February 4, 2016
CCC testified at the New York State Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means hearing on February 4, 2016 regarding the State Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Executive Budget proposals on Public Protection. 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 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. On the other hand, the $143.5 billion Executive Budget limits spending growth to 1.7%, below Governor Cuomo’s own 2% threshold. While we believe 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.
CCC is extremely concerned that the way that the Governor seems able to create new state-funded programs while remaining at 1.7% growth (which due to inflation translates into cuts), is by shifting nearly $1 billion in costs to New York City. This is not fair or equitable to the residents of New York City, notably the nearly 2 million children, 1/3 of whom are living in poverty. Requiring New York City to pay for its Medicaid increases, which no other county is responsible for, and shifting 30% of the costs of CUNY to the City, is unacceptable. To accommodate these huge costs, New York City would be forced to cut programming for its residents. In recent days, the Governor has seemed to indicate that the Medicaid and CUNY proposals would not cost the City money; we hope this is true and look forward to seeing the details.
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, CCC urges the Legislature to negotiate a budget with the Governor that eliminates the cost shifts and invest significantly more in the programs and services that will produce outcomes for the children and families throughout New York. Turning specifically to the proposals related to Public Protection, this testimony focuses on two key aspects of the Executive Budget: 1) supporting the Judiciary’s Budget request and 2) the plan to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York. CCC is in full support of both measures. Read our full testimony for details.