Community Update: State Budget, Vaccine Dashboard, Support for Small Businesses, & more

community updated 1 22 2021

Dear Friends:

This week, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office as the 46th President and 49th Vice President of the United States, respectively. I send my best wishes to the new administration and wish them luck in their plans to help our nation build back stronger.

On Tuesday, January 19th, Governor Andrew Cuomo released the 2021-2022 Executive Budget Proposal. Click here to watch the Governor's presentation. The 2021-2022 Executive Budget Briefing Book is available here. The official Joint Budget Hearings hosted by the Senate & Assembly to receive input on the Executive Budget Proposal have been announced. Click here for a list of the upcoming hearings and information on how to request to testify.

The Coronavirus Pandemic has decimated state revenues, and it is clear that we must commit to finding new revenues to share the burden equitably with those who can most afford it. As Chair of the Senate Education Committee, my top priority is to ensure increased funding for education to—at a minimum—meet the state's constitutional obligation to provide a sound basic education. Furthermore, I believe that we must confront the inequities laid bare by the pandemic and invest in the programs, services, and infrastructure to build back stronger. In addition to increased funding for education, I am pushing for the expansion of full day Pre-K for districts outside of New York City; free broadband for every student across the state; and ensuring adequate resources for compensatory education initiatives to help students meet learning benchmarks, particularly for students with special needs. I am committed to working with my colleagues to find a path forward that meets the acute need for additional funding for schools and other essential programs and services necessary for equity in the education system.

During this week's Legislative Session, I was pleased to join the Senate Majority Conference in adopting a package of legislation to help small businesses during this terribly difficult economic period. Included in the package was my bill, S.18A, to require the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) to increase outreach efforts about the Shared Work program. This important program helps small businesses reduce payroll expenses while keeping employees on payroll, and it helps workers by allowing them to collect Unemployment Insurance benefits proportional to reduced work hours. Read more about this package of legislation in the section below.

As always, if there is anything my office can assist you with, please don't hesitate to email me at smayer@nysenate.gov or call (914) 934-5250.

Shelley B. Mayer

Click here to read the full e-newsletter.