February 9, 2016
CCC testified at the New York State Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means hearing on February 9, 2016 regarding the State Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Executive Budget proposals on Human Services. We support many of the Governor’s new proposed investments, such as $100 million for community schools, creating 18,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years, expanding prekindergarten to more 3-year olds, and creating six new mental health services for children. We are extremely pleased to see that the Governor’s budget maintains funding levels established by the legislature for runaway and homeless youth services and the Foster Youth Success Initiative. We applaud the Governor for once again including a comprehensive and fully-funded plan to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York as it remains one of only two states that prosecutes all 16 and 17- year olds as adults, despite the research proving that this is detrimental both to public safety and to the young people. We urge the Legislature to negotiate a budget with the Governor that includes Raise the Age this year. We were also pleased to see that the Executive budget includes a number of proposals that will help all New Yorkers, and particularly the low-income New Yorkers in every part of the state. Specifically we support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, creating a Paid Family Leave program, and increasing poverty initiatives upstate.
On the other hand, the $143.5 billion Executive Budget limits spending growth to 1.7%, below Governor Cuomo’s own 2% threshold. While CCC believes in fiscal prudence, New York has seen recent economic growth, and this artificial cap limits the ability of the state agencies to sufficiently meet the needs of many children and their families. Given the state’s positive budget outlook and the fact that the State’s Budget needs to accommodate the needs of every county in the state, we urge the Legislature to negotiate a budget with the Governor that eliminates these cost shifts and invests significantly more in the programs and services that will produce good outcomes for the children and families throughout New York. Please our full testimony for more detail on the budget specifically as it relates to Human Services.