Every day New Yorkers and policymakers alike struggled to fathom the vast implications of what funding cuts to a myriad of federal programs could mean to public and private bottom lines. Indeed, we are still struggling, and with so many questions about how changes in domestic policy could impact New York’s finances, Governor Cuomo and State Legislators included in the final budget agreement a contingency plan that would allow them to act mid-budget year if adjustments are needed.
In the meantime, there were many critical wins and losses for New Yorkers in the final enacted New York State budget. Our staff have prepared analyses of some of the key areas we focused on this year.
In addition to continuing the same level of funding for the Office for New Americans to continue the work that has been done for the past several years to help non-citizens across the state, the final enacted budget included a significant new investment in resources to assist immigrants, with a particular emphasis on those facing deportation.
Community Health Advocates gets a bump, helping New Yorkers cope with the uncertainty and fear that federal threats to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act have created, while a solution to the home health aide shortage remains elusive for upstate.
When domestic violence impacts families of all backgrounds, civil and criminal orders of protection can be one of our most valuable and effective tools to help hold offenders accountable and keep victims and children safe. For limited English proficient language speakers, however, having this critical document issued in a language they cannot speak or read well undermines its very purpose.
The discussion of the Home Stability Support program and campaign must begin with New York State’s intersecting crises: the dire shortage of affordable housing around the state, and especially in New York City, and the soaring rates of individual and family homelessness.
This year, New York State’s budget provides $8.26 million in funding. DAPWorks for New York State, the funding campaign consisting of programs throughout the state, and spearheaded by Empire Justice Center, was able to maintain a $1 million increase in funding from 2016. The program is proud to have bipartisan support in the Senate and Assembly.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman agreed to provide further funding from settlement money proceeds under his control to ensure foreclosure prevention services continue throughout New York State.
Over the past few years, Empire Justice Center has been working hard to advocate for the Securing Wages Earned Against Theft (SWEAT) Bill [A.628 (Rosenthal)/S.579 (Peralta)] – legislation designed to fight against New York’s wage theft epidemic and to close loopholes in our state’s labor laws.
The recently enacted state budget has slashed the investment in child care by $7.5 million, with targeted reductions to subsidies and facilitated enrollment. As a result, at least 900 children in New York State will lose access to child care.
This year’s budget removed the exclusion of reverse mortgages from the definition of “home loan,” bringing reverse mortgage foreclosures into the mandatory settlement conference process.