For Immediate Release
January 20, 2017
After the release of the Executive Budget Tuesday night, Empire Justice Center expressed appreciation that funding is included in Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal for several key programs that assist New Yorkers living at or near the federal poverty level. This includes critical programs that:
- help disabled New Yorkers stabilize their incomes through accessing federal disability benefits,
- assist Seniors in accessing and maximizing essential health coverage,
- help all New Yorkers understand and get the best health insurance coverage they can access, regardless of the type of insurance,
- provide child care subsidy dollars that enable low income parents to put their children in quality child care while they work, and
- provide legal assistance to domestic violence victims.
However, with the exception of the Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program and child care subsidies, none of these programs were funded at previous year’s enacted budget levels. Empire Justice staff intend to work with the Governor and the Legislature to achieve additional investment to ensure that funding is increased to at least the previous year’s level.
One glaring omission in the Executive Budget was funding for the statewide Foreclosure Prevention Services Network that helps New Yorkers facing foreclosure stay in their homes. The sole source of funding for these services in New York State will dry up in the middle of the State Fiscal Year and requires a $10 million investment for housing counselling and legal services to be available beyond September 30, 2017 and an additional $20 million for the next State Fiscal Year.
Governor Cuomo did include a new and very welcomed proposal to provide assistance to seniors who default on reverse mortgages, which was exciting to see. That proposal, however, along with several other state programs and procedures, relies on the availability of the existing Foreclosure Prevention Services Network to function. Empire Justice Center plans to work with colleagues to recommend including funding for the Foreclosure Prevention Services Network in the Governor’s 30 day amendments.
Empire Justice staff are still reviewing the thousands of pages of budget documents for additional proposals and program funding, including a promising proposal to address wage theft.
Empire Justice Center looks forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to craft a budget that reflects the needs of all New Yorkers, with a particular focus on those in need.