DIVISION OF THE BUDGET
ANDREW M. CUOMO, GOVERNOR
MARY BETH LABATE, DIRECTOR
April 1, 2015 CONTACT: Morris Peters
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PASSAGE OF 2015-16 STATE BUDGET
Statement from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo:
“For the fifth year in a row, the State Budget holds spending growth below two percent and continues a record of fiscal discipline that has reversed decades of budgets that increased spending faster than inflation or personal income growth.
“This $142 billion budget is the most meaningful that we have agreed to in many years, not because of what we are spending but because of how we are spending it. We are not just maintaining services and the status quo with this budget. We are investing in a new future for our state.
“This budget addresses two of the most fundamental and intractable issues that have vexed the state for generations – education and ethics.
“When it comes to education, the budget we approved will transform our school system in comprehensive ways. The reforms we have included will move us to an education system that rewards results, addresses challenges and demands accountability.
“That’s why I tied a landmark six percent increase in new school spending – raising state funding of schools to a record-high $23.5 billion in this year’s budget – to vital reforms, including improvements to the systems for teacher evaluation, certification and preparation as well as providing new authority to improve failing schools.
“This year we are finally ensuring that New York’s education system will be about the students it is intended to serve, instead of just perpetuating a bureaucracy.
“I described the budget I first proposed just two months ago as an Opportunity Agenda. The importance of education reform that we fought to include in this year’s budget shows that we believe there is no greater path to opportunity than a good education.
“The other transformative issue this budget addresses is ethics. The fundamental weakness in our ethics laws has centered on the question of public officials having a conflict between the work they do for their constituents and with the sources of their outside income.
“Going back to at least 1910, Governors have attempted to tackle the difficult and persistent issue of ethics in state government and conflicts of interest, but have time and again been thwarted.
“Ethical lapses and corruption continued over the decades. A 1967 report in The New York Times noted that 38 state legislators reported financial interests in corporations regulated by state agencies.
“In the last four years we have taken steps to address the issue of disclosure. In 2011, we enacted the Clean Up Albany Act, significantly expanding disclosure requirements and, for the first time, making the information fully available to the public. In 2014, we toughened New York’s bribery law, created the new crimes of “Corrupting the Government” and “Public Corruption,” imposed a lifetime ban from serving and benefitting from government contracts for any person convicted of any one of the new felony public corruption crimes and enacted new disclosure requirements for political donations, mandating more frequent reporting of independent expenditures and the sources of the funds.
“But we knew we had to do more. This budget does that and includes five key proposals that I introduced during a speech in February. These measures will create the strongest and most comprehensive ethics laws for public officials of any state in the nation.
“This is a budget that all New Yorkers can be proud of.”
The Budget also allocates the state’s $5.4 billion in financial settlements to continue growing and strengthening New York’s economy as outlined by the Governor in his original Opportunity Agenda. This includes the $1.5 billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative to jumpstart the best regional approaches to economic development, $1.3 billion to stabilize the Thruway Authority and keep tolls down while still funding critical repair and maintenance and supporting the ongoing construction of the New NY Bridge, and $500 million to ensure that every New Yorker has broadband access by the end of 2018 – representing the largest and most ambitious state broadband investment in the nation.
Below are highlights of the 2015-16 State Budget:
EDUCATION: THE GREAT EQUALIZER
Education Transformation Act of 2015
New York’s education system is set to implement some of its most dramatic and fundamental reforms in years through the Education Transformation Act. The Budget includes the Governor’s proposal for an increase of $1.3 billion in state education support to take education funding to its highest level ever – $23.5 billion.
The components of the transformation are as follows:
- Best and Brightest Recruitment: To attract our best and brightest to the teaching field, the Budget provides funding for a new full scholarship program for SUNY/CUNY for top students who commit to teach in New York for five years.
- Graduate Education Program Accreditation: The first statewide, uniform admissions standards for teacher preparation programs will be established, and SED will have enhanced authority to close programs that fail to prepare students for the teaching profession.
- Teacher “Bar” Exam / CTE: The State currently requires teachers to pass a teacher “bar” exam – and will now also require teachers to complete 100 hours of continuing education and recertify every five years or lose their licenses.
- Teacher Evaluation System: A redesigned teacher evaluation system will be established whereby educators are rated in two categories, student performance and teacher observations.
- Student Performance – Districts will use a standardized state measure, or may choose to use a state-designed supplemental assessment.
- If a teacher receives an Ineffective rating in the state measure subcomponent, the teacher cannot be rated Effective or Highly Effective overall.
- If a local district chooses to use a state-designed supplemental assessment and the teacher is Ineffective when both subcomponents are combined, the teacher must be rated Ineffective overall.
- The state allocates weights for this category and its subcomponents.
- Teacher Observations – This category must contain two subcomponents: principal observations and independent observations. Peer observations may be included at the discretion of the Commissioner.
- If a teacher receives an Ineffective rating in the teacher observation category, the teacher cannot be rated Effective or Highly Effective overall.
- The state allocates weights for this category and its subcomponents.
- Student Performance – Districts will use a standardized state measure, or may choose to use a state-designed supplemental assessment.
- Additional information to note: Teachers will be evaluated based on a four point scale. In regulations, the Commissioner shall set scoring bands, cut scores and weights, and the Commissioner must have the system put in place by June 30, 2015. Local districts must put evaluations in place by November 15, 2015, in order to be eligible for increased aid.
- Reduce Student Testing: The Chancellor of the Board of Regents will outline to the Governor and Legislature recommendations by June 1, 2015 on how to decrease the overall amount of state and local testing, improve test quality, and reduce test-related stress and anxiety.
- Tenure = Performance: The Education Transformation Act of 2015 reforms tenure so that it is based on performance and is not simply a function of time.
o The probationary period will be extended to a minimum of four years with no automatic right to tenure at any point.
o A teacher will have to be rated Effective or Highly Effective in at least three of four years to be eligible to receive tenure. If a teacher does not meet this threshold, he or she can be terminated or the district may extend the probationary period.
- Bonuses & Promotions: A bonus of up to $20,000 will be provided to teachers who are top performers, and promotion opportunities will be tied to the evaluation system.
- Teacher Removal:
- For Ineffective teachers: Statewide, all hearings will be heard before a single officer rather than a panel. Local districts will be able to use new expedited removal proceedings for teachers with two consecutive Ineffective ratings, and will be required to do so for teachers with three consecutive Ineffective ratings
- For misconduct: Teachers accused of physical or sexual abuse will be suspended without pay and the hearing process will be expedited. Teachers convicted of violent felonies with a child victim will automatically lose their certifications.
- Failing Schools:
- Failing schools will be required to have a state-approved improvement plan in place with student achievement metrics and goals. If a failing school does not show demonstrable improvement at the end of one year, the school will go into receivership. During that year, either the Superintendent or the Chancellor will be vested with the increased powers of a receiver.
- The receiver will have the power to hire and fire staff and restructure the school.
- $75 million will be available to help failing schools improve.
Continued Pre-K Investment: The Budget includes $365 million to continue our $1.5 billion commitment over five years for full-day 4-year old Pre-K.
Expanding Pre-K for 3-Year Olds and in High-Needs Districts: In addition, studies show that 3-year olds enrolled in high-quality programs make some of the largest gains in cognitive and behavioral skills. This Budget invests an additional $30 million to expand Pre-K for 3 and 4 year-olds in high-needs districts.
Ethics in government and conflicts of interest in the legislature have been among the most persistent issues facing New York State for generations. Multiple administrations have grappled with ethics reform over the years, but achieved limited or no success. This year, however, we are finally addressing this longstanding problem – implementing the strongest outside income disclosure laws in the nation, along with other measures to deter, detect and punish breaches of the public trust.
New Disclosure Requirements
Public officials will be required to disclose all outside earned income they receive, from whom they receive it, the actual services performed to receive the income, and whether there is any connection to the state government or the office that they hold or their public duties. Specifically:
- All public officials must disclose the nature of each source of outside compensation in excess of $1,000.
- No legislator, legislative employee or state officer may receive any kind of compensation, directly or indirectly, in connection with a pending bill or resolution.
- All public officials who personally provide services whether they work individually or as a member or employee of a business or firm, such as lawyers and real estate brokers, and receives compensation from a client/customer in excess of $5,000 must disclose the name of the client/customer, the services rendered, the amount of compensation and whether the services were related to governmental action. Certain sensitive activities will be exempted from client disclosure such as child custody cases, preparation of wills, matrimonial proceedings, cases involving minors, bankruptcies, criminal proceedings and residential home closings.
The Budget expands the Lobbying Law to cover lobbying of municipalities that have a population of 5,000 or more – current law is set at municipalities with populations of 50,000 or more
Public officials who are convicted of public corruption should not have taxpayers pay for their retirement. The budget applies New York’s pension forfeiture law to all public officials who are convicted of public corruption, including those who entered the retirement system before enactment of the pension forfeiture law in 2011. The law allows a judge to protect an innocent spouse and minor dependent children and goes into effect after a second passage of a constitutional amendment by the legislature and voter approval in 2017.
Per Diem Reform
The Budget reforms per diems by establishing a new set of verification requirements including:
- To ensure an official is where they claim to be, the legislature will install an electronic system that verifies personal attendance of legislators at an official event.
- The Speaker of the Assembly and the Temporary President of the Senate will develop and implement policies to verify attendance at official events and establish standards and limits for reimbursable events.
- Reimbursements will be governed by federal regulations.
- Legislature will create a publicly accessible website showing members’ reimbursement and travel.
Prohibition of Personal Use of Campaign Funds
The Budget bars using campaign contributions for personal use. Such personal use will be defined as expenditures that are exclusively for personal benefit of the candidate or any other individual, not in connection with a political campaign or holding of a public office or party position. The law will include an illustrative list of prohibited uses including using campaign contributions for expenses unrelated to a campaign or the holding of public office such as residential home purchases, mortgage payments, rent, clothing, tuition payments, salaries for individuals not performing campaign work, admissions to sporting events, fines and penalties and dues for country clubs and health clubs.
Campaign Finance Disclosure
The Budget further expands the requirement for disclosing independent expenditures to include independent expenditures on communications made within 60 days before a general or special election, and 30 days before a primary election that reference a clearly identified client.
Additional Funding for Enforcement; Review of JCOPE to Ensure Performance
The Budget also provides an additional $1.2 million for enforcement activities at the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, amounting to a 27 percent increase in the Commission’s operating budget. The budget also includes additional funding to support modernizing technology systems at the Commission.
Further, to ensure that the Commission is operating effectively and efficiently to enforce the ethics rules, the Governor and the Legislature must appoint a commission of eight people within 30 days to review and evaluate the activities and performance of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Legislative Ethics Commission.
$5.4 BILLION INVESTMENT IN NEW YORK’S ECONOMY
The Budget directs New York’s $5.4 billion in financial settlements toward items that will grow the economy over the long-term and position every region of the state for growth in the future, particularly Upstate. This includes supporting locally-driven priorities for economic development and bolstering some of the state’s most vital forms of infrastructure. Those investments include:
$1.5 Billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative
The Budget includes the Governor’s proposed Upstate Revitalization Initiative. This competition will replicate the successful Buffalo Billion initiative to help further Upstate New York’s economic recovery. Seven regions are eligible to compete for one of three $500 million upstate revitalization funds: Mid-Hudson, Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, North Country, Southern Tier and Finger Lakes. Projects exhibiting region-wide impact will be made a priority and should focus on strengthening critical infrastructure, revitalizing communities, bolstering workforce development, growing tourism, and improving quality of life.
Invest in the New NY Bridge and Stabilize the New York State Thruway
The Budget invests $1.3 billion in the New York State Thruway system to keep tolls down while also implementing critical repairs and maintenance initiatives, and supporting the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge and alternative transit options.
Ensure Statewide High-Speed Broadband Access by the End of 2018
Governor Cuomo set an ambitious goal to ensure every New Yorker has access to high-speed broadband service by the end of 2018. In order to accomplish this, the Budget includes $500 million to launch a statewide broadband program that leverages at least an additional $500 million in private resources to create the New NY Broadband Program. The program will incentivize private sector providers to expand high-speed broadband access in underserved and unserved communities. This is the largest and most ambitious state investment in universal broadband deployment in the country.
Support for capital projects for health care systems
$400 million over four years is reserved to support debt restructuring and other capital projects for health care systems, including significant investments in rural communities to facilitate health care transformation. Upstate health care systems are critical service providers and some of the largest regional employers. However, financial challenges exist for smaller, community-based and geographically isolated systems that could prevent their participation in critical state reform efforts.
Build new Metro-North Stations in the Bronx; Extend Access to Penn Station
The Budget includes support for four new Metro-North stations in the Bronx – Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester, and Hunts Point – to extend rail access to over 93,000 residents living near the stations. The project will also serve one of the largest concentrations of medical facilities in the United States at the Morris Park station. The cost of the new line and stations are less than $1 billion, with the State investing $250 million of that funding.
$150 Million for Counter-Terrorism Efforts and Disaster Prevention and Response
The Budget directs $150 million toward efforts that help to build a stronger and safer New York – including measures that help the state prevent, prepare for and respond to public safety and health emergencies, as well as critical counter-terrorism resources.
$150 Million for Transformative Economic Development on Long Island
The Budget includes $150 million to support transformative economic development and infrastructure projects on Long Island. Projects will be reviewed, evaluated and approved by Empire State Development. The State’s investment will catalyze private investment, spurring significant economic development and job creation to help strengthen local communities and their economies.
$150 Million for Municipal Restructuring
New York is home to more than 10,500 local governments, from towns and villages, to school districts, fire districts, sewage districts, lighting districts, and much more. To address waste and duplication, the state will provide $150 million in funding to help local governments implement transformative shared services and consolidation efforts that lead to property tax reductions.
$65 Million in Ports and Rail Hub Infrastructure
The Budget includes $65 million for transformative infrastructure projects. Funding will support a statewide initiative to finance large-scale, complex infrastructure projects across the State and mobilize innovative project delivery methods, including design-build and public private partnerships. The state will provide resources as follows:
- $40 million for the Port of Oswego to link with the Port of New York and create additional intermodal rail yards in Syracuse and Binghamton. Such improvements will reduce truck traffic on downstate highways, increase existing export activity, build small and medium sized enterprise export capacity in upstate, and expand efforts of regional service providers.
- $15 million for the Port of Albany for enhancements to ensure Upstate New York is ready to handle the projected increase in volume of containerized cargo resulting from the Panama Canal expansion of 2016. The State’s investments will support improvements t
- $10 million for the Port of Ogdensburg for improvements to the port’s facilities and equipment, including harbor deepening to accommodate larger ships and expanded grain and salt storage.
$50 Million to Transform State Fairgrounds
The Budget includes $50 million in Capital Projects moneys for the State Fairgrounds. It has been over one hundred years since the New York State Fair embarked on a transformative capital project. It was 1909 when the first of the major buildings were completed as a part of this development. This year the state is laying the groundwork for the next century of a new, dynamic State Fair, one that will support the economy of Central New York, showcase New York food and agriculture and revitalize Onondaga County in an unprecedented way. Through this $50 million investment the New York State Fairgrounds will be transformed into a premier multi-use facility by enhancing the fairgrounds’ infrastructure and buildings as well as the surrounding community to create a world‐class entertainment and tourism destination, making this the greatest State Fair in the Country and providing enhanced economic activity for decades to come.
$50 Million to Expand & Protect Agriculture in the Southern Tier & Hudson Valley
The Budget includes $50 million for the Governor’s proposed Southern Tier and Hudson Valley Farm Initiatives. These will support farms in the region by helping landowners maintain and protect farmland, as well as develop and grow farm, agricultural and related businesses.
EXPANDING OPPORTUNITY AND ENSURING FAIRNESS FOR ALL
The Budget also includes the Governor’s economic mobility agenda, designed to help give every New Yorker a chance to succeed:
- Invest in affordable housing and community development: Every New Yorker should have access to a safe and affordable place to call home – and the Budget invests $477 million for a multitude of housing programs statewide to help make that a reality. This includes $229 million in traditional capital housing resources for 2015-16, an increase of $32 million over available resources in 2014-15, which continues the historic five year $1 billion House NY program initiated in 2013-14 to create and preserve over 14,000 units of affordable housing statewide. The State's investment also includes $248 million from the JP Morgan settlement proceeds to support various affordable housing and community development programs, including $100 million for critical repairs at NYCHA developments, $50 million for new middle income housing and renovations of existing Mitchell Lama developments, as well as support for mortgage assistance programs and programs targeted to the disabled, seniors, and veterans.
- Student loan relief: The Budget includes student loan support that is designed to help eligible New York State residents who graduate from college and continue to live in the state to pay nothing on their student loans for the first two years out of school. For graduates earning less than $50,000 per year, the Get on Your Feet program will supplement the federal Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income-based loan repayment program. The amount a participant will benefit is based on the amount owed and their adjusted gross income. The program is estimated to assist 7,100 graduates in its first year and more than 24,000 participants annually by 2019-20.
- Expand urban youth jobs program: While New York continues to make progress in creating jobs and reducing unemployment, inner-city youth are still faced with unacceptably high unemployment rates. To address this, the Budget doubles the annual funding for the Governor’s urban youth jobs program to $20 million.
- Increase MWBE business opportunities: New York is continuing to invest more in minority- and women-owned businesses, having more than doubled its MWBE commitments since Governor Cuomo first took office. This year, the state is increasing its MWBE goal to 30 percent of all state contracts – the most ambitious in the nation.
- Combat hunger: In response to the recommendations outlined by the Anti-Hunger Task Force, the Governor committed $4.5 million in the Executive Budget to bolster the State’s emergency food system which will help 2,600 emergency food providers support the more than 3 million New Yorkers who access emergency food programs each year. The Governor also committed $250,000 to help child and adult care programs maximize federal funds that subsidize free food for children and adults in those programs and $250,000 for programs to help connect schools with New York farmers to ensure that schools have the best access healthy, locally-grown food.
- Strengthen New York’s nonprofits: To support the work of the State’s nonprofit partners, the Governor created a one-time $50 million Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment Program. The Program will make targeted investments in capital projects that will improve the quality, efficiency, accessibility, and reach of nonprofit human services organizations that serve New Yorkers. Grants will be awarded through a competitive process to eligible nonprofits that provide direct services to New Yorkers through state contracts, state authorized payments, and/or state payment rates
- Providing assistance to our homeless: In addition to the existing $780 million of annual spending on homeless service programs administered or overseen by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Budget invests $432 million in homeless services statewide over the next several years. This includes $275 million for rental assistance programs and other services to address the homeless population in New York City; $124.5 million for a new statewide NY/NY IV program which is projected to create over 5,000 new supportive housing units and for rate enhancements for existing supportive housing units; $27 million for the New York City HIV/AIDS rent cap; and $5.5 million for homelessness prevention, supportive services and runaway and homeless youth services. Of the total $432 million investment, $220 million comes from the New York City share of savings related to a statewide cap on youth facility billings. Under that initiative, the City will be required to match the State funding for a total State/City investment of $440 million over a four year period. An additional $191.5 million is funded through the JP Morgan settlement proceeds and the remaining $20.5 million is new state support.
- Anti-Poverty Initiatives for Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton: The Governor's Opportunity Agenda included the creation of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative to combat poverty. In partnership with the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force made up of State agencies and other government representatives, the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative works to better coordinate existing resources, create integrated services, utilize data and information technology, develop more flexible funding arrangements, and evaluate services based on outcomes. The Budget expands this initiative to Syracuse and Binghamton/Broome County and includes $725,000 in support.
The Governor’s economic mobility agenda is complemented by a number of other investments and initiatives that are designed to expand opportunity and build a stronger, healthier and fairer New York, including:
Raising the Age
The Budget acknowledges the importance of raising the age of criminal responsibility by including funding that will be immediately available to local governments to ensure readiness, as well as other funding that will be available upon enactment of legislation to Raise the Age that is expected this legislative session.
$1 Billion Capital Investment in Hospitals
As part of New York’s continued transformation of our health care system, the Budget provides $1 billion in new capital investments to make infrastructure improvements and provide additional tools to stabilize health care providers to advance health care transformation goals. This investment includes $700 million in capital funding to stabilize the health care delivery system of central and east Brooklyn, and $300 million to create an integrated health care delivery system in Oneida County to reduce unnecessary inpatient beds and expand primary care services.
Increase Investment in the Environmental Protection Fund
The enacted budget raises the Environmental Protection Fund to $177 million dollars, an increase of 32 percent since Governor Cuomo took office. The $15 million increase will support increases in fourteen categories, including land conservation, stewardship, and invasive species control and prevention. The increase includes a new sub-allocation for capacity grants to State Parks friends’ groups.
Brownfields Reform and State Superfund
The Budget extends the Brownfields Cleanup Program for ten years, and includes important reforms to protect taxpayers and promote brownfield redevelopment, particularly Upstate. The Budget also includes a new $100 million appropriation and extends the State Superfund cleanup program for 10 years, which has been instrumental in identifying, investigating and cleaning up hazardous waste sites throughout the State.
Enhance Oil Spill Preparedness
In response to the increased volume of crude oil being transported through New York State, the Budget provides funding for additional staff dedicated to oil spill planning, training and response, consistent with Governor Cuomo's Executive Order 125, which outlines steps the State is taking to improve oil spill response and prevention. The Budget also provides the necessary funding for planning and preparedness costs and ensures the solvency of the Oil Spill Fund by increasing fees for oil transported through New York.
The Budget extends Design Build construction authority for two additional years. This important re-authorization allows the State to continue to accelerate project delivery schedules, reduce project costs, create jobs for New Yorkers, and fully engage private sector efficiencies in the development of public infrastructure projects.
Strengthen Roads and Bridges Statewide
The Budget includes $1 billion for significant repairs and maintenance efforts on the state’s network of roads and bridges, ultimately enhancing the strength and resiliency of road infrastructure statewide.
Local Capital Aid for Extreme Winter Recovery
The Budget includes an additional $50 million of capital to help municipalities repair and rehabilitate local roads and bridges impacted by the extreme winter.
Upstate Transit Aid Increase
Upstate transit systems will receive an extra $25 million this year, $10 million in operating and $15 million in new capital spending. This funding will help address the rising cost of operations and alleviate increases in fares and cuts in services.
Support for Fort Drum
Fort Drum is one of New York’s treasures and an institutional anchor for its region. More than 50,000 North Country residents rely on this base for economic stability. To ensure Fort Drum remains a strong fixture in New York and a worthy home of the 10th Mountain Division, the Budget includes $1.5 million to purchase land for training and $25 million for improvements along Route 26.
Launch another $110 Million Round of NYSUNY2020 and NYCUNY2020
SUNY2020 and CUNY2020 are challenge grant programs designed to simultaneously strengthen academic programs at the State’s public colleges and universities while spurring economic growth at specific campuses and in nearby communities. The programs provide incentive for capital development on and around SUNY and CUNY campuses. The Budget includes $110 million to continue these programs.
$50 Million Continued Investment in START-UP NY
The Budget also includes a $50 million investment in an enhanced marketing effort to demonstrate the benefits of investing and doing business in New York through innovative programs like START-UP NY. START-UP NY leverages the strengths of New York’s higher education institutions by encouraging businesses to take advantage of research and development capabilities, academic programming, and job training initiatives that are part of the state’s college campuses. While the program is still in its early stages, START-UP NY has already secured commitments from 93 different companies to invest more than $173 million and create or retain more than 2,805 new jobs.
Continue the Progress of the Regional Economic Development Councils
To continue the progress of the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC), the Budget includes $150 million to fund regional priority projects and $70 million in State tax credits for a fifth round of the REDC awards. Since 2011, the REDCs have awarded over $2.9 billion in State funding through a competitive process to spur job creation based on regional priorities. This new strategy has resulted in 150,000 new or retained jobs in New York.
Align Community Colleges within Regions
The state will establish regional planning councils to ensure that community colleges outside New York City cooperate with other colleges within regions of the state and that the colleges, along with stakeholders from other state agencies, local government and business and industry in a region are working together. These councils will set program development, enrollment and transfer goals on a regional basis. This will limit competition by colleges for students within a region, better align education and training program offerings to regional economic development goals and activities, and improve student outcomes.
Bring International Attention to Upstate New York by Continuing an Unprecedented Investment in the “I LOVE NY” Campaign
New York continues to attract visitors from around the world. As an economic engine, tourism directly supports nearly 900,000 jobs and generates $59.2 billion in direct spending in New York State. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership the state has tripled support for the tourism industry with measures including a $45 million tourism campaign. That unprecedented level will continue, sustained by a commitment of over $25 million to supplement the existing I LOVE NY marketing campaign. The funding will boost our tourism economy Upstate and elsewhere with initiatives that include hosting another round of the Governor’s Challenges with winter and summer events in the Adirondacks, a fishing tournament in the Finger Lakes, and two wine cups—one in the Finger Lakes and one on Long Island.
Double the New York State Venture Capital Fund
The Budget supports the expansion of the New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund from $50 million to $100 million to support technology commercialization in New York by making equity investments in high-growth technology companies that leverage the state’s industrial and cluster strengths.
Invest $15 million for Nation’s First Emergency Preparedness College
The State will open a new state-sponsored College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity within SUNY. The school will grant advanced degrees in both academic and professional aspects of law enforcement, security, public and international affairs, counterterrorism, emergency management, cybersecurity and forensics. The school will be the nation’s first homeland security college and will open its doors next year at the University at Albany with a satellite campus in Oriskany.
Rainy Day Reserves
The Budget also authorizes an increase in the State’s Rainy Day Reserves, which will improve the State’s ability to set aside resources to respond to unforeseen budget emergencies and needs. For the current year, the state is making the maximum allowable deposit to the Rainy Day Reserves, estimated to be more than $300 million.
The Governor will continue pushing for passage of his full Opportunity Agenda during the remainder of the session.