support the Environmental Protection Fund at $300 million - the highest level of funding in the program's history. Investments funded under the EPF include:
- $2 million for LI Pine Barrens Commission
- $4.5 million for Suffolk County for the Water Quality Improvement grant program
- $5 million for Nassau County for the Water Quality Improvement grant program
- $500,000 for the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
- $900,000 for LI South Shore Estuary Reserve
Investing in State Parks
The New York Works program includes $90 million statewide to rehabilitate state parks continuing the infusion of capital dollars for New York parks. The Executive Budget includes $20 million to restore the Boardwalk Café at Jones Beach State Park, bringing back a popular dining option and restore the symmetry of the Central Mall, at the heart of Jones Beach. It also includes $6 million to construct the new and first vacation cabins and cottages on Long Island at Heckscher and Wildwood state parks.
Investing in Healthcare and Wellness
Combating the Opioid Epidemic
At Governor Cuomo's direction, New York has taken bold steps in confronting the local effects of a nationwide crisis of deadly addiction to opioids, with significant increases in treatment capacity, strong support services, the removal of barriers to accessing high quality treatment, and public awareness and education activities. However, despite this progress, far too many New Yorkers continue to suffer at the hands of addiction. To address this public health crisis, Governor Cuomo is proposing a comprehensive plan to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for perpetuating the epidemic; strengthen protections against addiction stemming from prescription opioids; take steps to eliminate insurance barriers to addiction treatment and recovery services; and direct state agencies to implement regulatory and policy reforms that increase access to substance use disorder services. The Governor also announced this week that a 30-day budget amendment will be advanced to add 11 fentanyl analogs to the state controlled substances schedule and provide the New York State Health Commissioner the authority to add any new drugs that have been added to the federal schedule, to the state controlled substances schedule. The governor also announced an additional amendment that will add 36 different chemical compositions, commonly referred to as K2, to the state's controlled substances list.
Maintaining Medicaid Eligibility for DACA Recipients
The FY 2019 Budget ensures recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy will remain eligible for state-funded Medicaid, regardless of any federal changes to or termination of the program. There are approximately 42,000 DACA recipients in New York, many of whom are at risk of losing their employment-based health insurance if the federal government changes or terminates the program. Under New York law, DACA recipients are considered PRUCOL (Permanently Residing Under Color of Law) and eligible for state-funded Medicaid or CHIP.
Senator Todd Kaminsky, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York has made bold investments to strengthen our infrastructure and economy, but stayed within a two percent tax cap to ensure longterm fiscal stability. Governor Cuomo's budget will help grow Long Island's middle class, support economic growth and stay true to our progressive principles. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo to continue to help Long Islanders."
Assemblyman Anthony D'Urso said, "Governor Cuomo is a strong advocate for Long Island, and his budget priorities continue that record of achievement of improving the lives of New Yorkers. These transformative investments in our infrastructure and economy will continue to move our region forward, and I look forward to continuing to work with him to deliver real results for Long Island taxpayers."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, "In the face of a major financial assault from our nation's capital, Governor Cuomo's proposed budget plan focuses on creating jobs, improving infrastructure and supporting critical social justice reforms. This proposal will deliver economic growth while keeping spending under control."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for his continued efforts to ensure that Long Island's economy prospers, while also committing to keeping state spending at two percent. Under this year's budget, Long Islanders will see major investments in our economy and infrastructure to strengthen the middle class. Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for your commitment to moving Long Island forward."