Hochul Touts Balanced $233 Billion Budget

Hochul Touts Balanced $233 Billion Budget

By Michael V. Cusenza

Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced the highlights of the balanced $233 billion Fiscal Year 2025 Budget.

According to Hochul, the Empire State’s new fiscal plan makes targeted investments in initiatives that will strengthen efforts to keep New Yorkers safe. Spending for New York State’s public safety agencies includes:

  • $347 million investment in programs to prevent and reduce gun violence.
  • $290 million to restore the effectiveness of the continuum of the criminal justice system.
  • $120 million in victim assistance funding.
  • $40.2 million to address retail theft and bring relief to small businesses.
  • $40.8 million to reduce assaults with a focus on domestic violence.
  • $35 million for the next round of the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program.
  • $5 million for the Commercial Security Tax Credit to help business owners offset the costs of retail theft.
  • New legislation to strengthen the Cannabis Law, helping the Office of Cannabis Management and local governments seal or padlock unlicensed businesses.

New York’s mental health system has been underfunded for decades, but the FY 2025 Executive Budget raises state investment up over 45 percent, from $3.3 billion in 2022 to $4.8 billion over the entire continuum of care. These investments include:

  • $55 million to create 200 new inpatient psychiatric beds.
  • $45 million for youth mental health including school-based services and peer-to-peer counseling.
  • $43 million to keep supportive housing units for people in need of mental health services.
  • $42.2 million to increase reimbursement for mental health treatment services.
  • $37 million to build new programs for unhoused individuals living with mental illness
  • $24 million to help people with mental health problems who are in the criminal justice system.

This year, Hochul is proposing the highest amount of school aid in New York State’s history:

  • $35.3 billion in total school aid, an increase of $825 million (2.4 percent) from FY24. This includes a $507 million increase in Foundation Aid.
  • $10 million to train 20,000 teachers and teaching assistants in best practices for evidence-based literacy instructional practices.
  • Four-year extension of mayoral control over City public schools.

The Executive Budget continues to implement Hochul’s vision to transform the State’s public higher education system to become the best and most equitable statewide system of higher education in the country:

  • $1.2 billion for SUNY and CUNY capital projects.
  • $207 million for SUNY and CUNY operations.
  • $2.75 million for the SUNY Empire State Service Corps, offering students community service work opportunities.
  • $2.5 million for the operating costs of SUNY’s participation in the Empire AI consortium.
  • $2 million for SUNY’s role in NY SWIMS.
  • $1.5 million for the State Weather Risk Communication Center at the University at Albany.

Health Care is the largest single expense in the budget. Hochul is proposing record funding to keep New Yorkers healthy, while also setting the Medicaid program on sustainable long-term fiscal footing.

  • $35.5 billion for Medicaid, along with targeted and transformational changes to ensure the long-term solvency and sustainability of the Medicaid program.
  • $315 million to provide health insurance subsidies for individuals up to 350 percent of the federal poverty line enrolled in Qualified Health Plans.
  • $67 million from the Opioid Settlement Fund for harm reduction, prevention and recovery services.
  • $45 million for disability services and independent living opportunities.
  • $25 million to catalyze innovation in research and treatment for ALS and other rare diseases.
  • $6.7 million to become an “employment first” state for the disability community.

The Executive Budget Includes $7.5 billion in funding over the next three years ($6 billion Federal, $1.5 billion state) through an amendment to New York’s Medicaid Section 1115 Demonstration program to support a comprehensive series of actions to advance health equity, reduce health disparities, and strengthen access to primary and behavioral health care across the state.

  • Makes available capital support and provides regulatory flexibilities to help transform safety net hospitals to achieve sustainability.
  • To advance health equity, reduce health disparities, and support the delivery of social care.
  • To incentivize continued delivery system transformation, improve population health and quality, improve the integration of services, and advance health-related social need (HRSN) services.
  • The waiver also includes $550 million in annual funding to support the transition of distressed providers to a new model of care utilizing global budgeting.

The FY 2025 Executive Budget includes investments to continue road, bridge and safety improvement across New York including:

  • $7.9 billion in State operating aid for the MTA, which Governor Hochul saved from the “fiscal cliff” in last year’s budget.
  • $7.6 billion for the third year of the five-year $32.9 billion Department of Transportation Capital Plan, the largest in New York’s history.
  • $577.8 million in funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and the Marchiselli Program.
  • $551 million for non-MTA transit in the downstate region.
  • $323 million for transit systems in upstate New York.
  • $100 million for the Pave our Potholes (POP) Program
  • $45 million for engineering on the Interborough Express
  • $16 million to move forward with the planning of the Second Avenue Subway extension to Broadway.
  • Introducing a comprehensive safety package to address the remaining legislative recommendations from the Stretch Limousine Passenger Safety Task Force.

The Executive Budget also includes:

  • $500 million for clean water over two years.
  • $435 million into resiliency projects to protect communities from severe floods, including $250 million for a voluntary buyout program.
  • $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund.
  • $100 million for the State Superfund Program.
  • $160 million invested in NY SWIMS to address the disinvestment in swimming facilities and lifeguards in underserved communities and an additional $446 million to invest in our State parks and pools.
  • $47 million to plant over 25 million trees across New York by 2033, as announced in the Governor’s 2024 State of the State Address.

After allocating $1.9 billion over the past fiscal year for the NYC migrant crisis, Hochul said she will increase State support of the City’s efforts to $2.4 billion. This includes $500 million drawn from the State’s reserves which are intended for use during one-time emergencies.

The Albany Times Union has reported that the State is prepared to pay up to $308 million to cover the City’s cost of sheltering migrants at Floyd Bennett Field for at least a year, State records show.

City Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Ozone Park) blasted Hochul for pouring more money on the issue.

“It was bad enough when we thought we were paying $21M. Now we learn that the state is prepared to spend $308M on the disaster at FBF,” Ariola tweeted. “This is OUTRAGEOUS. The shelter is becoming an unsustainable boondoggle. We need to shut the tents down IMMEDIATELY.”

The Executive Budget includes initiatives to address the housing crisis throughout New York. It would require that localities receive Pro-Housing Community certification to access up to $650 million in state discretionary funding.

  • $500 million in capital funds dedicated to developing up to 15,000 housing units on state-owned property.
  • Legislation to increase the housing supply in New York City including new tax incentives, authority for the city to lift outdated residential density restrictions where appropriate, incentives to encourage affordable housing in office conversions, and a path toward legalizing basement and cellar apartments
  • Legislation to increase protections for affordable housing providers by prohibiting insurance carriers from raising premiums on property owners based on tenant source of income, the existence of affordable housing units, or the receipt of government assistance
  • Legislation to protect homeowners by creating a clear definition of the crime of deed theft to help enhance enforcement and other measures to prevent against this heinous crime

“It’s honestly a mind-boggling budget proposal that cuts funding for vital programs in the midst of a housing crisis and ignores New Yorkers from all over the state who believe housing should be a priority for policymakers,” said Michael J. Borges, executive director of the Rural Housing Coalition of New York.



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