Weekly Wire for November 21
Weekly Wire: State Deficit Grows, Affordable Care Act, Election Results, more
State Releases Mid-Year Financial Plan Update - Deficit Grows
Last week the Governor released the mid-year State Financial Plan update and the short story is that personal income tax (PIT) receipts continue to come in lower than budgeted. After the first quarter budget update the State lowered income tax receipts by $600 million for the full year (and future years). The mid-year update continues to show soft income tax receipts and the State is now dropping its full year forecast for revenues by another $175 million for a total of $775 million. PIT receipts are now $1.2 billion below what was projected in the state financial plan when the budget was enacted. The chart below highlights the out year revenue impacts resulting from the lower PIT results so far in state fiscal year 2017.
The lower PIT collections are offset by higher receipts from other taxes and lower spending in a few areas including capital outlays, preschool special education and higher education. The mid-year Financial Plan update assumes that the state will adhere to its 2 percent spending cap, and even after accounting for this, future budget gaps are expected to grow to:
Senator John Flanagan was re-elected the leader of the state Senate Republicans on Monday, and the body awaits final tabulation for two senate races in Nassau County. Currently Senator Marcellino and Senator Venditto are seeking re-election and the races have been too close to call as of this writing.
Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins has been unanimously re-elected the leader of the mainline Democratic conference on Tuesday, November 15 and re-appointed Sen. Michael Gianaris as her Deputy Minority Leader.
The Assembly will maintain a Democratic Majority. The party was also successful at increasing their majority. At the end of the night, 107 Democrats had won seats in the 150-member body.
The 107-member conference gives Assembly Democrats absolute control of the occasional proceedings that require a majority of the full 213-member Legislature, such as electing regents and filling vacancies in statewide offices, at least as long as they hold on to that number.
Following the election on Thursday, November 10th Governor Andrew Cuomo in a statement called for the state Legislature to return to Albany in order to resolve a disagreement over funding a memorandum of understanding for affordable housing.
Legislative Pay Commission
On Tuesday, November 15, the members of the state Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation met in New York City to determine whether to increase the pay for 213 members of the state Legislature, hiking their salaries from the base $79,500 to as much as $116,900 a year. No legislative salary increase was approved.
The legislative leaders in the Senate and Assembly, meanwhile, were both supportive of a pay increase for their members.
However, both Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan insisted the pay hike should not be coupled or linked to another issue, such as ethics reform.
The commission is not set to reconvene until 2019, unless extenuating circumstances take hold, such as legislative action.
Round 5 of the Statewide Interoperable Communication Grant Program
On Friday, October 28, Governor Cuomo announced the availability of $45 million for a Formula Based Grant Program. This funding will be provided through the State Interoperable Communications Grant. Eligible municipalities can use this funding for a variety of functions, including expanding radio coverage by installing new equipment at towers and antenna sites, implementing Next Generation 911 technologies and standards, setting up communication channels among public safety radio systems, consolidating emergency services dispatch centers, supporting the operations of public safety dispatch centers, and deploying new technology that help counties link their systems together. Additionally, this funding will support training and exercises to promote efficient inter-regional communications, cooperation, and overall first responder readiness.
Each county and New York City can submit applications to fund projects involving infrastructure, equipment and technology upgrades. The grant is administered by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Questions can be submitted till November 18, 2016 and final submissions are due by December 8, 2016.
Information can be found at: http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oiec/grants/2016/2016-SICG-Formula-Grant.cfm
Home Stability Report Addresses Homeless Crisis
Home Stability Support (HSS) is an innovative new proposal to address New York's growing homeless crisis. With more than 150,000 homeless children and another 80,000 families on the brink of homelessness statewide, we need a socially and fiscally-responsible approach that reduces public assistance costs while keeping more families in their homes. To do this, HSS would create a new statewide rental supplement for public assistance-eligible families and individuals facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous living conditions. This supplement would bridge the gap between the current shelter allowance and the 85% of fair market value as determined by HUD. Under the state's current programs, we pay three times the proposed cost of HSS, all the while seeing homelessness rates continue to grow. Ever since the 2011-2012 State Budget lowered Albany's share of public assistance costs, this burden has fallen largely on counties, increasing property taxes on homeowners and small businesses in the process. HSS would help to change this, and that's why we invite you to join our growing coalition and urge the state to include HSS in the next budget.
Repeal of Affordable Care Act on the Agenda for the Next Congress
A campaign promise of the President-elect and the new congress is to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In early 2016, the current congress sent an Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bill to the President but it was vetoed. In that legislation, major provisions of the ACA were repealed, some immediately and others after a two year delay. Enhanced Medicaid financing was one of the items subject to repeal on a time delay.
Counties currently benefit financially from the enhanced federal Medicaid matching rates through lower Medicaid weekly share payments to the State.
It is unclear what will happen in the next congress as the "repeal and replacement" of the ACA remains undefined. An outright repeal would lower the federal Medicaid fiscal benefit to counties and New York City, which amounted to
$476 million in 2016 - this is expected to grow to $620 million in lost federal revenue by 2019. The cumulative loss of federal funds for counties over five years from a full repeal of the existing ACA Medicaid provisions would be nearly $2.9 billion and likely exceed $6 billion over 10 years.
New York State also receives significant fiscal benefits from the ACA Medicaid provisions. The state fiscal impact is about 2.5 times greater than the combined county and New York City benefit according to our estimates.
NACo Report Focuses on Collaborating to End the Opioid Crisis
A new joint report from National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities (NLC) examines how cities and counties can strengthen collaboration with each other and state, federal, private-sector and non-profit partners to tackle the opioid crisis. The report, A Prescription for Action: Local Leadership in Ending the Opioid Crisis, produced recommendations aimed at city and county officials.
They include action steps on how to:
1. Leading in a crisis
2. Focusing on education and prevention
3. Expanding treatment
4. Reassessing public safety and law enforcement approaches
Several of the recommendations are accompanied by existing local practices from cities and counties. The report also includes recommendations for state and federal officials, who are pivotal partners in local efforts to combat opioid misuse, diversion, overdose and death.
To view the website accompanying the report, visit www.opioidaction.org.
|Training & Funding Opportunities
Land Use and Sustainable Development Conference
The Land Use Law Center is pleased to announce our 15th annual Alfred B. DelBello Land Use and Sustainable Development Conference.
Scheduled for Thursday, December 8, 2016, this year's conference theme is the Economics and Equity of Sustainable Development.
We invite you to spend the day at this educational event, with more than 250 attorneys, business professionals, and local leaders in attendance to learn about national, regional, and local innovations, challenges, and best practices. Learn more at http://law.pace.edu/annual-conference-2016
Opportunity for Drinking Water Fluoridation Funding
The New York State Department of Health will release a third round of funding opportunities to support costs related to the construction, installation, repair, replacement, or upgrade of fluoride equipment in drinking water facilities. The
funding will be available to counties, cities, towns, or villages that own their public water system.
You can sign-up to be notified of when these grants are available and to receive future notices! For more information and to sign up, please use this link.