January 19, 2021
In today’s Executive Budget presentation, the Governor made clear that the fulfillment of the vision for the state’s recovery outlined in his State of the State address last week — that focused on vaccine distribution, telehealth access, housing affordability, and the role of child care and child tax credits — is dependent on federal stimulus to help close budget gaps and prevent budget cuts.
While we recognize the dire budget climate the state is facing and fully support efforts to obtain much-needed funding from the federal government, we firmly believe that investments in children and families now are the key to long-term recovery, and that already-suffering New Yorkers cannot bear the burden of additional service reductions. We are deeply concerned about cuts and cost shifts proposed in the Executive Budget, as well as additional cuts that may take place without additional federal funding.
In fact, CCC’s new study, Child and Family Well-being in New York State: Ranking Risk Across 62 Counties, illustrates just how crucial state and federal decisions will be to helping New York households recover from this health and economic crisis. Across the state, the depth of needs families and children face – poverty, housing insecurity, poor health, education and youth and community outcomes – require coordinated attention.
As a result of declining revenue and increased expenses related to COVID-19, New York State is facing a $15 billion budget gap that must be closed between FY 2021 and FY 2022. The Governor’s proposed budget attempts to close this gap through measures including increased taxes on higher incomes and a sales tax on the legalized sale of cannabis, while also assuming $6 billion in new federal aid will come to New York. With this assumption of federal aid, the Executive Budget includes several welcome proposals, including a $40 million investment to lower family copays for child care, telehealth reforms, extending the Nourish NY Program, and enhancing investments in the Essential Plan.
Sadly, the Executive Budget also proposes deep cuts to state education aid, but offsets them with federal dollars received from the supplemental stimulus passed in December 2020. Other proposed reductions include reductions in aid to localities, reductions in school aid reimbursements, and cuts to Medicaid. The budget also includes several provisions that will result in troubling cost-shifts to New York City, including to its public health, schools, and human services systems. The Executive Budget does include language that allows some of these cuts to be reversed if the state receives more federal aid.
There is no mistake that New York’s fiscal situation is dire and CCC stands ready to advocate for federal stimulus funding to ensure that New York receives the aid that the state and New York’s children and families require. We also stand ready to ensure, as we enter the state budget and legislative session, that tax policy and revenue options are aggressively pursued. At both the federal and state level, CCC will continue to draw attention to the services and supports children, families and communities need to not simply survive or recover, but to thrive.