Hochul unveils $1B mental health plan as part of State of State proposals
Gov. Hochul announced plans Tuesday to add 1,000 beds for inpatient psychiatric treatment and create 3,500 housing units to address gaps in the state’s mental health care system.
Hochul unveils $1B mental health plan as part of State of State proposals
ALBANY — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced plans Tuesday to add 1,000 beds for inpatient psychiatric treatment and create 3,500 housing units to address gaps in the state’s mental health care system as part of her State of the State address.
“We have underinvested in mental health care for so long, and allowed the situation to become so dire, that it has become a public safety crisis, as well,” Hochul said in a prepared statement. “This proposal marks a monumental shift to make sure no one falls through the cracks and to finally and fully meet the mental health needs of all New Yorkers.”
The more than $1 billion, multiyear plan was announced as part of the Democratic governor’s annual State of the State address, which was delivered at the state Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
It also would increase insurance coverage for mental health services, expand outpatient services and create greater accountability in hospital admissions and discharges.
The plan would direct state-licensed hospitals to reopen 850 inpatient psychiatric beds that went offline during the pandemic. The state also would create 150 new adult beds in state-operated psychiatric hospitals, including 100 in New York City.
Hochul said the state would provide capital investments and operating funds for 3,500 new residential units. That includes 1,500 supportive housing units serving people with serious mental illness and 900 transitional step-down units.
In addition to mental health, Hochul’s address including a wide array of proposals, including plans to expand economic opportunities across New York — including an office to oversee microchip facilities and growth in that industry; climate and conservation efforts; expanded parental leave; increases in school aid; expanded health care; boosting the state’s minimum wage by tying it to the cost of living; and improving and streamlining access for constituents to state programs and services.
Hochul announced plans to expand economic opportunity and innovation across New York State through targeted investments, business support, and other programming aimed at high-growth industries. The proposal, which focuses on rapidly growing industry sectors like high technology, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing, includes measures to strengthen the State’s supply chain and expand well-established business attraction programs already proven to drive growth.
The plan would also create GO SEMI: the Governor’s Office of Semiconductor Expansion, Management, and Integration to oversee Micron’s $100 billion investment for a new megafab in Central New York and to lead a broader effort to develop New York’s semiconductor industry. GO SEMI, led by Empire State Development, would be supported by experts from numerous state agencies and will work in coordination with federal and local partners and oversee investments in the semiconductor industry, and will shape and implement a broader, national model for maximizing industry and community returns on such public/private partnerships.
Micron’s investment adds to New York’s semiconductor industry, with which GO SEMI will work closely. New York is currently home to 76 semiconductor companies that employ over 34,000 New Yorkers, including global industry leaders like GlobalFoundries, Wolfspeed, onsemi, and IBM.
Hochul announced, as part of the 2023 State of the State, a plan to help low-wage New Yorkers meet the rising cost of living by indexing New York’s minimum wage to inflation. Under the proposal, each year, the state’s minimum wage would increase at a rate determined by the Consumer Price Index for Wage Earners for the Northeast Region – the best regional measure of inflation.
The governor also unveiled initiatives to modernize and streamline the state’s workforce development infrastructure.
The 2023 State of the State also included proposals to transform the cost and delivery of health care. Hochul is proposing establishing the Commission on the Future of Health Care to improve access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes; providing health care capital funding and establishing technology capital program; reforming traveling nurse agency staffing practices and expanding licensure flexibility; increasing health care coverage and affordability; expanding access to primary care; and protecting New Yorkers from medical debt.
For the first time since its inception, Hochul is seeking to fully fund Foundation Aid—an unprecedented achievement—for all school districts across the state. Foundation Aid takes districts’ unique needs into account when allocating funding to address inequities and ensure schools in need receive the funding they deserve. She proposes investing an additional $2.7 billion, an increase of 13%, to a total aid amount of over $24 billion, focusing on students with the greatest needs.
Additionally, the administration would invest $125 million to expand high-quality, full-day prekindergarten and dedicate $250 million to establish high-impact tutoring programs in districts across the state to address student learning lost during the pandemic.
Hochul would also invest an additional $20 million to support the establishment of new early college high school and P-TECH programs that allow students to earn college credits in high school.
Accessing services and benefits
To make government work better for New Yorkers, Hochul proposes to implement technological enhancements to reduce bureaucratic hurdles and improve access to child care assistance, tax credits, and critical food benefits for women, infants, and children; reduce call wait times; implement e-signature technology; launch “one ID” to improve how residents interact with certain State agencies online; and modernize state agency websites and applications to improve the user experience.
In order to help state agencies efficiently deliver results to New Yorkers and ensure that this initiative is successful, the governor would appoint a new chief customer experience officer to oversee this statewide transformation. Hochul will also sign the state’s first executive order on customer experience to build on this initiative and improve access to State services.
“Since transforming the customer service experience at the DMV as Erie County Clerk, I have been committed to making government work for New Yorkers,” Hochul said. “By eliminating bureaucratic hurdles, simplifying processes, and utilizing new technology, we will vastly improve the way New Yorkers access services and benefits from State agencies.”
New Yorkers commonly face significant hurdles when seeking out benefits and services, whether filing for unemployment insurance, getting a driver’s license renewed, filing taxes, or signing up for benefits programs. Residents may need to take time off from work to attend in-person appointments, parse through lengthy applications and navigate archaic websites, Hochul’s announcement said, adding these administrative burdens amount to a “time tax” on individuals, especially those who are poor, and hinders their ability to obtain critical safety net services that have been proven to lift families out of poverty.
Among other efforts in services and benefits are proposals to simplify the Child Care Assistance application process; improve the Client Experience for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; streamline access to tax credits; save time for residents and state workers with e-signature technology; lower call wait times and reduce reliance on phone calls; and launch a “One ID for New York State” programs to improve digital access.
Governor Kathy Hochul today, as part of the 2023 State of the State, announced major public safety initiatives and investments, expanding proven programs and services to further drive down gun violence and other violent crime, reduce recidivism, address the flow of fentanyl and improve the efficacy of the court system.
The governor is proposing a comprehensive plan to expand the number of New York State Police Community Stabilization Units, bolster trooper participation in federal task forces, and increase the ranks of the State Police by offering four annual academy classes.
Governor Hochul is also proposing to double funding for the state’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative, more than triple aid to prosecution grants to the State’s 62 district attorneys’ offices, and invest record funding in alternatives to incarceration and re-entry programs to reduce recidivism, increase opportunity for individuals returning home after serving prison sentences, improve quality of life in neighborhoods and make communities safer.
Stabilize fire service statewide
According to Hochul, volunteer fire departments serve approximately 9 million New Yorkers, which is nearly half of the state’s population. In recent years, however, more than three-quarters of these departments have reported a decrease in the number of individuals willing to volunteer and serve. At the same time, calls for service have increased 29% from 1997 to 2020.
To boost recruitment and retention, Hochul will propose legislation to allow communities to pay modest compensation to eligible volunteer firefighters, and also create a state fund to cover some of the costs associated with core firefighter training. The fund also will offset some of the wages that volunteers lose when they miss work because they are being trained to serve their communities.
Paid parental leave
Hochul announced a proposal to offer fully paid parental leave benefits to New York State employees as part of the 2023 State of the State. Under the initiative, unrepresented state workers will receive 12 weeks of fully paid leave to use for bonding with a newborn, fostered, or adopted child. The governor will also direct the Office of Employee Relations to engage State unions on extending this benefit to their employees through collective bargaining.
Hochul also announced investments in energy affordability, clean and efficient buildings, clean air, and clean water, as part of the 2023 State of the State. The proposal will create the Energy Affordability Guarantee to ensure participating New Yorkers never pay more than six percent of their incomes on electricity.
Hochul also announced $200 million in relief for utility bills for up to 800,000 New York households earning under $75,000 a year that are not currently eligible for the state’s current utility discount program. Additionally, Hochul outlined building decarbonization initiatives, including for zero-emission new construction and the phase out of the sale of new fossil fuel heating equipment. This announcement also includes $500 million in clean water funding, coupled with the creation of Community Assistance Teams to help disadvantaged communities access financial assistance.
Investing in clean air
To improve air quality and reduce emissions from various sectors, Hochul is calling for zero-emission new construction, with no on-site fossil fuel combustion by 2025 for smaller buildings, and by 2028 for larger buildings; proposing New York prohibit the sale of any new fossil fuel heating equipment by 2030 for smaller buildings and 2035 for larger buildings, along with related fossil fuel systems for all buildings; advancing a system to assign letter grades to larger buildings statewide based on their energy usage to help building managers make informed choices to cut electricity bills and emissions; building on New York’s investments in transportation electrification by directing the Department of Public Service (DPS) to identify and remove the barriers to deploying charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles efficiently and timely; and directing the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) to source all facilities’ electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 by generating its own electricity and prioritizing other green resources such as community solar or purchasing renewable energy from other local facilities.
Investing in clean water
Hochul proposes to invest $500 million in clean water funding to support water quality and infrastructure projects and protect public health. To leverage these investments and ensure ongoing coordination with local governments, Hochul will develop Community Assistance Teams, which will provide proactive outreach to small, rural, and disadvantaged communities and help them access financial assistance to address their clean water infrastructure needs.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here