Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature agreed to a $175 billion state budget early Sunday morning.
In a press release, the Governor’s Office called the 2020 FY Budget a “historic agreement,” that includes a Permanent 2% Property Tax Cap, “landmark” criminal justice reforms and an MTA Reform Plan that includes district tolling.
The budget holds spending growth at 2% for the ninth consecutive year, while increasing education aid by around $1 billion and features a new Education Equity Formula intended to boost funding to poorer districts.
The budget agreement includes spending in the following categories:
- Total State Operating Funds: $102.1 billion; 2 percent growth
- All Funds spending $175.5 billion for FY 2020
- School Aid: $27.9 billion; 3.8 percent growth
- State Medicaid/Health Spending: $19.6 billion; 3.6 percent growth
Governor Cuomo thanked Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for their work on the budget.
Lawmakers are expected to vote on the agreement Sunday.
In addition to fiscal issues, the budget includes several policy measures including a single-use plastic bag ban, which will go into effect March 2020, several criminal justice reform measures, including the elimination of cash bail for most misdemeanor and non-violent crimes, a one-time “Mansion Tax,” that is collected when a multi-million dollar property is sold, and a Manhattan congestion toll that will be collected when vehicles drive below 60th Street in New York City.
Criminal Justice Highlights:
- Reforming Bail and Pretrial Detention: cash bail will be eliminated for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, a new requirement that police officers must issue desk appearance tickets to most people charged with misdemeanors and Class E felonies, rather than making a custodial arrest.
- Changes to the Discovery Process: requires both prosecutors and defendants to share all information well in advance of trial. Defendants will also be allowed the opportunity to review whatever evidence is in the prosecution’s possession prior to pleading guilty to a crime, provide prosecutors the ability to petition a court for a protective order, shielding identifying information when necessary
- Adjustments to Speedy Trial: require courts to take a proactive role in advising litigants on how time will be charged. When appropriate, courts will also inquire into the government’s readiness to proceed to trial and require that the government file all appropriate paperwork before a statement of readiness is accepted
- Central Business District Tolling: Central Business District tolling program, includes the installation of electronic tolling devices on streets south of 60th Street in Manhattan, tolls will be variable and passenger vehicles will only be charged once per day. The implementation day will not be before December 31, 2020. This tolling program is expected to leverage $15 billion, dedicated to MTA capital needs.
- Internet Sales Tax: provides a framework for the collection of required sales taxes by internet marketplace providers, which is expected to annually generate $160 million in new revenue for local governments and $320 million for the MTA
- Additional sales tax changes will generate an additional, $48 million approx. in new resources for county governments outside of New York City.
Public Campaign Finance Rules:
- Establish a public financing commission that will have the binding power to implement public campaign financing for legislative and statewide offices, authorizing up to $100 million annually in public funds.
- The commission will determine specific aspects of the public financing system, including eligibility thresholds, public financing limits, and contribution limits for participating candidates. The commission’s findings will be due in a report by December 1, 2019 and will be binding unless modified by law within 20 days.
The agreement will also codify the Affordable Care Act, the New York Health Exchange and mandate coverage for in-vitro fertilization and egg-freezing as well as other women’s issues:
- Establish rape shield protections for victims of sex trafficking
- Reform domestic violence shelter requirements
- Invest $26 million in child care to maintain the market rate for districts outside of New York City
Additional budget changes extend Janus protections for public sector unions to all local governments in New York and guarantee the right to organize and collectively bargain.
Building upon voting reform passed within the first 10 weeks of the legislative session, additional legislation in the budget mandates three hours of paid time off for all New Yorkers to vote on Election Day, online voter registration, funding for e-poll books, and the expansion of Upstate voting hours to begin at 6 a.m. It also includes $10 million for early voting.
The FY 2020 Budget also sets aside $500 million to improve clean water infrastructure.
Marking the third year for income expansion, families who make $125,000 annually will now be eligible to apply for New York’s free-tuition or Excelsior Program.
In response to the deadly limo crash in Schoharie County, the budget will also create stricter limo regulations.
More information on the 2020 New York State Budget can be found here.