ALBANY — The newly-approved 2022 New York State budget contains a host of provisions that will impact state residents. Here are some of the highlights of the plan, announced late Tuesday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo:
Affordable Internet for Low-Income Families: The budget includes legislation requiring internet service providers to offer an affordable $15 per month high-speed internet plan to qualifying low-income households.
Police Reform Plans: The budget authorizes the withholding of up to 50% of state and federal funds from jurisdictions that fail to produce a police reform plan and comply with the governor’s Executive Order 203, the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative. Also includes the establishment of a certification process for police officers. All police departments will be required to certify their compliance with minimum hiring and background investigation standards.
Expand Child Care Availability and Affordability: The budget directs $2.3 billion in federal child care resources to expand the availability, quality and affordability of child care.
$29 billion in green economy investments: The budget seeks to develop a public/private Green Energy program to spur more than $29 billion in public and private investment across the state and create 12,400 megawatts of green energy — enough to power 6 million homes. The investments include an offshore wind program, constructing a green energy transmission superhighway, a public-private partnership to build nearly 100 renewable energy projects and supporting transit agencies’ transition to electric buses.
Provide $2.4 Billion to Protect Renters: The budget creates a $2.4 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to support households in rental arrears that have experienced financial hardship, are at risk of homelessness or housing instability and that earn less than 80% of area median income.
Nursing homes: The budget includes nursing home reform legislation to help ensure facilities are prioritizing patient care over profits, including minimum thresholds for nursing home spending of 70% of revenues on direct resident care and 40% of revenues on resident-facing staffing and capping profits at 5%. Excess revenues recouped by the State will be deposited into the existing nursing home quality pool for further investments for nursing homes to meet high quality standards.
$1 billion small business/arts relief: The budget includes $1 billion small business, arts, entertainment and restaurant relief package to help businesses and other organizations recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
Real Property Tax Relief Credit: The budget provides a personal income tax credit for New York resident homeowners with incomes up to $250,000 if their total property tax exceeds a fixed percentage of their income. The calculation of this credit is capped at $350 per STAR-eligible household, while also utilizing a $250 credit minimum. It is expected that claims will average about $340. Qualified homeowners will be able to claim this new Property Tax Relief credit for taxable years 2021, 2022, and 2023.
Federal support: The budget deploys the first $5.5 billion of the $12.6 billion provided for in the federal American Rescue Plan Act 2021. The budget includes appropriation authority for local governments to receive federal support to support essential workers and government employees, assist the vaccination efforts, boost local economies and support the network of local government services.
Personal income tax surcharge: The budget implements a surcharge on high earners through Tax Year 2027 that sets a top rate of 10.9% for all filers earning more than $25 million. The surcharge raises $2.8 billion in FY 2022, rising to $3.3 billion in FY 2023.
Mobile sports wagering: The budget authorizes mobile sports wagering. Under the legislation, the state will issue a Request for Applications and must select at least two platform providers who must work with a total of at least four operators or skins. Once fully phased in, the program will provide $5 million annually to youth sports, and $6 million to combat problem gambling, doubling the resources currently available. The remainder of this new revenue will be dedicated to education.
$29.5 billion in school aid: The budget provides $29.5 billion in state funding to school districts for the 2021-22 school year through School Aid. This represents an increase of $3.0 billion (11.3%) compared to the 2020-21 school year, including a $1.4 billion (7.6%) Foundation Aid increase. Approximately 75% of this increase is targeted to high-need school districts
$13 billion in federal aid to public schools: The budget programs $13 billion of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief and Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds to public schools. The budget allocates $629 million of these funds to school districts as targeted grants to support efforts to address learning loss through activities such as summer enrichment and comprehensive after-school programs. In addition, the budget uses $105 million of federal funds to expand access to full-day prekindergarten programs for four-year-old children in school districts statewide in the 2021-22 school year.
Authorize aid for pandemic-related school transportation costs: Under the budget, school districts will be reimbursed for the cost of delivering school meals and instructional materials during pandemic-related school closures in spring 2020 and for the costs of keeping transportation employees and contractors on standby during the initial short-term closures.
Expanding COVID-19 diagnostic capacity: The budget continues to support the expansion of the state’s testing program, performing over 200,000 COVID-19 tests daily, on average, to identify disease and mitigate community spread. The state will also continue to operate a network of 22 regionally located drive-through and walk-in testing locations available to all New Yorkers completely free of charge, and will establish a network of rapid testing locations by partnering with testing companies to allow business and entertainment centers to safely re-open.
Vaccine Distribution: The budget will support the implementation of a statewide COVID-19 vaccination program that will be available to all New Yorkers within the year, ensuring a fair and equitable distribution to vulnerable and underserved communities within all regions of the state. The vaccine program will cover nearly 20 million residents at no cost.
Enhancing social service crisis intervention: The budget includes $10 million to support of social service crisis intervention programs and providers disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Establish Urgent Care Centers for mental health and addiction services: The budget authorizes the launch of Urgent Care Centers for mental health and addiction services. These centers will be open 24/7/365 and accept all admissions without referral, including direct drop-offs by law enforcement and other first responders.
Human Services Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA): The budget includes $46.2 million to provide a 1% COLA to not-for-profits licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by OPWDD, OMH, and OASAS. These additional resources will support the community-based programs that provide essential services and supports to people with developmental disabilities, mental illness and/or substance use disorder. The Budget also provides $5.6 million for a 1% COLA increase for other human services agencies, including SOFA, OTDA, and OCFS.
Downtown Revitalization: The budget provides $100 million for another round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
Recovery Grants for Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Organizations: The budget includes a new $40 million fund that will provide general operating support to assist nonprofit arts and cultural organizations as they recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget also includes an additional $20 million for new capital grants to help arts and cultural organizations comply with COVID-19 health regulations, including outdoor performance space projects, flexible seating, HVAC and filtration upgrades
Record DOT capital plan: The budget provides $6.2 billion for the second year of a record $12.3 billion, 2-Year DOT Capital Plan to facilitate the improvement of highways, bridges, rail, aviation infrastructure, non-MTA transit and DOT facilities.
$1 billion for local highways and bridges: Funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and the Marchiselli program increases by $100 million to $577.8 million and funding for Extreme Winter Recovery is $100 million. The budget also provides $100 million of new funding to localities responsible for State Touring Routes, increases highway aid through the PAVE NY program by $50 million to $150 million, and maintains funding of local bridge projects through the BRIDGE NY program at $100 million.
Supporting parks and DEC capital projects: The budget allocates $110 million in New York Works capital funding for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation. This funding will aid the ongoing transformation of the State’s flagship parks, and support critical infrastructure projects. The Budget also includes $75 million for the Department of Environmental Conservation to address a variety of capital needs to improve access to state lands, rehabilitate campgrounds.
Clean Water Infrastructure Investment: The budget adds a $500 million appropriation to support clean water.
Environmental Protection Fund: The budget continues EPF funding at $300 million. Appropriations include $40 million for solid waste programs, $90 million for parks and recreation, $151 million for open space programs and $19 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program.
Elections infrastructure and voting reforms: The budget includes $25 million in capital funding to modernize and secure state and local voting infrastructure. The budget also provides $2 million in local funding and $1 million in State Board of Elections funding to support the implementation and oversight of voting reforms, including early voting.
Food insecurities: The budget adds $50 million to Nourish New York for a total $85 million investment to extend the program through 2021. This program helps people who are food insecure access the nourishment that they need, leveraging the vast agricultural industry of New York State to connect food banks and providers to purchase locally grown and produced food.
Over $7.7 Billion for Higher Education: The budget provides over $7.7 billion for higher education in New York, an increase of $283 million, or 3.8% from 2021 spending.
Higher Education Opportunity Programs: The budget adds $30 million for a 20% increase in funding for higher education opportunity programs and $4 million in additional aid for Education Opportunity Centers.
Increase maximum TAP award by $500: The budget includes $88 million to raise the maximum TAP award from $5,165 to $5,665, increasing TAP awards for approximately 185,000 New York residents attending public and private colleges in New York.
Increase aid to community colleges: The budget increases community college formula aid from $2,947 per student to $3,197 per student and includes a funding floor at 98% of prior year formula aid. These changes will provide an additional $25 million in state support to over 200,000 community college students in the 2021-22 academic year.