HomeNewsLocal NewsGovernor Cuomo Announces Highlights of Western New York FY 2020 Enacted Budget

Governor Cuomo Announces Highlights of Western New York FY 2020 Enacted Budget

Makes the Property Tax Cap Permanent – Tax Cap Will Save Western New York Residents $7 Billion Over the Next 10 Years

Limits Spending to 2% and Cuts Taxes for the Middle Class – Second Year of the Tax Cut Will Save Western New York Residents an Average of $292

Dedicates $58.6 Million to Fund Improvements for NFTA

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the highlights of the FY 2020 Budget. The Budget, building upon the Governor’s 2019 Justice Agenda, delivers comprehensive provisions to ensure social and economic justice for all, protects New Yorkers against Washington’s continued federal rollbacks and assaults on the middle class, increases education funding, reforms the state’s criminal justice system, supports New York’s ongoing commitment to a strong women’s agenda, and prioritizes investments in infrastructure projects critical to meeting New York’s 21st century needs. For the ninth consecutive year, the Budget is balanced and holds spending growth at 2%.

“As part of this year’s budget, we wanted the most aggressive agenda for Western New York ever, and that is exactly what we did,” Governor Cuomo said. “This plan builds on the progress and the momentum that we have made all across Western New York. All the arrows are finally pointed in the right direction. People know that this is a different Buffalo, that it’s a different economic climate than it’s ever been and this plan will fuel the fire of Buffalo’s rebirth.”

Highlights of the FY 2020 Executive Budget:

  • State Operating Funds spending is $102.1 billion for the ninth consecutive year, holding growth to 2% (State Operating Funds exclude Federal funds and capital)
  • All Funds spending $175.5 billion for FY 2020
  • Makes permanent the 2% property tax cap, building upon the approximate $25 billion in taxpayer savings since it was implemented in 2012
  • Increases school aid by over $1 billion, bringing total school aid to a record $27.9 billion
  • Delivers sweeping criminal justice reforms by eliminating cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent offenses, ensuring the right to a speedy trial, and transforming the discovery process
  • Builds upon the Governor’s unprecedented commitment to invest $150 billion in infrastructure projects over the next five years, generating 675,000 jobs
  • Codifies provisions of the Affordable Care Act
  • Bans single-use plastic bags
  • Launches food waste recycling program
  • Extends Janus protections to all local governments and guarantees the right to organize and collectively bargain
  • Builds upon voting reform passed within the first 10 weeks of the legislative session
  • Invests an additional $500 million in clean water infrastructure, increasing the State’s historic investment to $3 billion

Highlights of Strategic Investments Benefitting Western New York include:

  • Permanent property tax cap will save Western New York residents $7 billion over the next 10 years
  • Middle class tax cuts will save Western New York residents an average of $292
  • $58.6 million in funding to NFTA
  • $50 million to revitalize Buffalo’s East Side
  • $175,000 in award funding for winners of competition to re-imagine Skyway Corridor
  • $35.2 million to maintain and upgrade SUNY facilities
  • $10 million to address the heroin and opiate crisis

Economic Justice

Makes Permanent the Highly Successful Property Tax Cap: With the passage of this historic legislation, the inclusion of the permanent 2% property tax cap in the FY 2020 Budget will build upon the approximately $25 billion in taxpayer savings since the cap was implemented by the Governor in 2012. In Western New York the typical taxpayer will save over the next 10 years:

  • Allegany County: $7,853
  • Cattaraugus County: $8,605
  • Chautauqua County: $7,562
  • Erie County: $11,796
  • Niagara County: $11,079

Continues the Phase-In of Middle Class Tax Cuts: The Budget supports the phase-in of the middle class tax cuts. Under these reforms, rates will continue to drop to 5.5% and 6% when the cuts are fully phased in – an up to 20% cut in income tax rates for the middle class – and produce a projected $4.2 billion in annual savings for six million filers by 2025. As the new rates phase in, they will be the State’s lowest middle-class tax rates in more than 70 years.  

Building 21st Century Infrastructure

Road and Bridge Improvements: As part of the Governor’s $100 billion capital plan, the FY 2020 Executive Budget includes funding for road and bridge projects in the Western New York including:

  • $12.5 million towards pavement renewal in the towns of Cheektowaga, West Seneca, Elma, and Marilla.
  • $7.3 million towards the rehabilitation of the Route 394 bridge over the Western NY and Penn railroad in the town of Poland.
  • $7.3 million towards pavement renewal along Route 219, Town of Carrollton.
  • $4.4 million towards rehabilitation of the spans that carry the Route 93 and 425 bridge over the east branch of 12 Mile Creek, Towns of Porter & Wilson.

CHIPS Local Highway Aid Program: The Budget provides $46.0 million in funding for local roads and bridges in Western New York through the CHIPS program.

PAVE NY Local Highway Aid Program: The Budget provides $10.5 million in funding for local roads in Western New York through the PAVE NY program.

Transit Operating Aid: The Budget provides $58.6 million in funding to NFTA in FY 2020, an increase of $5.1 million from FY 2019.

Invests an Additional $150 Billion in the Nation’s Largest Infrastructure Program: Delivering on Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented commitment to invest $150 billion in infrastructure projects over the next five years, beginning in FY 2020, these capital projects will begin to rebuild transportation systems, drive economic development, create new green facilities, and support New York’s sustainable energy future.

Continuing New York’s Bottom-Up Economic Development Strategy

Continues Buffalo Billion Investment: The State is dedicating $50 million to revitalize Buffalo’s East Side. ESD worked with the City of Buffalo to develop and inclusionary, community-driven program to deploy this East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund. Funding will be targeted to include:(1) an East Side Main Streets Initiative; (2) mentoring new community based developers to assist with project development and implementation; (3) a building preservation fund to protect and preserve historic structures in the East Side for future reuse; (4) a cohesive appropriate to developing the Michigan Avenue African American Heritage Corridor, including capital funding for building upgrades and improvements; (5) investments in key assets in the east side; (6) direct project funding; and (7) infrastructure and placemaking improvements. Additional outside investments, particularly from local charitable foundations, is anticipated to support complementary community priorities, including capacity- building programming. 

Invests $750 million for Round Nine of the Regional Economic Development Councils: In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) to develop long-term regional strategic economic development plans. Since then, the REDCs have awarded over $6.1 billion to more than 7,300 projects. This strategy has resulted in more than 230,000 new or retained jobs in New York. The Enacted Budget includes core capital and tax-credit funding that will be combined with a wide range of existing agency programs for a ninth round of REDC awards totaling $750 million.

Invests in Communities Across the State Through the Fourth Downtown Revitalization Initiative: The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families. Participating communities are nominated by the State’s 10 REDCs based on the downtown’s potential for transformation. Through three rounds of awards, each winning community was awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community’s vision for revitalization. The FY 2020 Enacted Budget provides $100 million for a fourth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

Launches Another Round of NYSUNY 2020 and NYCUNY 2020: To build upon the success of the NYSUNY 2020 and NYCUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program, the Budget includes $110 million to launch a new round of grants. Priority will be given to plans that use technology to improve academic success, leverage public-private partnerships, and better connect students to the workforce. 

Continues Economic Development Initiatives: The Budget continues the support of various projects, including $1 million for the Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, $1 million for the Buffalo Center of Excellence in Materials Information, $960,600 for the Center for Advanced Technology in Big Data and Health Sciences at the University of Buffalo, and $100,000 for Canisius College for NCAA Hockey.

Continues Investment in Tourism: The Budget includes $59.5 million to support the State’s tourism campaign and attract visitors from around the world. The program includes a seventh round of $15 million in competitive funding through the Market NY initiative to support tourism marketing plans and projects that best demonstrate regional collaboration among counties to promote regional attractions. Tourism is New York’s fourth largest employment sector.

New York State Grown & Certified Program: The Executive Budget continues support for the New York State Grown & Certified initiative. This program is designed to strengthen consumer confidence in New York State products, address food product labeling, and assist New York farmers so they can take advantage of the growing demand for local, high quality foods.  Since its launching in 2016, the program has certified over 2,386 farms, representing over half a million acres of farmland.

Taste NY: Launched in 2013, Taste NY highlights and encourages the purchase of New York-made foods and beverages.  The Taste NY Initiative has proven to be incredibly successful in raising the visibility of New York’s high-quality food and agricultural products. To build on the success of 2018 and further connect New York producers to new markets, the Executive Budget invests $6.5 million to expand the Taste NY program to new welcome centers across the State.

Ensuring A Quality Education for All

$1 Billion Education Aid Increase: Over 70 percent of this year’s increase goes to high-need school districts, and brings the total education funding to $27.9 billion. The FY 2020 Budget increases School Aid in Western New York by $72.9 million, including a $43.6 million increase in Foundation Aid, for a total increase of 3.10 percent.

Higher Education Infrastructure: Western New York Region will receive $35.2 million in capital funding to maintain and upgrade its SUNY higher educational facilities.

Free Tuition at Public Colleges: Approximately 55% or more than 15,600 undergraduate fulltime resident students enrolled in public colleges from Western New York attend tuition free through the Excelsior Scholarship along with other sources of student financial assistance including the generous Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).

Social Justice

Advancing Criminal Justice for All

Criminal Justice Reform: New York continues its commitment to a fairer criminal justice system with the inclusion of the following reforms in the FY 2020 Enacted Budget:

  • Reforms Bail and Arrest Procedures to Reduce Pretrial Incarceration: As part of groundbreaking legislation in the FY 2020 Enacted Budget, New York’s bail system will be dramatically transformed, significantly reducing the number of people held in jail prior to their trial. Specifically, cash bail will be eliminated for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, alongside 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. Together, these reforms will ensure the vast majority- approximately 90% – of cases where people are charged, but not yet convicted of a crime, will remain out of jail before their day in court.
  • Ensures the Right to a Speedy Trial: Despite principles enshrined in both the United States Constitution and State law, a criminal defendant’s right to a speedy trial can – and often does – turn into a drawn-out process leading to people being held in pre-trial custody for excessive periods of time. On average, two-thirds of the people incarcerated in local jails across the state are simply detained waiting for their day in court. These delays have real impacts as people, who have yet to be found guilty of any wrongdoing, often lose their jobs and ties to the community. To address this injustice and reduce the backlog of criminal cases, the FY 2020 Enacted Budget includes legislation that requires courts to increase accountability by reducing unnecessary delays and ensuring all parties are prepared for trial.
  • Transforms the Discovery Process: To overhaul New York’s antiquated discovery process by which prosecutors could withhold basic evidence until the day the trial begins, legislation included in the FY 2020 Enacted Budget will require that both prosecutors and defendants share all information in their possession 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. Prosecutors will be required to provide the defense with discoverable information and materials within 15 days of arraignment. In addition, the legislation will ensure that victims and witnesses are protected from intimidation and other forms of coercion by providing prosecutors with the ability to petition a court for a protective order, shielding identifying information when necessary to ensure the safety of witnesses and the sanctity of the judicial process.  

Justice for All New Yorkers

Protecting Quality, Affordable Health Care

Transforms Health Care: The budget continues to support health care transformation activities, including:

  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI): The Budget maintains $103 million in support for RPCI.
  • Capital Restructuring Financing Program (Enacted FY 2015): The Western New York Region has been awarded $41.95 million in grants to support regional hospitals.
  • Essential Health Care Providers Program (Enacted FY 2016): The Western New York Region has been awarded $113.8 million in grants to support regional hospitals.
  • Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program I (Enacted FY 2017): The Western New York Region has been awarded $10.7 million in grants. 
  • Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program II (Enacted FY 2018): The Western New York Region has been awarded $47 million in grants.

Aging: The Budget invests $15 million statewide to address locally identified capacity-needs in NYSOFA support services, managed by county Area Agencies on Aging, targeting the needs of seniors to preserve their community connections and avoid high-cost institutional placements.  This investment will result in an additional $1.9 million in funding for Western Region community providers.  The Budget also authorizes, at county option, the ability of service providers to offer private-pay services to those that can pay in an effort to enhance service delivery through the reinvestment of these revenues.

Codifies the Affordable Care Act and Health Exchange into Law: As Washington continues to threaten to roll back the historic progress made with the Affordable Care Act, the codification of key ACA provisions and the New York State Health Exchange into law to ensure that no matter what happens at the federal level, these key provisions are protected in New York State.

Fighting to End the Opioid Epidemic

Funding to Combat the Opioid Crisis: The budget provides approximately $10 million to address the heroin and opiate crisis in Western NY. This funding will be used to support a myriad of treatment programs, including three crisis, 16 residential, nine outpatient and two opioid treatment programs, as well as one State-Operated Addiction Treatment Center. These programs may provide individual and group counseling, medication assisted treatment, educational services, case management, vocational assessment, and training for job skills, employment readiness, parenting, personal, and social and community living skills.

Expands Access to Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is an important advance in Medication Assisted Treatment, which, like methadone and injectable naltrexone, is used in combination with counseling as appropriate to help people reach and sustain recovery from Opioid Use Disorder. To expand use of buprenorphine, Governor Cuomo will direct the Department of Health to require all hospitals statewide to develop protocols for their Emergency Departments to address Opioid Use Disorder based on the standard of care for treatment or referral for treatment. The Enacted Budget also prohibits health plans from requiring prior authorization for Medication Assisted Treatment.

Expands Access to Medication Assisted Treatment in Criminal Justice Settings: The Enacted Budget includes $4.75 million, an increase of $1 million, to support medication assisted treatment (MAT) in local jails and leverages federal funds to expand MAT to three additional Department of Corrections and Community Supervision facilities. These effective programs will support inmates in recovery and link them to community-based services prior to their release, increasing their chances of success and reducing recidivism.

Makes Substance Use Disorder Treatment More Accessible: The Enacted Budget makes treatment more accessible and affordable by requiring minimum coverage standards of health plans; prohibiting the denial of medically necessary treatment; prohibiting multiple co-payments per day and requiring behavioral health co-payments to be equal to primary care co-payments. These changes eliminate administrative and cost burdens that can stand in the way of treatment for New Yorkers struggling with addiction.

Ensuring Aid for Local Governments

Supports Local Governments: Maintains $212.3 million in support for Western New York municipalities through the Aid and Incentives for Municipalities program and other revenue sharing.

Maintains Video Lottery Terminal Impact Aid: Maintains $1.2 million in Video Lottery Terminal Impact Aid for Western New York municipalities.

Maintains Citizen Empowerment Tax Credit: Maintains $515,799 in Citizen Empowerment Tax Credits for seven village dissolutions.

Provides Aid for the City of Jamestown: Provides $1.0 million in aid to the City of Jamestown.

Ensures Availability of Disaster Assistance: The Budget continues the availability of State and Municipal Facilities funds for reconstruction projects related to Lake Ontario flooding.

Supports the Rural Rental Assistance Program (RRAP): The Enacted Budget provides rental assistance for more than 900 units of low-income housing for rural tenants in the Western New York region.

Supports the Neighborhood and Rural Preservation Programs (NPP/RPP): The Enacted Budget includes more than $2 million for the Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) and Rural Preservation Program (RPP) to support community-based not-for-profit groups that provide housing assistance, community renewal activities, and rental subsidies in the Western NY region.

Continuing New York’s Environmental Leadership

Expands Renewable Energy Investment: As part of Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal, the nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda that will put the state on a path to 70% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, the FY 2020 Enacted Budget expands the role of the New York Power Authority to deliver renewable energy and energy efficiency services to its customers.

Invests in Clean Drinking Water: The FY 2020 Budget will invest an additional $500 million in clean water infrastructure, building on the State’s historic $2.5 billion investment.

Prohibits the Use of Plastic Bags: The Enacted Budget includes legislation to ban single-use plastic bags provided to customers and allows counties and cities to opt in to a 5-cent fee on paper bags, with 40% of the revenue supporting local programs to buy reusable bags for low and fixed income consumers, and 60% of the revenue supporting programs in the State’s Environmental Protection Fund.

Renews Record Funding for the Environmental Protection Fund: The Enacted Budget includes record funding of $300 million, the highest level of funding in the program’s history.

State Parks: The New York Works Program includes $110 million to rehabilitate state parks, continuing the infusion of capital dollars for New York’s parks.

DEC Infrastructure Investments: $55 million is allocated to the DEC to continue funding the Adventure NY initiative while also addressing a variety of capital needs including: public access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts to un-tapped State owned lands. This new funding will also provide for investments in health and safety repairs to State infrastructure, including dams, wetland restoration, State lands, fish hatcheries and other State infrastructure.   

 Environmental Protection Fund: The Enacted Budget includes $300 million for the EPF, the highest level of funding in the program’s history. Appropriations include $38 million for solid waste programs, $88 million for parks and recreation, $153 million for open space programs, and $21 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program. 

Zoos, Botanical Gardens, and Aquaria (ZBGA): The Enacted Budget includes $16 million for ZBGA’s statewide in 2019-20. While the ZBGA awards for 2019 have yet to be determined, in 2018, the following Western Region zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums received more than $1 million in grants from this program:

  • Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Society, Inc.
  • Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences
  • Jamestown Audubon Society
  • Niagara Aquarium Foundation
  • Pfeiffer Nature Center and Foundation, Inc.
  • Zoological Society of Buffalo, Inc.

Municipal Parks: The Enacted proposed EPF also includes $19.5 million for Municipal Parks statewide in 2019-20. While the 2019 awards have yet to be determined, in 2018, the following Western institutions and localities received over $1.9 million in grants from this program:

  • Carousel Society of the Niagara Frontier
  • Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition, Inc.
  • Springville Center for the Arts, Inc.
  • St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
  • Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, Inc.
  • City of Lackawanna
  • Western New York Land Conservancy, Inc.
  • Town of Eden
  • The Nature Conservancy

In the first 12 weeks of the legislative session, New York State made historic progress with the passage of the following landmark achievements:

  • Reproductive Health Act
  • Comprehensive Coverage Contraceptive Act
  • Red Flag Bill
  • Banned Bump Stocks
  • Extended Background Check Waiting Period
  • Launched the Green New Deal
  • Closed the LLC Loophole
  • Synchronized Federal and State Elections
  • Pre-registration for Minors
  • Early Voting
  • Universal Transfer of Registration
  • Advanced No-excuse Absentee Voting
  • Advanced Same-day Registration
  • Child Victims Act
  • Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act
  • Banned Conversion Therapy
  • Banned Revenge Porn
  • Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act
  • Strengthen Protections for Breastfeeding in the Workplace

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