Sen. James Sanders Jr. says there’s more good than bad in NYS’s 2022-23 budget

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The legislature passed the new state budget, which is an increase of $8 billion from the previous fiscal year and $4 billion more than Governor Hochul originally proposed for a total of 220 .5 billion dollars. Higher-than-expected tax revenues and new federal funding from the various COVID relief programs enabled the budget increase. The final budget is 3% higher than last year’s budget.

Passed budget includes suspension of state gas tax, increased investment in child care, $800 million more than governor’s $350 million proposal for financially challenged hospitals and benefiting from a safety net, a take-out alcohol option for bars and restaurants that was used at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many other provisions.

Senator Sanders said, “This budget is better than most and has many exciting improvements for residents and businesses across the 10and Senate District and for all New Yorkers. However, I believe that $600 million in state funding for a new Buffalo Bills stadium, the most generous taxpayer grant for a football stadium in NFL history, is a misplaced priority when many other more laudable needs go unmet.

GOOD

EDUCATION

  • $1.5 billion increase over last year for Foundation Aid, the core funding program for K-12 public schools.
  • $100 million for mental health grants for school districts and BOCES over two years.
  • $125 million in pre-K, with more school districts eligible as a result. The funding will total $375 million over three years.
  • $20 million in capital funding for libraries.

HEALTH

  • Regarding hospitals in financial difficulty and benefiting from a safety net, the Senate fought to obtain a significant increase in aid to these institutions, providing $800 million more than the insufficient proposal of $350 million of the executive. $1.6 billion in capital grants for health transformation. This provision will help St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.
  • $1.2 billion for bonuses for frontline health workers and $7.4 billion for salary increases for home health aides. Healthcare workers in southeast Queens will receive a well-deserved bonus and pay raise.

LODGING

  • $800 million to replenish the pool of funds available for the Emergency Housing Assistance Program (ERAP), in addition to the $146 million in federal funds recently awarded. The budget will also provide $125 million for the Landlord Rent Assistance Program (LRAP), as well as $250 million for COVID-era utility arrears. Many of my constituents urgently need this rental and landlord assistance.
  • $4.5 billion in spending under a five-year housing capital plan totaling $25 billion, which also includes tax incentives and private investment.
  • re-allocating $100 million from last year for the Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act and adding a new allocation of $100 million.

PERSONAL SERVICES

  • $5 billion will be spent over three years on child care, starting with $343 million in stabilization grants that will be paid out immediately. Eligibility will be 300% of the federal poverty level, or a family of three earning $70,000 a year or less.

TAX RELIEF/BUSINESS/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • suspension of the gas tax from June 1 to the end of the year. about 16 cents per gallon of gasoline
  • property tax relief by increasing STAR benefits statewide. Many will receive hundreds of dollars in relief.
  • instead accelerates the middle-class tax cut that is scheduled to take effect from tax year 2025 to tax year 2023.
  • tax exemption for student loan forgiveness scholarships to ensure that all state programs are covered.
  • extends and improves the tax credit for hiring a veterinarian by three years. Increases the maximum credit for hiring a disabled veteran full-time or part-time.
  • increases the overall growth of the state’s low-income housing tax credit cap.
  • extends the film tax credit for three years and requires applicants to file diversity plans.
  • extends the New York Youth Jobs Program tax credit for five years.
  • extends the Empire State Apprenticeship tax credit for five years.
  • New York Child Care Business Tax Credit.
  • increases NYC earned income tax credit.
  • restaurant back-to-work credit.
  • additional working income tax credit and Empire State Child Credit payments.
  • expanded investment tax credit for farmers, as well as a $1,200 farm labor retention credit. It will also create an overtime credit to cover farmers’ expenses due to lowering the overtime threshold below 60 hours.

HIGHER EDUCATION

  • fully reimbursing colleges for the TAP Gap, resulting in payments of $48.8 million to SUNY and $59.6 million to CUNY.

PUBLIC PROTECTION

  • An additional $110 million to public protection agencies to support the following programs; gun violence prevention, legal services, pre-trial services, alternatives to incarceration and discovery reform.
  • expands benefits for victims of hate crimes and other acts of violence by raising the monetary cap to $2,500
  • Investing $10 million in community programs to combat bias crimes and investing an additional $10 million for Asian American Pacific Islander crisis response.

TRANSPORTATION

  • $6.7 billion in transportation capital funding for the first year of a $32.8 billion five-year capital plan.
  • The MTA will receive a $757 million raise and be held harmless for any potential revenue loss due to the gas tax suspension.

ENVIRONMENT

  • authorization of the law on environmental obligations. Total of $4.2 billion for water and sewer systems against the effects of climate change. Considering the flooding issues in southeastern Queens, this is very good news.

GENERAL GOVERNMENT

  • allows on-premises outlets to sell wine or liquor for take-out or delivery by prohibiting the sale of full bottles and limiting authorization to three years.
  • requires election commissions to provide prepaid postage for mail-in ballots and ballot applications based on a bill introduced by Sen. James Sanders Jr.

CANNABIS/SOCIAL EQUITY

  • Investing $50 million in a Cannabis Social Equity Fund, which, complemented by $150 million in private investments, will fund the capital costs of cannabis dispensaries operated by social equity licensees. The Senate successfully negotiated stronger provisions establishing the rights of social equity grantees, oversight, transparency, and state control over the private fund.
  • allows cannabis businesses to deduct their business expenses.

OTHER

  • not in the NYC budget: the mayor’s control over the school system and a soon-to-expire tax break for real estate developers.

THE BAD

  • $600 million included for a new Buffalo Bills stadium.
  • The budget does not include a ban on gas and oil hookups in new buildings starting in 2027, a move that would have made New York the first state to stop adding fossil fuel stoves and heaters and to require new buildings to use only electricity.

NEEDS WORK

  • tax credit capped at $250 million for small business Covid-related expenses. The budget did not include an amendment to provide funds to small businesses that have gone out of business due to COVID so they can restart their business.
  • the revised bail law requires judges to consider new factors. These factors include whether a defendant is charged with seriously injuring another person or has a history of using firearms while on bail. Need to strike the right balance to protect the rights of the accused while protecting public safety.
  • This passed budget does not include the creation of a state-owned public bank and a stock transfer tax, which are two policies that would address income inequality and help struggling communities.

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