State legislators finished approving the 2019 state spending plan in the early hours of Saturday morning, achieving an on-time budget ahead of the new fiscal year which began on Sunday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said “the budget hit the priorities that we had set out” despite a $4.4 billion deficit.
“When we started we said, number one, we have to defend against that federal tax increase, number two invest in education, three fight sexual harassment, four protect our democratic process, safeguard the environment, and grow the economy,” Cuomo said.
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan called the new budget “a solid and fiscally responsible budget that protects taxpayers, creates jobs, and supports many other quality-of-life issues important to middle-class families across the state.”
Here are some of the highlights:
- State operating funds is $100.1 billion
- This portion holds state taxpayer-funded spending growth to 2 percent or less for the eighth consecutive year.
- All Funds spending $168.3 billion.
- Increases education aid by approximately $1 billion (3.9 percent), to a total of $26.7 billion for the 2018-19 school year.
- Requires school districts to provide information on how they allocate funding to schools in order to increase transparency.
- Allocates $25 million to expand prekindergarten and after school programs.
- Provides $7.6 billion in state support for higher education in New York, an increase of $1.5 billion or 25 percent since FY 2012.
- Provides $118 million to continue the Excelsior Scholarship.
- Establishes a first-in-the-nation payment by manufacturers and distributors of opioids to contribute to prevention and treatment programs.
- Creates the New York State Secure Choice Savings Program – a voluntary-enrollment payroll deduction IRA for employees of private employers that do not already offer retirement savings plans.
- Increases funding for community schools by $50 million, to a total of $200 million.
- Provides an additional $15 million investment in prekindergarten to expand half-day and full-day prekindergarten instruction for 3,000 three- and four-year-old children.
- Extends the State’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Program, which was due to expire this year, for one year.
- Increases state support for child care subsidies by $7 million above FY 2018 Budget funding levels and programs new federal funds to make an additional $10 million dollars available for child care subsidies.
- Continues Environmental Protection Fund funding at $300 million.
- Allocates $62.5 million in new capital funding for Olympic Regional Development Authority, including $50 million for upgrades and modernizing the state’s Olympic facilities and ski resorts, $10 million for critical maintenance and energy efficiency upgrades.