New York State Budget Passed

After two long days of debates, the State Budget was fully passed by the New York State Legislature on April 7th. The State’s $212 billion spending plan includes various highlights, such as:

  • $111 billion in State Operating funds;
  • $29.5 billion in school aid, which is a $3 billion, 11% increase;
  • $7.7 billion in State support for higher education;
  • A $311 billion infrastructure plan which includes various provisions such as key elements of the Midtown West Redevelopment of New York City beginning with Penn Station, public housing support, transportation programs, and a $3 billion Environmental Bond Act;
  • $29 billion in public and private green economy investments;
  • Affordable $15 per month high-speed internet plan for qualifying low-income households;
  • A $2.4 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) that will support renters that experience financial hardship, are at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and earn less than 80% of their area’s median income. Individuals with the lowest incomes, unemployed individuals, and other vulnerable populations will receive priority. Under this program, renters will also be eligible to receive relief for utility arrears;
  • Establishment of the Utility COVID-19 Debt Relief Credit;
  • Extension of scholarship program eligibility for certain recipients affected by COVID-19;
  • Comprehensive nursing home reforms that require nursing homes spend a minimum of 70% of revenues on direct resident care and 40% of revenues on resident-facing staffing. The reforms also cap profits at 5% and target unscrupulous related-party transactions. Any excess revenues the State recoups will be deposited into the existing nursing home quality pool to help nursing homes meet high quality standards;
  • $1 billion small business and arts relief and recovery assistance, which includes $800 million in grant funding for small business and for-profit arts and cultural institutions, $25 million in grant funding to restaurants that provide meals to distressed and under-represented communities, $40 million in grants through the New York State Council on the Arts to eligible arts and cultural nonprofit organizations, up to $25 million in tax credits to support restaurants hard hit by COVID-19, and the New York City Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit, which provides up $100 million in tax credits to jump-start the industry and support tourism activity in New York City. The budget also extends the Musical and Theatrical Production credit for four years;
  • The legalization of Mobile Sports Wagering;
  • Telehealth reforms to increase access to such services;
  • $1 billion to strengthen local highways and bridges;
  • Adds $50 million to the Nourish New York Program for a total investment of $85 million to tackle food insecurity around the State;
  • A $2.1 billion excluded workers fund to provide relief to undocumented workers and other individuals who were previously excluded from previously receiving unemployment benefit payments over the past year;
  • Authorization of a tax check-off for gifts and food banks; and
  • $15 affordable broadband access for low-income individuals;