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Gov Hochul’s Budget Plans, And GOP Reaction

March 15, 2022

From Governor Kathy Hochul: To restore our depleted healthcare workforce and build the healthcare system of tomorrow, Governor Hochul will make a more-than-$10 billion, multi-year investment in healthcare, including more than $4 billion to support wages and bonuses for healthcare workers. Key components of this multi-year investment include: $1.2 billion of state support for healthcare and mental hygiene worker retention bonuses, with up to $3,000 bonuses going to full-time workers who remain in their positions for one year, and pro-rated bonuses for those working fewer hours;
$500 million for Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) to help raise wages for human services workers; $2.4 billion for healthcare capital infrastructure and improved lab capacity; and Other investments in workforce and healthcare access and delivery.
With these investments, Governor Hochul proposes to rebuild and grow the healthcare workforce by 20 percent over the next five years with a program designed to strengthen home care, improve the career pipeline, expand access to healthcare training and education, and recruit healthcare and direct support professionals to care for people in underserved areas. School Aid: The FY 2023 Executive Budget provides $31.3 billion in total School Aid for SY 2023, the highest level of State aid ever. This investment represents a year-to-year increase of $2.1 billion (7.1 percent) compared to School Year (SY) 2022, including a $1.6 billion Foundation Aid increase and a $466 million increase in all other School Aid programs.

Foundation Aid: Foundation Aid is the State’s main education operating aid formula. It is focused on allocating State funds equitably to all school districts, especially high-need districts, based on student need, community wealth, and regional cost differences. The Executive Budget provides a $1.6 billion (8.1 percent) increase in Foundation Aid, supporting the second year of the three-year phase-in of full funding of the current Foundation Aid formula and ensuring each school district receives a minimum year-to-year increase of 3 percent.

From State Senator Tom O’Mara: “My Senate Republican colleagues and I were concerned about Governor Hochul’s out-of-control state spending plan when she proposed it in January and we warned that the Legislature’s Democrat majorities would be looking to go even higher. Here they go. The spending spree being proposed by the Senate Democrats is unsustainable. It’s unwarranted. It doesn’t respond to the issues of affordability for everyday New York families, taxpayers, and workers. It won’t stop the exodus of New Yorkers and it risks further devastating already hard-hit state and local economies. It charts a course for New York that could leave a future generation of state and local taxpayers footing the bill for a questionable, unsustainable, and unwarranted agenda of overspending,” O’Mara said.

From State Senator George Borrello: “I was especially encouraged that the proposed budget includes repeal of the fiber optic right-of-way fee that has been such a roadblock to expanding rural broadband access. My advocacy on this issue has been ongoing for two years as the pandemic made lack of internet access a genuine crisis for families without coverage. As three-way negotiations move forward, it is crucial that this measure remain in the final budget. It is disappointing that the Majority rejected our requests to use some of the state’s surplus funds to pay down the $9 billion pandemic-driven debt of our state’s Unemployment Insurance Fund (UI). This debt was the result of unprecedented circumstances, which is why more than 32 other states have used some of their federal pandemic relief funds to pay down their own UI trust fund debts. Unless New York’s leaders follow suit, this debt will be an anchor around the necks of our small businesses and our state’s recovery.”