Photo Courtesy of Mike Groll/Office of the Governor
“The story of COVID has many chapters—we launched the battle last year and now we must not only finish it, but begin an aggressive post-COVID reconstruction,” Gov. Cuomo said.
By Forum Staff
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today outlined the FY 2022 Executive Budget to reimagine, rebuild and renew New York in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor presented two budget options, depending on the level of funding the federal government provides to New York following the devastating economic impact of Washington’s failed COVID-19 response. The first option would support New York State’s ongoing war against the pandemic and aggressive post-COVID reconstruction plan. The second option – absent $15 billion in federal funding – would cause pain for New Yorkers by forcing the state to raise revenue, cut expenses and borrow.
The governor also reiterated his call on federal partners to repeal the harmful State and Local Tax policy – or SALT cap- that cost New Yorkers over $30 billion over the last three years and amounted to the first double taxation in history. The average cost of SALT cap to New York households is $2,600 per home.
If the federal government provides New York with the $15 billion fair share, the State will be able to:
Advance a $306 billion infrastructure plan – the largest in the nation – and $29 billion in green economy investments.
Enact a $1.3 billion rent relief program, fund $20 billion program to create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes, and provide $128 million for homeless housing and assistance.
Institute a $15 cap on broadband for low-income families, provide $150 million to address food insecurity, and continue the $10 million investment in the Liberty Defense Fund to provide free legal consultations and screenings to help undocumented New Yorkers.
Create a $130 million Pandemic Recovery and Restoration Program to support small businesses as well as restaurant, arts and entertainment industries that were hurt by COVID.
Establish a $40 million Infectious Disease Resiliency Commercialization Fund to fast-track innovations and address emerging health threats.
Create a public health corps that will assist in supporting COVID-19 vaccination operations, establishing a best-in-the-nation emergency response public health capacity.
“The story of COVID has many chapters – we launched the battle last year and now we must not only finish it, but begin an aggressive post-COVID reconstruction,” Cuomo said. “We are in a different time and a different world than just one year ago and we shouldn’t be surprised that this budget will look different. We have a plan in place, a strength that we have not had before and I believe our future is bright, but Washington must act fairly if we are to emerge on the other side of this crisis. Despite the federal irresponsibility, which allowed COVID to ambush our state, New Yorkers are ready to begin rebuilding, but for that to happen, we need SALT repealed and $15 billion in rightfully deserved federal aid – and we need it now. After years of federal hostility, I believe the stars are lined up for that to change – we just need to do it. We built the greatest state once before and I know that we will do it again.”
Fiscal Highlights of the FY 2022 Executive Budget, assuming $15 billion in federal aid:
- State Operating Funds spending is $103.4 billion
- All Funds spending $192.9 billion for FY 2022
- Provides $31.7 billion in School Aid
- Provides $7.5 billion in State support for higher education in New York
State Budget highlights include:
Enact the Pandemic Recovery and Restart Program: In order to help jumpstart New York’s economy, New York will establish three new tax credits and expand another totaling $130 million to help smaller businesses in the accommodation, arts and entertainment, restaurant and musical and theatrical production industries to recover from the pandemic and bring back jobs to New York.
Small Business Return-To-Work Tax Credit: This provides up to $50 million in tax credits to support small businesses in highly impacted sectors in the hiring of additional workers through 2021.
Restaurant Return-To-Work Tax Credit: This tax credit provides up to $50 million in tax credits to support restaurants hard hit by the pandemic through 2021.
Extend and Enhance the Musical and Theatrical Production Credit for Four Years: This tax credit provides up to $25 million in tax credits for the jump start of the industry and the support of tourism activity in the City. In order to support musical and theatrical productions that occur in the State but outside of New York City, the Budget extends this credit for four years through 2025 and doubles it to $8 million.
Educate and Train Workers for In-Demand Jobs: Workforce development must be flexible and respond nimbly to a rapidly changing environment and the COVID-related recession has magnified the need for flexibility.
Along with an unprecedented increase in unemployment, the pandemic has caused a massive shift in the type of jobs available and in who is looking for work. The Executive Budget includes several initiatives under which New York’s colleges and universities will help rebuild New York’s economy by educating and training workers for in-demand jobs:
Pathways Pledge: In partnership with Cuomo’s Reimagine New York Commission, New York is launching a Pathways Pledge among New York’s leading employers, both public and private, to create more inclusive workforces and provide more workforce development opportunities.
SUNY’s Free Online Training Center: Cuomo will expand SUNY’s free Online Training Center so New Yorkers can enroll in additional employment certification programs for quality jobs in high-demand growing industries like health care and advanced manufacturing. The Training Center will give more New Yorkers in every region of the state — from rural communities to urban centers — another opportunity to receive free job training certifications and then automatically be admitted to any one of SUNY’s 30 community colleges for future career advancements.
SUNY Stony Brook Offshore Wind Institute: New York’s accelerated renewable energy development program is creating thousands of well-paying jobs. In order to make sure New Yorkers benefit from these opportunities, the State is investing $20 million in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute based at SUNY Stony Brook and Farmingdale State College. In 2021, NYSERDA and SUNY will issue the first solicitations for advanced technology training partners, leveraging our SUNY and CUNY system to train the first phase of an estimated 2,500 workers beginning in summer of 2021.
Priority Access for Nurses in SUNY and CUNY Programs: In 2017, Cuomo signed into law “BSN in 10” to enhance the quality of patient care and elevate the nursing profession. It requires all nurses who complete an Associate Degree in New York State to complete a Baccalaureate of Science Degree in Nursing within 10 years to maintain licensure by the State. Beginning in Fall 2021, SUNY and CUNY will implement priority admission to nursing programs so the 40,000 nurses and nursing candidates in need of completing their baccalaureate credentials can receive a quality and affordable education within the state.
Advance the Economic Recovery through Workforce Development: The Executive Budget enacts a COVID-19 Recovery Workforce Initiative, which invests $50 million for training in high-growth industries, employer-driven training for low-income workers, and funding for small businesses to re-train and hire furloughed, laid-off, or new employees. The investments will provide durable skills that lead to high-quality jobs and support the growth of small businesses recovering from COVID-19 impacts.
Mobile Sports Betting: The Executive Budget will authorize a mobile sports wagering market. Legalization will provide more than $500 million in much needed revenue for the State to help rebuild from COVID-19 in the short-term and grow what could be the largest sports wagering market in the U.S. into a profitable industry long-term.
Legalization of Adult-Use Cannabis: The Executive Budget legalizes cannabis for adult use. Legalization will not only ensure public health and safety, but provide an opportunity for the State to generate more than $300 million in tax revenue. Beginning in FY 2023 revenues shall be first distributed to the Cannabis Social Equity Fund in the amount of $100 million over four years and $50 million annually thereafter. These monies will be used to support individuals and communities that have been the most harmed by decades of cannabis prohibition.
Support the Unemployed and Protect Workers: Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Department of Labor has paid out more than $61 billion in benefits to over 4 million New Yorkers – nearly 29 typical years’ worth of benefits. The Executive Budget and administrative actions advance a package of reforms to the unemployment system, including upgrades to modernize technology, allowing work search activities to be performed via video conference and online, and creating a centralized virtual portal for workers to file wage, discrimination, retaliation, and other workplace violation claims. In addition, DOL will implement immediate regulatory changes to allow for partial unemployment benefits, based on the number of hours actually worked over the course of a week to incentivize unemployed New Yorkers to assume a part-time job as they search for full-time work. Legislation submitted with the Budget will make permanent new benefit calculations for partial unemployment insurance made possible by technological improvements.