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Policy Matters February 2016: Budget Update


Here’s an update on where some of our budget priorities landed after the release of the Executive Budget Proposal.  We know, we know - we have some work to do!  We’ve gathered our forces and have been over at the Capital talking to legislators and decision makers, and will press on to make the law work for ALL New Yorkers.

Child Care
ASK: An investment of $90 million to implement new federal health and safety requirements, and $100 million to implement new federal programmatic requirements.

UPDATE: A $10 million increased investment was included in the Executive Budget proposal.  Susan Antos delivered detailed testimony  to the joint legislative committees on human services – go to page 10 for a detailed run down of what New York State needs to invest to save child care slots.  If the new federal requirements are implemented without additional funding from the state, Winning Beginning NY estimates 22,000 children will lose their child care subsidies. To build support for more child care funding, Winning Beginning NY launched the Child Care Day of Action campaign – see how you ca n have an impact on children’s lives today! #ChildCare190

Disability Advocacy Program (DAP)
ASK: A total investment of $8.26 million to continue to grow this successful program.

UPDATE: No increased investment was included in the Executive Budget proposal. Recently, DAP Advocates from all over the state came to Albany to meet with legislators and decision makers about the need for continued investment.  Another day of action in planned for March 1st.  #DAPWorksNY

Community Health Advocates (CHA)
ASK: Provide CHA with $5.5 million in the Department of Health’s budget.

UPDATE: A total of $2.5 million was included in the Executive Budget. To remain stable and avoid cuts in jobs and services, a total of $4 million must be invested.  Advocates have swarmed the halls of the Capitol to encourage the legislature to include this critical funding in the budget.  Amy Lowenstein, our Senior Health Attorney, presented testimony on this and many other critical health investments.

Civil Legal Services
ASK: Support the Office of Court Administration’s budget and restore legislative funding for civil legal services.

UPDATE: Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has retired, leaving the final installment of his legacy to be realized in this year’s budget.  The civil legal services community is rallying to build support for OCA’s budget proposal and to ensure that these much needed resources are included in the final budget.  Read our President & CEO Anne Erickson’s testimony before the joint legislative budget committees on public protection for more detail.

Health Care for Immigrants
ASK: Invest $10.3 million to exp and the Essential Plan to cover approximately 5,500 low income immigrants who are excluded from affordable health coverage.

UPDATE: No new investment was included in the Governor’s proposed budget.  The proposal to expand the Essential Plan to People Residing Under the Color of Law (PRUCOL) was also part of Amy’s Lowenstien’s health testimony.

Homelessness Prevention
ASK: Increase the shelter allowance to 50% of the HUD Fair Market Rent; increase the fuel for heating allowance for the first time in 28 years.

UPDATE: The Governor provided significant new funding in the Executive Budget to address homelessness and provide affordable housing for New Yorkers.  With this in mind, Empire Justice believes efforts must also be made to avoid homelessness and to use limited resources wisely.  One critical step in doing so is for New York to acknowledge and address the incredible disconnect between what the shelter and fuel allowances provided, and the actual cost of housing and heat.  This gap continues to grow each year, and is forcing families out of their homes and into more costly emergency housing.  This was included in our human services budget testimony (bottom of page 4), and even more detail can be found in our report, Turn up the Heat.

Foreclosure Prevention and Mitigation
ASK: Use bank settlement dollars to create a Community Restoration Fund.

UPDATE: As Kirsten Keefe’s testimony to the joint legislative committees on housing says, New York needs a non-profit fund that cares what happens to vacant and abandoned properties - we need a Community Restoration Fund to stabilize neighborhoods. 

We’ll be back to our regular Policy Matters at the end of the month, so stay tuned!  You can keep up with all our doings on facebook and twitter, and don't forget to sign up for our e-updates!

The Policy Team at Empire Justice Center


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