Most Aggressive Climate Change Agenda in the Nation - $33 Billion 5-year Plan to Combat Climate Change, Preserve the Environment and Create Resilient Communities
Expands Nation-Leading Building Program by $25 Billion to $275 Billion, Largest in State History
Greatest Amount of Funding in State's History for Homeless and Housing and to Combat Child Poverty
Fights Division and Hate and Enhances Public Safety with Additional $25 Million Investment for Security Infrastructure at Religious and Non-Religious Not-for-Profit Organizations
Protects Our Democracy with First Statewide Proposal Banning Foreign-Influenced Corporations from Making Campaign Contributions; Builds Trust in Government with 'Nothing to Hide' Act, Establishing Unprecedented Level of Disclosure and Transparency
Promotes Public Health by Banning Flavored E-Cigarettes and Capping Insulin Co-Payments at $100 per Month
Increases Education Aid to $28.5 Billion with an Additional $826 Million - New Record Funding Level; Fixes Inequity in Funding Formula to Provide More Support to Poorer Schools
Continues Unprecedented Economic and Social Progress with Middle Class and Small Business Tax Cuts, Strongest-in-the-Nation Paid Sick Leave, Rape Intoxication Loophole Closure, Expanded Banking Services for Low-Income People, Inclusive ERA, an Expanded Excelsior Free College Tuition Program
FY 2021 Executive Budget Briefing Book Available Here
Governor Cuomo: "Look at what we're doing. The most aggressive climate change plan in the United States of America. The nation's largest building program, building bigger than anything we've done before. The greatest funding for homeless and supportive housing in the history of the State of New York, targeting the population that needs the most help. The highest level of funding to combat child poverty. The nation-leading effort to fight this scourge of racism and religious violence that we see going on. New initiatives to protect democracy and ensure transparency. Making Medicaid sustainable for future generations. New protections for public health, taking on this vaping issue and resolving it quickly and saving lives. More funding than ever before in history. A new level of economic and social justice reforms, because New York is the progressive capital of the nation, and when we say that, we say we will lead the way once again."
Governor Cuomo: "That's what progressive government meant from day one. It's not what you say, it's what you do. I don't want to hear your ideas, I want to see change in people's lives. That's what progressive government does. It makes a change in a real person's life that is tangible, that they don't have to read about in a brochure, because it affected their life, it puts their child through college, it helps them with their housing costs, it gives them healthcare. That's what government does, and that's what this government does. We make progress happen. And people know it. And we do it together and we're going to do it together this year."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo outlined the FY 2021 Executive Budget, advancing a clear vision and bold, nation-leading and historic actions to make progress happen in the State of New York.
AUDIO of the Governor's remarks is available here.
PHOTOS of today's event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is below:
Good afternoon. Thank you, thank you. This is a budget to be excited about the Lieutenant Governor was right, let's give her a round of applause. And once again for my great colleagues because your energy was a little low on those recognitions before - I was listening. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, our great Senate Majority Leader. Our great Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie. Our great Attorney General Tish James. Our great Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. Our great Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan. Our Assembly Minority Leader Barclay. That's better, and this is an exciting budget. Are you excited? Oh, you should be. Watch how the State turns out at the end of this one.
2021 Executive Budget - making progress happen. We talked in the State of the State about our ship of State and the course we were on. And we said we are progress bound, this is the most progressive government in the United States of America, and we are fiscally sound. And you can do both of those things at the same time, they're not an oxymoron, you can be a progressive and you can be fiscally sound. And that's exactly what this budget does. I'm going to take you through ten points, but the most aggressive climate change agenda in the country. The largest building program in the history of the State of New York. The greatest funding for affordable housing and the homeless of any budget ever. Greatest funding to combat child poverty. Greatest initiative in the country on fighting the division that is the scourge of this nation right now. Protecting democracy and ensuring transparency. Reforming Medicaid for the future. Safeguarding public health. And the highest level of education funding in the state. And continuing our economic progress.
We start with the most aggressive climate change program in the country because my friends, the clock is ticking and it's ticking faster and faster. The past decade was the hottest ever recorded. Just think about that. And the five hottest years in history, all since 2015. That is undeniable. This climate change is no longer a political football - well I'm a Democrat, well I'm a Republican - they are facts and they are inarguable facts. You look at the temperature rising, it is frightening. New York has to be the State that stands up and says once and for all, we have to do more and we have to do it faster, and let's pledge the largest amount of any State in the United States of America.
And I'll tell you something, Al Gore was right, the man was right. I served with him when he was the Vice President, he was the first one to blow the horn and he was exactly right. Our $33 billion initiative - the largest in the nation - five-year plan, $3 billion is the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, which we talked about in the State of the State; $740 million for resiliency and environmental conservation; $9 billion for offshore wind; land-based renewables, $6 billion; clean energy research, $1.9 billion; the green bank, $1.1 billion; electric transit buses and charging stations, $1.5 billion. It is a comprehensive program and it provides the funding to actually do it. But we have to do it faster - that's my man Paul Tuttle on the motorcycle, Orange County Choppers. You don't watch Orange County Choppers? You should, it's better than watching a budget presentation. We have to do it faster.
Setting goals without the means to achieve them is b - you know what. That's right, it's baloney. That is a big bologna. But I digress. We have to do it faster. It currently takes five to ten years to begin constructing a new energy project. You can't have the goals we have and then have a system of bureaucracy that takes five to ten years to start a new energy project, it just does not work. We need a new faster siting methodology, financing and building methodology. I want to PSC, ESD and NYSERDA, reform them and flip the whole model. Let the State go out and find the site and do the approval and provide the financing and set up the transmission lines, and then bring in a private developer. In the cases where the private developer comes with a site, fine, but let's have a faster process because it can't be five to ten years, period. And we have to make that better and we can. Let's also in this budget ban single-use Styrofoam. Let's expand e-bikes and e-scooters. And let's make the fracking ban permanent once and for all.
This budget also has the nation's largest building program, and it expands even our nation-leading program from last year. This country is being bypassed by countries all across the world in terms of building and construction and advancing. You look at airports around the world and then you look at what we have here in this country. But while the rest of the country is sitting idle, New York State is moving ahead and we're doing it aggressively. Future generations will look back and thank us for what we did. They'll look at these new airports, the new rail terminals, internet all across the State, cell service all across the State, and they will thank us. Government doesn't like to invest in infrastructure because it's hard, it's expensive, it's risky, it can go wrong and then you get blamed, a lot of infrastructure programs have. And they take a long time.
So, in our political life, sometimes they don't come out of the ground and bear fruit and we don't get to cut the ribbon. But, this construction program that this Legislature has supported for the past several years is the nation-leading, the largest in this State, it is sprouting all across New York and our children, and our children's children are going to see it and they're going to thank us. And we're going to do even more. $275 billion - largest infrastructure program in this State's history, largest program in the United States of America. Why? Because we proved we can. The greatest obstacle for us to do infrastructure was a public that believed that government wasn't capable of doing it. "We're going to build a bridge." "It will probably fall over." "We're going to build a new road." "It will take you 10 years and then the road is going to crumble anyway." We got past that cynicism by proving we can do it, and we've done it over and over and over again. So let's actually bring it to a new level.
We have exciting new projects - a $12 billion, two-year DOT Capital Plan, including $5.8 billion for Upstate roads and bridges; a $52 billion Capital Plan for the MTA, it's $3 billion from New York City, $3 billion from New York State; $100 million to do a second round of Upstate airports, where we will have effectively rebuilt all of Upstate New York's airports when we're done. And $300 million to reimagine the Erie Canal, it made Upstate once, it can make it once again.
We'll continue to invest in our ongoing projects that we have happening all across this State. From the Long Island Rail Road, to LaGuardia Airport, JFK Airport, Eats Side Access, to Javits Center, new Metro-North stations in the Bronx, the Empire State Trail, the New York State Fair, broadband, internet, cell service, those will continue to be funded.
We also announced a new project in New York City to expand Penn Station. Penn Station is the seven levels of hell right now. And it is limited by the number of tracks that you can get into Penn Station. You can only get 21 tracks into Penn Station. That's the delay, that's what's causing all the backup. We want to acquire the block next door to Penn, expand the number of tracks by another eight tracks and actually have capacity for the future.
Greatest funding for homeless and supportive services. The homeless mentally ill population is the hardest community to reach. I've worked on the homeless issue all my life, starting in my 20's and then I did it for the nation as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. This year we will commit the most funding ever to provide supportive housing and services primarily to the mentally ill - $133 million, 1,000 more supportive housing units, building on our $20 billion record homeless and affordable housing plan.
But it's not just about the money. It's how you spend the money. It's not just more money. It's actually more product, more results, and we need a real strategy to tackle this tragedy. We've seen it done well and we've seen it done not so well. Right? We've lived through this. We've seen this movie multiple times. We need strategies based on science and experience, not political theory on what should be done, and this state has to do a better job of mandating local governments come up with real workable strategies before we fund them.
We also have the greatest funding to combat child poverty in this State's history. When we get to the pearly gates and our good maker says, well what did you do with your opportunity as an elected official? Tell me whose life you affected - not how many press releases did you do, how many Google mentions do you have. What did you actually get done? One of our proudest achievements: we lifted more people out of poverty than any program in modern political history by lifting and raising the minimum wage to $15. Congratulations to you.
And now we want to make the greatest investment in history to eliminate child poverty - $2.9 billion, we want to spend $157 million to expand the Empire Child Tax Credit, providing 400,000 with children under four years old an average of $400 per family. That'll make a tremendous difference and will add to all the progress we've made with the minimum wage.
Nation-leading effort to fight division, and as I said in the State of the State, fighting division is what I believe is going to be our toughest challenge going forward. We have a budget; I said to you at that time we're going to be able to manage the budget. But the divisive environment that we're living in all across this nation that is affecting New York, that is our challenge.
When it comes to public safety, I want to make sure our emergency management workers have the best equipment. I am often out there in responding to these emergencies whether they're hurricanes, storms, floods, whatever it is, and I can't tell you how impressed I am with their courage and their ability and what they do and how they literally put their lives on the line. I want to make sure we're at least giving them the best equipment because they deserve that and they should have it. They're willing to risk their lives. Let's make sure they have the right equipment so we're doing everything we can to facilitate the effort and to respect their courage and that what that $12 million does.
We're trying to get people to ride the MTA, congestion pricing, get out of your car, take mass transit. We have to make sure the subways are safe and one of the real issues we have are repeat sex offenders who use our subway system as a feeding ground. We have people who have been arrested over 70 times with sexual offenses on the subways, 40 times, 30 times. They go there because they have a captive prey audience. It's madness to say we're going to continue to subject the riders of the subway system to this level of sexual abuse. If they are high-level offenders and they are repeat-offenders at one point we have to say public safety matters also. The rights of all the other riders matter also and you've lost your right to ride the subway after high-level repeat sex offenses and we're going to provide that in the budget.
Ban fentanyl analogs. We've lost too many lives to fentanyl already. Ban ghost guns. Close the out of state conviction loophole on our gun laws. Legalize adult use cannabis. I believe it is best done in the budget. I said that last year. I believe the budget is the opportunity, frankly, to make some tough decisions and work through tough issues. That without the budget, can often languish, and I suggest that we get it done in the budget. Bail laws. Reform is an ongoing process, it's not that you reform a system once and then you walk away. You make a change in the system. It has consequences and you have to understand those consequences. We need to respond to the facts but not the politics. And we need to act on information and not hyperbole. Let's understand the facts, understand the consequences discuss it intelligently, rationally and in a soluble way and then let's make the decisions that we need to make, and we will do that as we move forward over these coming weeks. On ending the division, let's call what happened in Monsey, in Rockland County, what it is. It is domestic terrorism. When you intend to murder a large number of people based on their race or religion, that is an act of terrorism.
Just because you didn't come over on a plane, doesn't mean you're not a terrorist. You can be a domestic born and bred terrorist. And let's have a law that addresses that and call it what it is, the first domestic terrorism law in the United States of America. Let's make a statement in support of what happened. Let's make a statement in support of what happened, let's make a statement in support of what is happening all across the state. It's not just Monsey. It's a rash of anti-Semitism. It's the growth in the Ku Klux Klan, growth in hate groups, growth in the Proud Boys. It's anti-LGBTQ. It's anti-anyone in this environment, right, I don't know with this national atmosphere, unless you came over on the Mayflower, then you're an enemy of America. And by the way the Native Americans might even have a problem with the people who came over on the Mayflower. Let's pass the domestic terrorism law and let's make our statement. Let's divide $25 million dollars for security grants for not-for-profits and community organizations to put their own security systems in place. $2 million more to increase the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force.
Let's mandate that public schools teach our children the beauty of diversity and tolerance and how this nation was founded on religious freedom, and the culturally, let's get our culturally-significant museums to participate in that, so our children understand the full lesson of what it means to be an American, and let's make sure that's in our public schools. We're working to expand New York's holocaust museum. It's at Battery Park City. This would be at no cost to the state. Battery Park City is working on a real estate transaction where the museum would get additional development rights, Battery Park City would get additional development rights, and they could expand the museum to actually handle a large New York City school population, and hopefully we could have the New York City schoolchildren visit the Holocaust Museum as part of that education. I think it would be a worthwhile expenditure of time for them.
Adding E Pluribus Unum to the seal. This is our statement, Excelsior and E Pluribus Unum, says it all. Out of many, one. It's on the flag of the seal of the United States of America. Many of our federal leaders should turn around and look at that flag, but we'll remind them in our own way. There's no cost to this because it would be as we replace the seals or the stationary, whatever it is we would just change the seal, prospectively.
Building trust in government and our democracy. Our entire agenda doesn't work if New Yorkers don't have confidence in the process. Last year an independent commission proposed a pay increase for elected officials because we perform. I said all along, I support a pay increase for the legislature if we perform our duty. It has performed its duty. Constitutionally passed the budget on time. We've done that nine times, nine timely budgets. That hasn't been done in decades. And besides the constitutional responsibility of passing the budget on time, we have passed nation-leading laws and brought this state to a higher point than ever before. I support a pay increase for the legislature and the commission said there should also be a ban on outside income. Now the whole situation's gotten confused because there are lawsuits, et cetera, and part of the raise went through. The ban hasn't been done. But I would say to the people of this state, look, we haven't banned outside income, which the commission had recommended, but we have nothing to hide because we will release our taxes, and you can see who's paying me, and who's not paying me, and you can see if there's a conflict of interest. But I would do it for all elected officials across the state. If you make more than $100,000 from the public, you should make your income taxes available because we have nothing to hide.
I think it is a simple, profound gesture. You know historically, Albany had a reputation for corruption and certain dark practices when it comes to government. Lincoln called for the men from Albany to figure out how to get the votes when he needed them. Let Albany set the opposite example, the most transparent government in the United States of America - period. No government does this. And in one move we change the entire perception and we change the country and we say you can now follow us.
Let's have an automatic vote recount to increase confidence in our democracy. Let's put $10 million more into the census. That census, we get about $880 billion dollars of federal aid depending on our census and our count. I've asked three great New Yorkers if they would be honorary co-chairs, Martin Luther King III, Lucy Liu, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. They have agreed. We want to put additional funding to get groups so we can actually get out there, knock on doors, and ring door bells.
Preserving Medicaid for the future. Thanks to our effort 95% of people are covered. 18 million New Yorkers are covered. New York only has 19.5 million people. 18 million are covered. When you hear all of this discussion about healthcare coverage, look at what we have done. We are at 18 out of 19.5. We are not 100% but boy we are close. 6 million people on Medicaid, one out of every three. And this is something to be proud of, but the Medicaid system has to be fiscally sustainable. If it is not financially sustainable then we accomplish nothing.
Let's make sure we all remember the facts of Medicaid because as we get into the debate sometimes facts take a second seat. Local governments were paying 25 percent of Medicaid. They would say in our last couple of rounds of debates well many states don't have local governments paying for Medicaid. That is a true statement but this state, in 1965, we made an arraignment with the local governments where they got the right to a sales tax. And in exchange they picked up 25% of Medicaid. So, yes that was the exchange. They pick up 25% of Medicaid and they got the sales tax. That was 1965-1966. That was the consideration of that transaction. In 2011 we passed the property tax cap and local governments come back the next year and say we are feeling pressure on the property tax cap. And it is hard to stay in the property tax cap because of the rising cost of Medicaid.
Quick historical digression, not that history matters anymore. Now we just have Google. In 1932, Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt says to the New York State legislature the problem in this state is rising, he called it real estate taxes, rising property taxes. And it is a major problem and we have to make the local governments reduce their costs by streamlining, consolidating, and ending the duplication. We cannot afford this level of local government - 1932. FDR goes on to say for three years he is trying to get the legislature to come up with a consolidation plan. We have now about 10,000 local governments and local entities. And his whole point was those costs were going to increase and they needed to get them under control. He also rejected the premise that well the State should subsidize those local taxes with a statewide raised tax. Okay, history repeats itself.
We get to 2011-2012, local government says I have pressure on the property tax cap. I can't pay the Medicaid increases anymore. We say 2013, we will pay all of the increased costs of Medicaid and you stay within the cap. Frankly, it was a very bold and generous initiative because we also need to maintain fiscal solvency. But we assumed all the costs from the local governments in 2013. What happens now is, the cost of Medicaid is rising much higher than anyone projected. They started rising dramatically, recently, after we assumed the local cost increase. And you can see how fast, by percent, it has been going up. Now, local governments are responsible for administering and monitoring certain programs in determining eligibility. What happened is, when they were paying the cost, 25 cents on the dollar, they had a financial incentive. Every dollar they spent, they had to pay 25 cents. They were leveraging 75 cents on the dollar, but they were paying 25 cents. Now, since we paid the entire increase and they have been flat, they pay the same amount every year. Their cost does not go up. It doesn't matter what they spend. Their cost does not go up. It doesn't matter what they save, they don't get any savings. That never works. In private transactions, they always want everyone to have skin in the game. When you are administering a program where you have no financial accountability, you have no incentive in efficiency or economy of scale, or to call up and say I think this is a problem or this is a problem, because someone else is paying the check.
And that's where we are now. That's the blank check syndrome. We are signing the check, and they're filling out the amount. $20 billion is the increased cost to our budget, which is staggering. To give you an idea of what we're going to pay on behalf of local governments, for their share, Long Island, $284 million in Suffolk, 236 in Nassau. 175 Westchester, 100 Onondaga, 163 Monroe, 177 Erie. $2 billion for New York City. This is the money they were paying a few years ago. And we then inhaled, absorbed that cost so they don't have pressure on the property tax cap, and then the cost increased because they no longer had financial stake in the administration. What do we do? We're going to have to make structural changes to this program. And in 2011 we went through this, and we had something called the Medicaid Redesign Team, MRT, which put all the stakeholders in one room and said we have to save this amount, we have to find this economy of scale, how do we do it? The MRT worked very well. They found efficiencies, they had suggestions. The savings from that MRT has saved New York $19 billion since 2011. We want to do an MRT 2. With the assignment of saving $2.5 billion, and that's the number of, that's the amount that we need to close the Medicaid shortfall and to make those structural changes going forward. So we went back, we reenlisted the original MRT team. They were great. This is how they see themselves in self-portraits they did in a therapy session that they conducted after the first MRT. Here they are in person. Let's give them a round of applause and thank them very much. They are not here today. They are trying to flee the jurisdiction.
Unfortunately, we know where they live. Northwell, can't go with Dowling. And Dennis Rivera already is in Puerto Rico. This is what the MRT 2 directives must achieve. Here are their mandates. Zero impact on local governments. Zero impact on local governments. Zero impact on beneficiaries. Find industry efficiencies and or additional industry revenue, root out waste, fraud and abuse and get this done in time for the April 1 budget, which is just what we did with MRT 1, and it worked. But it holds local governments harmless. I know many of them are fearing that we would go back and undo what we did in 2013 by assuming their Medicaid. We don't do that and it won't impact beneficiaries. But, local governments have to have a financial stake in the game. We have to get those increases under control. So what we say to local governments is we will continue to pay, but you have to stay within the two percent tax increase. Because that was the rationale for the whole thing. The way we got here is them saying we're having pressure staying at the two percent. So we had to pay Medicaid. Alright. But we're not paying Medicaid if you don't stay at the two percent tax increase. Second, you have to manage the program and it can't go above three percent growth. If it goes above three percent, the local government pays. We can manage three percent growth and we can handle that, and by the way, that is a sustainable level for the program. The program exists at that level.
The program exists at that level. Above three percent, the local governments have to pay. But, below three percent, they get 25 percent of the savings. In other words, if they spend less than a three percent increase, they get 25 of the savings. If they go over three percent, they then have to pay the cost of the increase over 30 percent. Three percent. So they have a financial incentive and they have a financial disincentive. Save money, make money, go over three percent you pay the increase. It allows us to still pay the entire cost but it gives them an accountability and financial incentives in how it's wrung. I believe in the MRT, we did it before, it worked, I believe it will work again. New protections for public health. Lowering prescription drugs. I have no problem going to Canada and seeing if we can cooperate with them in the purchase in prescription drugs. If our government isn't willing to take on the drug companies in the United States, then let's go to Canada.
We should cap insulin co-payments at $100 per month. People are dying because they can't get their insulin because they can't get their insulin payments and I want to cap them at a flat $100 per month. Increase transparency - we're going to do a website that tells you where you can go for a set procedure and what each hospital charges for that procedure so you're not surprised when you get the bill.
Vaping, as you well know, is a public health crisis. We cannot delay. Last week two more deaths right here in the State of New York. Dr. Zucker issued health regulations, which would have controlled this, the vaping companies have sued, they have us in court, we're defending it. But let's just pass a new law, pass it quickly, and let's ban flavored e-cigarettes. And let's do it as soon as we can get it done.
Education, since 2012 we've increased it by 43 percent, it's not at the highest level in history - $28 billion. I proposed a 3 percent increase, an additional $826 million for education, that's a new history. There will be balance between Medicaid and education, they both are essential services and we're planning a 3 percent increase in Medicaid and a 3 percent increase in education. I don't believe any New Yorker would want to choose between healthcare and education and I don't think our government should choose between the two either. But it's not just how much we spend, it's how we spend it. And I think this is an important point - the assumption is often well, more money is better service, and all we can do is provide more money. No. You can provide more money or you could improve or redesign what we're doing and how we do it. Because it's not just about more money, we've been pumping more money into education than ever before. Are we getting better outcomes? Is it fairer? Are we accomplishing more with our money? And the goal to me is education equity. That's what we are trying to achieve. We said that the school districts had to disclose, for the first time, the amount of funding that actually goes to a school. Right? A district, one district can have a number of schools in it, 10, 20 et cetera.
We keep talking about districts. I am not interested in districts. I am interested in school funding. How much does each school get? And we got that list. The richer schools are spending 36,000 dollars per student and the poorest schools have 13,000 per student. That is the outrage my friends. That is the problem. Stop there. You do not have to go any further than that. Education is the civil rights issue of our day. Yes, and that is the civil rights injustice of our day - right there.
So this year what we are going to do in my proposal is to reduce funding disparities. The greatest amount ever to be funded through foundation aid, 85% which in the existing formula foundation aid is the best way to get it to the highest need schools. And that is the largest foundation increase over the past decade. But to truly prioritize poorer schools we need a better system. You know what we did on bail reform. You know what we are going to do on Medicaid, where we say we are going to roll up our sleeves and we are going to really reach into that system. And we are going to make real reform and real changes it is going to be hard. It is hard and for a lot of years nobody went near it because it was hard. It was politically difficult. It was going to be controversial. And you know we are in this business to make friends not enemies. We are also in this business to make change. And we had the guts to do it on the criminal justice system and bail reform. And we had the guts to do it on healthcare. We need the guts to do it on education.
The current formula is designed to achieve political needs not equity. You try to understand that education aid formula. You pull out all those categories. Expense based aid which is often the majority of the funding and it goes back to all the schools for whatever they spent. And we reimburse. It's like every school has our credit card and they operate the school and at the end of the year, we pay the credit card bill. Well, the richest schools wind up spending more because they're richer schools. And why are we really reimbursing richer schools at the expense of poorer schools? The expense-based aid is anathema to a truly progressive formula. Even Foundation Aid, which is the progressive component of the current formula isn't the most progressive formula. It doesn't accurately judge poverty. And it funnels money to a district but not necessarily the high-need schools in that district.
We need a new formula. And it's not going to be easy and that's a fact. It is going to be hard, but that's what has to be done. Our state funding is only about 40 percent of the funding that goes to schools. Sixty percent comes from local revenues. And wealthier communities with a higher property tax base fund their schools more. Period. That is the way of the world. Well then use your state funds to equalize the disparity in the funding. The wealthier districts are always going to fund their schools more. That's why they moved to the wealthier districts. Use your state funds to equalize. You're only 40 percent. You can't bring everybody up with 40 percent,
You don't have enough money to raise everyone to a new level. $36,000 was the highest spending at the wealthiest school. Okay, we'll raise everybody to 37. You can't raise everybody to 37. Not with 40%, you'll never be able to. Use it to equalize the funding. The most progressive approach? Take your 40%, start funding the bottom schools, keep funding the bottom schools and see how high you get. And by the way, you'll never get to $36,000 if you took your entire forty percent and funded the poorer schools, but maybe you'd raise them half way. And whatever you did would actually be achieving more equity. Let's work on a new formula together. The current formula goes back - talking about history - Warren Anderson, Senate Leader. Stanley Fink, Assembly leader. And they came up with a formula of regional shares. New York City gets 38% whatever the number. Long Island gets 13% whatever the number. And that is the governing formula. That's how it works. And I understand the intelligence of regional distribution. I also understand, God Bless Warren Anderson and God Bless Stanley Fink, that was a different day. That was a different political reality. And we can do better than that. My father used to argue this every budget. 24 years old, and I heard this debate over and over and over. Now we should be able to do something about it. Most progressive approach, the goal is what a wealthy school gets, a poor school should get. It doesn't matter what zip code you're born in, it doesn't matter what county you're born in, you have the same access to education.
Higher education will increase by 257 million, 3.4% to a new record level. Excelsior Scholarships, current level is $125,000 in income. We want to raise it to $150,000 in income which brings another 230,000 New Yorkers to college free tuition. Invest in SUNY and CUNY campuses, $1.5 billion dollars for capital.
And tenth point, leading on economic and social justice. We have the highest number of private sector jobs in history in this state. 8.3 million jobs and that is a beautiful thing. 36 consecutive quarters of job growth, that is a beautiful thing. Unemployment at historic lows all across the state. Upstate New York was 8 - 3.7. New York City 9 to 3.7. Long Island 7.4 down to 3.3. That's a beautiful thing, let's keep it going. Middle class tax cuts, let's drop the middle class tax cut. It'll help 4.7 million New Yorkers. And also let's cut small business taxes, they're half of the businesses in this state and they are the growth.
Keep going with our targeted economic investments. $300 million through NYPA to reimage the Erie Canal. 147 million for the Lake Placid Olympic Facility - they have a number of new attractions that are coming there that are very exciting. $70 million for new workforce training and education program in Syracuse. $10 million for Buffalo Canalside's North Aud Block. $12 million for new high tech companies in Rochester, 700 jobs. $9 million for the Skydome, which is a very exciting project where they're bringing basically drones, unmanned aerial systems, and their tech companies to be tested in Oneida County.
Phase 2 of the Capitol Courtyard Restoration Program. The courtyard in the Capitol needs to be restored. The roof, the floor, is leaking into the basement, it's a problem. The Capitol, by the way, was supposed to have a dome on the top of it and that was supposed to be an open courtyard with the dome attached. Teddy Roosevelt got bored waiting for the dome so he just canceled the dome and opened the building. But, we need to do renovation and we can do a better job with that courtyard. We have restored the entire Capitol for some of the newer members. Those skylights are all new. The Capitol is totally redone from one end to the other and we're all proud of it. Let's get the courtyard done, also.
Pier 76 in New York City. Pier 76 juts out into the Hudson River, that's it on the bottom of the screen. It is a magnificent parcel of real estate. It is currently used as a parking lot by the NYPD. Why, you ask? No good reason, I respond. When Hudson River Park was set up in 1998, the city said they would "use their best efforts" to remove the NYPD tow pound. That was over 20 years ago, it is still a parking lot. It's the most expensive parking lot on the globe, that's what that is. It is right across the street from Javits, it's right where the highline ends, it's magnificent, it's part of the Hudson River Park. I'm sure they had a great 20 years as a parking lot, it's time for the NYPD to move on, vacate the pier, give it to Hudson River Park, and let them come up with a reuse plan for that pier, make it part of the park. It'll be great. And Pier 40. And we have to do that in this budget.
$29 million to strengthen the agriculture industry. Our New York State Grown is Certified Program is working very well, we want to increase it and bring new economic justice initiatives. Nation leading paid sick leave, which will be the next chapter on Paid Family Leave. We're very excited about that. Buy America Act, strengthening the protections against union busting. We've made reforms to protect unions against Janus, this would take it to the next level. And ensuring justice for victims of wage theft. Let's work together and come up with a fair and safe and legal bill that would protect victims of wage theft.
Prevailing wage law. There is a fair law that can be struck and I'm looking forward to doing it together with the legislature. Same with coming up with a program for workers of the gig economy. There is no doubt it is abuse of employees. Let's come up with a program working together that ends the abuse, but grows the economy and does both together. I know that we can do that together.
And to continue to fund our ongoing economic initiatives. Long Island, the research triangle that we have been investing in, is doing great. They just won a big federal grant. Dealing with an Electron-Ion Collider, whatever that is. But, we're going to keep building out the research triangle. Vital Brooklyn, $1.4 billion, its housing, its healthcare, its greenspace, its comprehensive redevelopment. South Bronx transformation, largest investment ever made, $1.8 billion. Clean up Hunts Point, end the asthma of children who've been living in the South Bronx, they've been talking about that for 40 years, we stepped up and we did it. $100 million in our Downtown Revitalization Initiatives, that's working great all across the State. $750 million in the Regional Economic Development Councils, when anyone asks how they're doing, when we started the unemployment rate in Upstate New York was 8 percent. This is our entire economic development effort in Upstate New York, unemployment went from 8 percent to 3.7 percent, I'd say they're doing pretty well.
And we will continue our social progress. Let's advance women's rights. Let's resolve the ERA today and let's not waste another year. Forget the politics, there is no budget that is complete unless we resolve the ERA issue. We can do it and we're going to do it by the budget once and for all. Close the rape intoxication loophole, which is to me fulfilling what we've said in terms of justice for women on this very difficult topic. Legalize gestational surrogacy, we have major issues that are growing with infertile couples who are struggling to have children and start a family. LGBTQ couples, we passed marriage equality, they want to start a family. The time has come to legalize gestational surrogacy, we should do it this year.
Overall, the budget numbers, very simple. All state operating funds went up 1.9 percent, school aid 3 percent, Medicaid 3 percent, executive agencies 1 percent - that's why all the Commissioners will have a scowl on their face, but they grin and bear it. All of this done, there's no gimmicks, there's no new casino revenue, there's no major fee increase, there are no new revenues. This is not the time to come up with creative, although irresponsible, revenue sources to solve a problem which doesn't really exist. The funding as you see primarily goes to education and healthcare. Everyone has stayed at about 2 percent, we owe the Comptroller .02 percent, which we will make good next year, we thank him for that.
And I want people to just understand the frame for the budget. We had a $6.1 billion deficit, yes. $2 billion of the deficit is Medicaid and that must be structurally modified and that's what the MRT is going to work on. And most of the issues in Medicaid come from the long-term managed care side. Daily News had a piece that was right, Medicaid-funded personal care industry added 36,000 new jobs in the first nine months of 2019, making up 75 percent of city-wide private sector job growth. Those are all jobs being paid for by Medicaid - 36,000 jobs. That's part of what's happening on the long-term managed care side, that is not sustainable. And all our stakeholders want a system that is sustainable - 1199 George Gresham, the hospitals, Ken Raske, Haney, the not-for-profits - nobody wants to run a Medicaid program for one year or two years. We are so proud that we're at 18 million people being covered, we want to show that it's done fiscally and it's sustainable and it's going to exist in the future and that's why we need to make these reforms. But that's $2 billion for Medicaid. That leaves $4.1 billion of a deficit. Deficit only means the shortfall from the projected growth to the actual growth in programs, it's the projected growth differential. The answer is to reduce the level of growth, not cuts, not cuts. You say deficit, and they say, "Oh, you're going to have to cut." No, you're going to have to reduce the rate of growth. And that's exactly what we have done in this budget.
Little perspective, every budget, every year, every interest says the same thing. Doesn't matter what you do, by the way, what numbers you come up with, they say the same thing, "I want more." It's a great position. I'm going to take that job one day. Whatever you do, I say, "I want more." This budget, every area gets more - 3 percent more on education; the State totally funds Medicaid, even the local share; and more for every program. Climate change is up, infrastructure is up, every major program area is up. And it's balanced, between education and Medicaid, between Upstate and Downstate, because we want to do a budget that is fair for all New Yorkers and this is.
And, most excitingly, it continues with nation-leading proposals. Look at what we're doing. The most aggressive climate change plan in the United States of America. The nation's largest building program, building bigger than anything we've done before. The greatest funding for homeless and supportive housing in the history of the State of New York, targeting the population that needs the most help. The highest level of funding to combat child poverty. The nation-leading effort to fight this scourge of racism and religious violence that we see going on. New initiatives to protect democracy and ensure transparency. Making Medicaid sustainable for future generations. New protections for public health, taking on this vaping issue and resolving it quickly and saving lives. More funding than ever before in history. A new level of economic and social justice reforms, because New York is the progressive capital of the nation, and when we say that, we say we will lead the way once again. And we don't lead with talk or ideas or "here's a proposal," or "I have a theory," or "I have a plan," or "we want to debate," or "I think we should have a conference." No, we act, we do it. And that's what progressive government meant from day one. It's not what you say, it's what you do. I don't want to hear your ideas, I want to see change in people's lives. That's what progressive government does. It makes a change in a real person's life that is tangible, that they don't have to read about in a brochure, because it affected their life, it puts their child through college, it helps them with their housing costs, it gives them healthcare. That's what government does, and that's what this government does. We make progress happen. And people know it. And we do it together and we're going to do it together this year. Thank you and God bless you.