Robert F. Mujica Jr., DIRECTOR
January 16, 2018
CONTACT: Morris Peters


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled the FY 2019 Executive Budget, which continues the state’s efforts to deliver on the promise of progressive government by protecting taxpayers against devastating federal action, strengthening the middle class, cutting taxes and making smart investments in New York’s future. For the eighth consecutive year, the Budget is balanced and holds spending growth below two percent.

The robust agenda includes a number of proposals – from fighting the federal tax assault to ending the opioid epidemic by holding pharmaceutical companies accountable to investing record amounts in education – that will continue to increase opportunity for New Yorkers and ensure the Empire State continues to serve as a beacon of equality, unity and fairness for the nation.

“For the past eight years, we have restored fiscal discipline while achieving historic progressive accomplishments and strengthening middle class New Yorkers. The FY 2019 Budget builds on our strong record and continues to move New York forward, by protecting taxpayers against the federal assault, investing in education to support and train the next generation, and implementing bold progressive policies to make New York a more just and fair state for all,” Governor Cuomo said. “Together, we will continue to deliver on the promise of progressive government -even while tackling unprecedented challenges head on. We will restore citizen confidence and ensure management competence. This bold agenda charts a path forward toward a better future for all New Yorkers.”

Highlights of the FY 2019 Executive Budget:

  • State Operating Funds spending is $100.0B – an increase of 1.9 percent (State Operating Funds exclude Federal funds and capital)
  • All Funds spending $168.2 billion for FY 2019
  • Protects New Yorkers from federal tax assault
  • Closes carried interest loophole
  • Increases School Aid by $769 million – doubling the statutory School Aid growth cap and bringing total investment to $26.4 Billion
  • Provides $7.5 billion in State support for higher education in New York- an increase of $1.4 billion or 24 percent since FY 2012
  • Provides $118 Million to continue the successful Excelsior Scholarship and extend the income cap to $110,000
  • Establishes a new opioid epidemic surcharge
  • Imposes a Healthcare Insurance Windfall Profit Fee
  • Defers Large Corporate Tax Credits
  • Continues the phase-in of the Middle Class Tax Cut for six million New Yorkers – saving households $250 on average and $700 annually when fully effective.

Continuing the Trend of Fiscal Responsibility

Under Governor Cuomo, New York’s finances have made a dramatic turnaround. The Governor’s fiscal policies, which have ended the era of high spending growth and tax increases, are maintained in FY 2019 Budget. For the eighth consecutive year, the Budget is balanced and limits spending growth to two percent – a record of spending restraint unparalleled in State history.

  • State Spending Growth Held Under 2 Percent for Eighth Consecutive Year: The Executive Budget holds annual spending growth in State Operating Funds to 1.9 percent.
  • Ensuring Debt Affordability: State-related debt outstanding declined for five consecutive years, FY 2013 through FY 2017. This marks the first time in modern history that New York has achieved this result. During the five-year period, debt declined from $56.4 billion to $50.7 billion. At the end of FY 2018, debt is still expected to be below when the Governor took office.
  • New York’s Credit Rating Has Improved: The state now has its highest credit rating since 1972.
  • General Fund Reserves: Reserves are now at $2.5 billion, up from $1 billion ten years ago, including $500 million for debt management.
  • Spending for State Agency Operations Held Flat: Since the Governor took office, Executive State agency operating costs have essentially remained flat through ongoing state agency redesign and cost-control efforts.

Keeping New York Economically Competitive

The FY 2019 Executive Budget takes the first step in protecting New Yorkers from the devastating impacts of Federal tax assault, continues the phase-in of the middle class tax cuts, advances efforts to improve New York’s business climate, and improves the fairness of the tax system.

Protect New Yorkers from Federal Tax Assault: The recently enacted federal tax law is an assault on New York. By gutting the deductibility of state and local taxes, the law effectively raises middle class families' property and state income taxes by 20 to 25 percent. Under Governor Cuomo, New York is fighting back against the federal plan and the loss of both income tax deductibility and property tax deductibility.

First, New York will challenge this unprecedented federal double taxation in court as unconstitutional, because it violates states' rights and the principle of equal protection. Second, New York will lead the nation’s resistance to the new law, starting a repeal-and-replace effort: “Tax Fairness for All” campaign.

Third, at Governor Cuomo’s direction, the Department of Taxation and Finance is exploring restructuring options and issuing a preliminary report to outline options for State tax reform in response to the Federal legislation. The preliminary report is expected to outline a series of proposals for consideration and comment, including the potential to create additional opportunities for charitable contributions to New York State, the possibility of reducing income taxes by shifting income tax from an employee paid system to an employer paid system, and the option to add tax deductibility through a new statewide unincorporated business tax, among other options.

As New York launches this massive and complicated undertaking, we will engage tax experts, both houses of the legislature, employers, and other stakeholders in a thorough and collaborative process to produce a proposal that promotes fairness for New York’s taxpayers and safeguards the competitiveness of New York’s economy.

Close the Carried Interest Loophole: Despite promises to the contrary, the federal government left in place the so-called “carried interest” loophole. To close the carried interest loophole, the Budget treats carried interest as ordinary income for New York State tax purposes and imposes a fairness fee to eliminate the benefit from preferential tax rates that exist at the Federal level. In order to prevent New York from being placed at a competitive disadvantage, this will take effect only when functionally identical legislation is enacted in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Continue the Phase-In of the Middle Class Tax Cut: The Budget supports the phase-in of the middle class tax cuts. In 2018, average savings will total $250 and, when fully effective, six million New Yorkers will save $700 annually. Once fully phased in, the new rates will be the lowest in more than 70 years – dropping from 6.45 to 5.5 percent for incomes ranging from $40,000 – $150,000 and 6.65 to 6 percent for incomes ranging from $150,000 – $300,000. The new lower tax rates will save middle class New Yorkers $4.2 billion, annually, by 2025.

Continue the Local Property Tax Relief Credit: The Property Tax Credit, enacted in 2015, will provide an average reduction of $380 in local property taxes to 2.6 million homeowners this year alone. When fully phased in by 2019, the program will provide an additional $1.3 billion in property tax relief and an average credit of $530.

Investing in Education

The FY 2019 Executive Budget reflects the Governor’s strong commitment to education through a $769 million annual increase in School Aid – doubling the statutory School Aid growth cap and increasing education aid 35 percent since 2012. The Budget includes support for several key initiatives, including the Governor’s sixth consecutive investment in high-quality prekindergarten, a second round of Empire State After School awards to high-need districts, the continued transformation of high-need schools into community hubs, the largest State investment ever in computer science and engineering programming and instruction, and additional funding for early college high schools.

Expand Community Schools: The FY 2019 Budget continues the Governor’s push to transform New York’s high-need schools into community schools. This year, the Budget increases the community schools set-aside amount by $50 million to a total of $200 million. This increased funding is targeted to districts with failing schools and/or districts experiencing significant growth in homeless pupils or English language learners. In addition, the Budget increases the minimum community schools funding amount from $10,000 to $75,000.

Promote the First 1,000 Days of Life: The Budget supports the development of a new initiative to expand access to services and improve health outcomes for young children covered by Medicaid and their families. Studies show that the basic structure of the brain is developed within the first 1,000 days of life.

Expand Access to Prekindergarten: The Budget includes an additional $15 million investment in prekindergarten to expand high-quality half-day and full-day prekindergarten instruction for 3,000 three- and four-year-old children in high-need school districts.

Continue the Empire State After School Program: The FY 2019 Budget provides $10 million to fund a second round of Empire State After School awards. These funds will provide an additional 6,250 students with public after school care in high-need communities across the State. Funding will be targeted to districts with high rates of childhood homelessness.

Grow Early College High Schools: To build upon the success of the existing programs, the Budget commits an additional $9 million to create 15 new early college high school programs. This expansion will target communities with low graduation or college access rates, and will align new schools with in-demand industries such as technology, sports management and finance.

Invest in Charter Schools: Reflecting reforms enacted in FY 2018, the FY 2019 Executive Budget increases charter school tuition in alignment with public school spending, and provides New York City charter schools with a total per pupil funding increase of 3 percent. This allows charter schools to continue to innovate, recruit high-quality teachers and staff, and provide strong educational options for New York’s families and students. Additionally, the Budget increases support for new and expanding charter schools located in privately leased space in New York City by updating the charter facilities aid calculation to better reflect actual costs.

Invest in Nonpublic School Programs: Approximately 400,000 elementary and secondary students attend more than 1,600 non-public schools in New York State. The Executive Budget increases aid by 3 percent to $186 million to reimburse non-public schools' costs for State-mandated activities. The Budget also continues the two-year $60 million appropriation, first enacted in FY 2017, to accelerate reimbursement for the Comprehensive Attendance Policy (CAP) program. In addition, the Budget continues a $5 million reimbursement program for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) instruction.

Create Smart Start: The FY 2019 Budget creates the Smart Start program and provides $6 million to expand high-quality computer science and engineering education. Grants will support teachers with resources and professional development opportunities, and will further expose students to valuable curricula.

Ensure No Student Goes Hungry: The Executive Budget proposes legislation and additional funding for several new initiatives to provide students of all ages, backgrounds and financial situations access to healthy, locally-sourced meals to address child hunger.  Through the No Student Goes Hungry program, the State will ban “lunch shaming,” support breakfast after the bell, expand the Farm to School Program, and increase the use of farm-fresh, locally grown foods at school.

Expanding Access to Higher Education

The FY 2019 Executive Budget expands access to higher education by launching the second phase of the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarship program, advancing a comprehensive plan to combat exploding student loan debt, and passing the DREAM Act. The Budget also includes strategic investments that will ensure no student goes hungry on college campuses and provide New Yorkers with the tools and skills they need in the 21st century economy.

Invest $7.5 Billion for Higher Education: The Executive Budget provides a $7.5 billion in State support for higher education in New York- an increase of $1.4 billion or 24 percent since FY 2012.

Increase Funding for SUNY and CUNY: The Executive Budget provides SUNY and CUNY with more than $200 million in new resources to support the operations of the university systems while maintaining low predictable tuition ensuring access for all to a quality education.

Launch the Second Phase of the Excelsior Free Tuition Program: For the 2018-19 academic year, the Excelsior Scholarship income eligibility threshold will increase, allowing New Yorkers with household incomes up to $110,000 to be eligible. To continue this landmark program, the Budget includes $118 million to support an estimated 27,000 students in the Excelsior program. Along with other sources of tuition assistance, including the generous New York State Tuition Assistance Program, the Excelsior Scholarship will allow approximately 53 percent of full-time SUNY and CUNY in-state students, or more than 210,000 New York residents, to attend college tuition-free when fully phased in.

Combat Exploding Student Loan Debt: The Governor will advance a comprehensive plan to further reduce student debt that includes creating a Student Loan Ombudsman at the Department of Financial Services; requiring all colleges annually provide students with estimated amounts incurred for student loans; enacting sweeping protections for students including ensuring that no student loan servicers or debt consultants can mislead a borrower or engage in any predatory act or practice, misapply payments, provide credit reporting agencies with inaccurate information, or any other practices that may harm the borrower; and prohibiting the suspension of professional licenses of individuals behind or in default on their student loans.

Pass the DREAM Act: The Executive Budget includes legislation to launch the DREAM Act, opening the doors of higher education to thousands of New Yorkers. The DREAM Act will give undocumented students access to the Tuition Assistance Program, as well as state-administered scholarships.

Require Food Pantries on all SUNY and CUNY Campuses: As part of the Governor’s No Student Goes Hungry Initiative, all SUNY and CUNY schools will be required to either provide physical food pantries on campus, or enable students to receive food through a separate arrangement that is stigma-free so that all students on college campuses have access to healthy food options.

Investing in 21st Century Transportation Infrastructure

The FY 2019 Executive Budget continues New York State’s historic investments in the State’s transportation system, improving commuter rail systems, roads and bridges, increasing mobility, and supporting economic growth. The budget reflects the fourth year of a $59 billion transportation capital plan, which is enhancing and expanding the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) network, and improving roads, bridges, airports rail facilities, ports and transit systems funded through the Department of Transportation (DOT) budget.

Support the MTA Subway Action Plan:  The most significant new initiative in the Executive Budget is the MTA Subway Action Plan. The State will provide $254 million in operating aid to fully fund its half of the Action Plan that will address system failures, breakdowns, delays and deteriorating customer service, and position the system for future modernization. The Financial Plan assumes the operating aid will be funded from previously unallocated monetary settlements ($194 million) and the accelerated transfer of Payroll Mobility Tax revenue to the MTA by eliminating the need for an annual appropriation ($60 million). The Financial Plan also includes $175 million in new capital funding for the MTA as part of the Action Plan.

Transfer the Payroll Mobility Tax Revenue Directly to the MTA: The State currently collects and disburses the Payroll Mobility Tax (PMT) to the MTA. The Executive Budget proposes amending the state law so the revenue is directly appropriated to the Authority. Eliminating this unnecessary appropriation by the state legislature will benefit the MTA because PMT revenue pledged to bondholders under the new credit will have no risk of non-appropriation and PMT receipts will be received by the MTA in a more timely manner.

Support the Recommendations of the Fix NYC Report: The Fix NYC report, to be released this week, will address defining a geographic “pricing zone” and installing technology around the zone and establishing fees and hours. To ensure the plan is fair to people and industries, it recommends flexible and variable options and prices for different hours and for yellow/black/green cars/Uber/Lyft, trucks, and passenger cars.

Continue Support of the MTA Capital Plan: The MTA is investing an historic $29.9 billion in its transit capital program, including $8.6 billion in funding from New York State – the highest State investment ever. 

Continue Support of the Transportation Capital Plan: The State’s unprecedented $29.2 billion investment in DOT and Thruway Authority programs, enacted with the FY 2017 Budget, will ensure stronger State and local roads and bridges for years to come.

Expand Cashless Tolling: The budget supports the implementation of cashless tolling technology on all toll collection points along the New York State Thruway through Thruway funding sources. The initiative will improve customer service with no toll increase through 2020. Cashless tolling has been a pillar of the Governor’s effort to modernize our infrastructure all across the state and with more motorists using the Thruway system than ever before, cashless tolling represents a critical step in minimizing traffic disruptions and reducing congestion.

Maintain Record Commitment to Local Highways and Bridges: Funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and the Marchiselli program is maintained at $477.8 million.

Expand Operation of Autonomous Vehicles: Expands on the 2017 Autonomous Vehicle legislation to encourage more autonomous vehicle manufacturers to operate in New York, removing legal barriers. 

Supporting Local Governments

The FY 2019 Executive Budget continues Governor Cuomo’s commitment to reducing property taxes, improving local government efficiency, and assisting distressed local governments while maintaining core local government assistance.

Grow County-Wide Shared Services Initiative: Governor Cuomo has made a historic commitment to reducing local property taxes for millions of New Yorkers. New York State will build on the historic progress achieved by taking the next step forward to provide local governments with new tools to put money back in the pockets of middle-class families. The Budget includes $225 million to fund the State’s match of savings from shared services actions included in property tax savings plans. The Budget also makes the county-wide shared services panels permanent and corrects several bureaucratic hurdles that prevent localities from sharing services.

Continue Aid and Incentives for Municipalities: Maintains core local government assistance through the AIM program at $715 million in FY 2019.

Continue Mandate Relief for Counties: The Budget maintains support for the takeover of county Medicaid costs by eliminating required growth over the prior year. Local Medicaid savings will total $3.3 billion in FY 2019.

Safeguarding the Environment for Future Generations

The FY 2019 Executive Budget renews the historic funding level for the Environmental Protection Fund, preserves funding for the unprecedented $2.5 billion clean water program, and supports capital funding plans for environmental and recreational facilities. State agency and public authority funding will continue to make New York a leader in the clean tech economy, reduce emissions that contribute to climate change, and enable the transformation of the electric power transmission system to a distributed smart grid network.

Continue the Clean Water Infrastructure Act: The FY 2019 Budget continues the Governor’s historic multi-year $2.5 billion investment in drinking water infrastructure and source water protection actions that will enhance communities' health and wellness.

Renew Record Funding for the Environmental Protection Fund: The Budget continues EPF funding at $300 million, the highest level of funding in the program’s history. Appropriations include $39 million for solid waste programs, $86 million for parks and recreation, $154 million for open space programs, and $21 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program.

Advance the NY Parks 2020 Initiative and Create a New State Park: The FY 2019 Budget advances the NY Parks 2020 initiative, which is investing $900 million in State Parks by 2020, and allocates $90 million in New York Works capital funding to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. As part of Parks 2020, the State will invest $15 million to transform the former Pennsylvania and Fountain Avenue landfills into a 407-acre State Park on the shores of Jamaica Bay, creating the largest State Park in all of New York City with 3.5 miles of paths and trails.

Complete the Hudson River Park: The Budget includes $50 million in capital funding for the Hudson River Park, which will help fulfill the Governor’s commitment to complete the park, in partnership with New York City.

Support DEC Capital Projects through NY Works: The Budget includes $40 million for DEC to address a variety of capital needs to improve access to State lands, rehabilitate campgrounds, and upgrade its recreational facilities, all as part of the Adventure NY program. This funding will also provide for health and safety repairs to State infrastructure, including dams, wetland restoration, State lands, and fish hatcheries.

Contain and Treat the Grumman Contamination Plume: New York is fast tracking construction of a new, state-of-the-art well system to fully contain and treat the plume of contamination caused by industrial waste from the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman Bethpage manufacturing facilities in Oyster Bay, Nassau County. The Executive Budget includes sufficient appropriations to support expected outlays in FY 2019, and the State will pursue reimbursement from the U.S. Navy and Northrup Grumman. 

Attack Harmful Algal Blooms: Using resources from the Clean Water Infrastructure Act and the Environmental Protection Fund, the State will implement a $65 million initiative to combat harmful algal blooms in Upstate New York water bodies. The resources will be used to develop action plans to reduce sources of pollution that spark algal blooms, and provide grant funding to implement the action plans, including the installation of new monitoring and treatment technologies.

Overhaul Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment Facility: The Budget invests $20 million to launch phase one of the comprehensive infrastructure and operational improvements at the Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Expand Access to New York Grown Agricultural Products: Since its inception in 2013, the Taste NY program has helped 1,100 local companies reach consumers across the globe. The New York Grown and Certified program, since its launching in 2016, has certified over 1,475 farms, representing over 640,000 acres of farmland. Building on this success, the Budget continues funding for initiatives that connect New York’s food and beverage producers with consumers.

Enhance Food Safety and Inspection: The Budget includes $2.6 million for the Department of Agriculture and Markets to partner with the Office of Information Technology Services to provide a state-of-the-art food inspection system to modernize food safety.

Launch Unprecedented Energy Storage Initiative to Increase Transmission of Clean, Renewable Energy: To enhance New York’s ability to store renewable energy and dispatch it when needed, Governor Cuomo is launching an initiative to deploy 1,500 megawatts of energy storage by 2025 and employ 30,000 New Yorkers in this industry. 

Protecting the Health & Safety of Our Communities

Governor Cuomo is committed to expanding access to quality and affordable health care for all New Yorkers. From redesigning Medicaid to reduce costs and improve care, to embracing the Affordable Care Act and enrolling nearly one in five New Yorkers through the state’s marketplace, Governor Cuomo has transformed health care in New York State. This year, New York will continue to expand access to affordable and quality health care across the State while tackling the major health challenges facing our communities.

Establish an Opioid Epidemic Surcharge:  New York State, like much of the country, is battling a harrowing opioid epidemic. The Executive Budget imposes a new surcharge of 2 cents per milligram of active opioid ingredient on prescription drugs, directing all proceeds to the Opioid Prevention and Rehabilitation Fund. This new fund will expand prevention, treatment, and recovery services, with the express goal of cutting opioid-related deaths in half by 2021.

Preserving the Children’s Health Insurance Program: Congress has yet to pass long-term funding for CHIP, which directs Federal support to Child Health Plus, a successful program that has provided health coverage to approximately 350,000 children in New York State. Should funding be allowed to lapse for the program many of these children may lose health insurance coverage. The FY 2018 Budget authorizes program modifications, if necessary, to preserve CHIP.

Establish Health Care Shortfall Fund: The Budget establishes a fund to ensure the continued availability and expansion of funding for quality health services to New York State residents and to mitigate risks associated with the loss of Federal funds. This fund will be initially populated with funds from any insurer conversion or similar transaction.

Establish a Health Care Insurance Windfall Profit Fee: The Federal tax plan gives health insurers a 40 percent cut on their corporate taxes while also transferring health care costs to the State. Accordingly, the Budget imposes a 14 percent surcharge on health insurer gains to recapture $140 million of those corporate tax savings and reinvest it in vital health care services for New Yorkers. 

Support Direct Care Workers and Not-for-Profits: The Budget includes funding of $262 million, an annual increase of $237 million, to support the 6.5 percent salary increase provided to direct care professionals (3.25 percent in January 1, 2018 and 3.25 percent in April 1, 2018) as well as the April 1, 2018 3.25 percent salary increase for clinical workers employed by not-for-profit organizations rendering mental hygiene services on behalf of OPWDD, OMH or OASAS. 

Control Medicaid Costs: The Executive Budget reflects the continuation of the Medicaid spending cap enacted in FY 2012 and includes funding consistent with its provisions. The cap ties growth to the 10-year rolling average of the Medical Consumer Price Index (currently estimated at 3.2 percent).

Combat Addiction: Over $200 million in funding is being used to address the heroin and opioid crisis. The Budget includes an increase of $26 million (4.5 percent) in operating and capital support for OASAS to continue to enhance prevention, treatment and recovery programs, residential service opportunities, and public awareness and education activities.

Invest in Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities: For the fifth year in a row, $120 million in additional funding will be available to support increased respite services, to provide more employment and day program opportunities, and to provide additional independent and certified residential services.

Improve OMH Housing and Crisis Services: For the third consecutive year, $10 million in additional funding will support existing residential programs, while additional funding will support 200 more supported housing community beds and $50M in capital funding will be utilized to expand community crisis respite capacity.

Impose a Health Tax on Vapor Products: The Executive Budget imposes an excise tax of 10 cents per fluid milliliter on vapor products at the distributor level, equalizing the tax treatment of tobacco products and the equivalent products used in e-cigarettes, and continuing the State’s objective to reduce the use of tobacco products.

Study a Regulated Marijuana Program: The Budget includes funding to conduct a study in consultation with State agencies on a regulated marijuana program in New York State to determine the health impact, economic impact, criminal justice impact and consequences to New York State resulting from legalization in surrounding states.

Launching A Comprehensive Plan to Attack Homelessness

The Governor is committed to implementing innovative solutions to address the multi-faceted problem of homelessness. In 2016, the Governor launched a landmark $20 billion, five-year plan to combat homelessness and advance the construction of affordable housing in New York State. The FY 2019 Budget builds on these bold initiatives by continuing the state’s comprehensive approach to increase access to safe, clean affordable housing and end the homelessness crisis.

Continue $20 Billion Affordable and Homeless Housing and Services Initiative: The Budget continues to support the creation or preservation of more than 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing.

Increase Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness: To strengthen shelter services for homeless individuals living with mental illness in existing homeless shelters, Governor Cuomo will direct the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to work together to ensure that Assertive Community Treatment teams are connected to existing shelters, so that individuals with mental illness can access needed treatment. In addition, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services will make on-site peer-delivered substance abuse treatment services available in 14 existing shelters across the state.

Require Outreach and a Comprehensive Homeless Services Plan from Each Local Social Services District: Homelessness is on the rise and street homelessness is the most difficult problem to solve. Governor Cuomo will require that local governments have an effective outreach program to address street homelessness as a condition of receiving state funding for homelessness services. He is also directing that the MTA, the Port Authority, Centro, Capital District Transportation Authority, the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority and the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority do the same. The Governor will direct the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to require social services districts to engage in planning activities related to street outreach, homelessness prevention activities, rapid rehousing, and ongoing housing stability for the formerly homeless. The State will also require social service districts to engage with the State’s ongoing efforts, set reasonable goals that are data-driven and uniquely tailored to the needs of its communities, and to report regularly on progress made. The State will provide technical assistance throughout the planning process by releasing guidance related to best practices and policies that can facilitate success.

Advancing the Women’s Agenda

From the birth of the women’s rights movement at Seneca Falls to the recent passage of the most comprehensive Paid Family Leave policy in the nation, New York continues to champion women’s rights and break down barriers to equality. Governor Cuomo knows that when women succeed, New York succeeds, and he has made historic achievements to advance women’s equality, including the Enough is Enough initiative, the nation’s most aggressive policy to combat sexual assault on college campuses, a series of new laws aimed at achieving pay equity, stronger human trafficking laws, actions to protect domestic violence victims and improved access to breast cancer screening.

The FY 2019 Budget builds on that progress, advances equality for women, and protects women’s rights against federal attacks. More information on the 2018 Women’s Agenda is available here.

Combat Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: The Budget includes legislation to prevent taxpayer funds from being used for settlements against individuals relating to sexual assault or harassment. The legislation will also ensure harassers are held accountable by prohibiting confidentiality related to sexual assault or harassment, unless otherwise expressed by the victim, establishing a unit within the Joint Commission on Public Ethics to receive and investigate complaints of sexual harassment, and instituting a uniform code of sexual harassment policies across all branches of State government. Sexual harassment afflicts people of every gender, race, age and class, and there must be zero tolerance for sexual harassment in any workplace, including those of the State and local governments. 

Remove Firearms from Domestic Abusers: The FY 2019 Budget includes legislation that remove firearms from domestic abusers. To ensure that all domestic violence offenders are held to the same standard, the legislation will make it to so all domestic violence misdemeanors on the list of prohibited offenses are included among the offenses that prohibit firearm possession. 

End Sexual Extortion and Revenge Porn: The Budget includes legislation to address gaps in existing law created by advances in technology and widespread use of social media, which have enabled new forms of sexual exploitation.

Ensuring Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage: Contraception has been a critical tool for women to gain economic and social independence. The use, accessibility, and availability of contraception also reduces the rate of unintended pregnancy and abortion. The FY 2019 Budget includes legislation that protects the rights of New Yorkers to access contraception, including emergency contraception.

Creating a Smarter, Fairer Justice System

Governor Cuomo has advanced significant criminal justice reforms throughout his time in office, improving every stage of the justice system from arrest to community re-entry. Under his leadership, the State has invested more than $25 million each year in approximately 165 community-based alternatives to incarceration programs, which include rehabilitative therapies such as drug, alcohol, and mental illness treatment. Last year, Governor Cuomo enacted major reforms to the criminal justice system, including raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York State to 18 years of age and extending landmark Hurrell-Harring settlement’s indigent criminal defense reforms to the entire State. This year, Governor Cuomo will continue to take action to create a smarter, safer and fairer criminal justice system for all.

$100 Million to Implement Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility: Funding provides support for raising the age of criminal responsibility and reform measures, including comprehensive diversion, probation, and programming services for 16- and 17-year-old youth in the juvenile justice system.

Ensure Equal Justice for all Citizens: The FY 2019 Executive Budget proposes comprehensive reforms from arrest to trial, including allowing public safety to be taken into consideration in release and bail decisions to reduce pretrial detention, requiring prosecutors and the defense to share information in a multi-stage time frame prior to the start of the trial, ensuring access to a speedy trial, improving indigent legal services, and removing barriers to re-entry.

Continue the First-In-the-Nation Liberty Defense Project to Provide Critical Legal Representation to Immigrants: Last year, Governor Cuomo successfully launched the Liberty Defense Project, a first-in-the nation, state-led, public-private legal defense fund to ensure that all immigrants, regardless of status, have access to high quality legal counsel. In partnership with leading nonprofit legal service providers, the project has significantly expanded the availability of immigration attorneys statewide. As misguided immigration policy at the federal level continues to threaten New York’s immigrant families, Governor Cuomo will work to ensure that the Liberty Defense Project continue to sustain and grow the network of legal service providers providing these critical service in defense of our immigrant communities.

Advance the Child Victims Act: Under current law, child sexual abuse offenses cannot be prosecuted after five years from their occurrence and civil lawsuits for this conduct must be brought within three years from the victim’s 18th birthday. Legislation advanced in the Budget eliminates statutes of limitation for all felony sexually-related criminal cases when committed against a person who is less than 18 years of age, and extends the statute of limitations for civil claims to 50 years from the date of the offense. For any victim who is still unable to bring a lawsuit, the Governor would open a one-year window in which these victims are able to commence their claims.

Funding the Judiciary Budget: The FY 2019 Budget seeks a 2.5 percent increase for the judiciary budget – the only entity above 2.0 percent. Currently, a backlog of cases is keeping people in jail. To increase accountability and efficiency in the branch, there must be no half-day courts and trial judges must certify their courts are operating from 9 to 5.

Driving Economic Growth & Development

The FY 2019 Executive Budget promotes job creation and the revitalization of every region of New York by investing in key capital projects, emerging and high-impact industries, and continuing the state’s successful regionally-focused approach to driving economic development. The Governor’s bottom-up economic development strategy is contributing to an Upstate renaissance by creating jobs and expanding opportunities for all New Yorkers.

Continue the Successful 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 $5.4 billion to more than 6,300 projects. This strategy has resulted in 220,000 new or retained jobs in New York. The Executive Budget includes core capital and tax-credit funding that will be combined with a wide range of existing agency programs for an eighth round of REDC awards totaling $750 million.

Launch Next Round of the 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 ten REDCs based on the downtown’s potential for transformation. Through two 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 2019 Executive Budget provides $100 million for the Downtown Revitalization Program Round III.

Impose an Internet Fairness Conformity Tax: The Executive Budget requires marketplace providers to collect sales tax when they facilitate a third-party sale to New Yorkers, whether the seller is located within, or outside of, New York. Online providers such as Amazon and eBay supply a marketplace for sellers from outside of the online provider to sell their products to consumers. Currently, such outside sellers are required to collect sales tax from New York residents if the seller is in New York. Many marketplace providers agree to collect the tax for the outside seller in this instance.

Create Photonics Attraction Fund in Rochester: New York State will dedicate $30 million to a Photonics Attraction Fund, administered through the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, to attract integrated photonics companies to set up their manufacturing operations in the greater Rochester area. Thanks to the world-renowned AIM Photonics consortium, the Finger Lakes is already a leader in photonics research and development, and this additional State funding will help leverage this unique asset to bring the businesses and the jobs of tomorrow to New York State.

Advance Industrial Hemp Production: The State will continue the investment in Hemp research, production, and processing made in FY 2018 through a broad, multi-pronged program. The FY 2019 Budget provides $650,000 for a brand-new $3.2 million industrial hemp processing facility in the Southern Tier. New York State will import thousands of pounds of industrial hemp seed, ensuring that farmers have access to a high-quality product and easing the administrative burden on farmers. Further, New York State will invest an additional $2 million in a seed certification and breeding program, to begin producing unique New York seed. Finally, New York will host an Industrial Hemp Research Forum in February, bringing together researchers and academics with businesses and processors to develop ways to further boost industry research in New York.

Enhance North Country Lodging: The State will provide the North Country region with tools and resources to bolster tourism in the North Country and catalyze private investment in lodging. Empire State Development will commission a study to identify lodging development opportunities in the Adirondacks and Thousand Island regions, and provide $13 million in capital funding through the REDCs and Upstate Revitalization Initiative to spur development activity.

Fund the Innovation Hot Spots and Incubators Program: The Executive Budget authorizes $5 million in new funding to continue the fostering of innovation by offering start-up companies valuable business support services to help commercialize academic research and promote further collaboration between business and academia.

Support High Technology Grants: The Executive Budget authorizes over $35 million to support ongoing university-based matching grants, and other high technology research and development programs administered by the Department of Economic Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Grow the Clarkson-Trudeau Partnership: An additional $5 million is included in the Budget to support the partnership between the State, Clarkson University and the Trudeau Institute to form a world-class biotech enterprise and further establish the North Country Region as a premier center of biotechnology research and development.

Expand and Promote Tourism: The Budget includes additional funding to support the State’s tourism campaign and attract visitors from around the world. The program includes a sixth 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.

Invest in the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA): The Budget includes $62.5 million in new capital funding for ORDA, including $50 million for a strategic upgrade and modernization plan to support improvements to the Olympic facilities and ski resorts, $10 million for critical maintenance and energy efficiency upgrades, and $2.5 million appropriated from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation budget as part of the New York Works initiative.

Continue Commitment to Critical Economic Development Investments: The Budget includes nearly $35 million to support ongoing economic development initiatives including the New York State Economic Development Fund, the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Development and Lending Program, the Urban and Community Development Program, and the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program.

Launch Next Round of the New York Works Economic Development Fund: A second round of investment equaling $200 million for the New York Works Economic Development Fund will provide additional statewide capital grants to support projects that facilitate the creation of new jobs or retain existing jobs, or fund infrastructure investments necessary to attract new businesses or expand existing businesses.

Enhance the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Reform: The Brownfield Opportunity Area Program provides financial and technical assistance to municipalities and community based organizations.  These plans allow these communities and organizations to apply for designation by the Secretary of State and receive the accompanying Brownfield development tax credits.  The Budget includes legislation that would make enhancements to the BOA program to allow plans that are financed with local or other state funding to also apply for designation as well as reform the current BOA process to bolster efficiency.

Establish the One World Utica Welcome & Opportunity Center: The Budget provides $1.5 million to invest in the expansion of the formerly vacant Utica School of Commerce building to establish a “One World Welcome and Opportunity Center” in the heart of downtown Utica, which will provide workforce and vocational training to the Mohawk Valley region.

Further Investment in Life Sciences: The Executive Budget includes $600 million to support construction of a world-class, state-of-the-art life sciences public health laboratory in the Capital District that will promote collaborative public/private research and development partnerships.  

Preparing the Workforce of Tomorrow

Since Governor Cuomo took office, New York’s has created more than 1 million private sector jobs, and the State’s unemployment rate has dropped from 8.3 percent to 4.7 percent. But in the midst of this economic growth today, Governor Cuomo recognizes the urgent necessity of preparing New Yorkers for the good-paying jobs of tomorrow.

Establish $175 million Consolidated Funding Application: Building on the success of the REDCs bottom-up economic development strategy, the governor is establishing a new Consolidated Funding Application for workforce investments that would support strategic regional efforts to meet businesses' short-term workforce needs, improve regional talent pipelines, expand apprenticeships, and address the long-term needs of expanding industries – with a particular focus on emerging fields with growing demand for jobs like clean energy and technology. Funds would also support efforts to improve the economic security of women, youth, and other populations that face significant barriers to career advancement. The funding for the workforce CFA will consist both of $150 million in new, flexible resources and $25 million in existing streams of workforce funding.

Expand the New York Youth Jobs Program: To build on the success of the New York Youth Jobs Program, Governor Cuomo proposes to increase the maximum credit available to certified New York employers by 50 percent – raising the maximum tax credit from $5,000 to $7,500 for certified youth employed full-time and from $2,500 to $3,750 for those employed part-time. 

Summer Youth Employment Program: The Budget increases funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program by $4 million.

Create New Office of Workforce Development: Currently, there are dozens of programs available in various agencies, but if we are to maximize our capacity to meet the state’s workforce needs, the state needs to better integrate this fragmented process. The Office of Workforce Development will serve as a focal point of accountability and coordination for all workforce training programs for the state, including the new CFA program. Headed by a new Director of Workforce Development, the Office will establish standards for program performance and ensure alignment with the economic development goals of the state and the individual regions.