Paid Family Leave, ‘50 Hour Learning Week,’ and NYCHA upgrades among signature policy issues in budget resolution
Albany, NY — Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) and members of the IDC on Monday applauded the State Senate’s one-house budget resolution which advances key policy issues from NY 2020: A Blueprint for a Better New York.
Members of the IDC laid out a robust four-year agenda divvied into four pillars: Learn NY 2020, House NY 2020, Work NY 2020 and Live NY 2020 to uplift New Yorkers in every corner of the state.
Paid Family Leave, the “50 Hour Learning Week,” and capital improvements for NYCHA were chief among the proposals adopted in the Senate’s budget resolution.
“The Senate’s budget resolution addresses the needs of all New Yorkers. I’m extremely proud that today we’re advancing so much of the IDC’s vision to build up this state through inclusion of the IDC’s ideas on education, housing and employment. I’m particularly proud that we are one step closer to making Paid Family Leave, an issue I’ve long championed, a reality in New York State. No person should ever have to choose between what’s in their heart and what’s in their bank account,” said Senator Klein.
“Upstate revitalization depends on new job creation and meeting the needs of industries facing demand for skilled employees, and that’s exactly what this one-house budget resolution accomplishes. I applaud the State Senate for ensuring that, through our New Deal for New York’s Manufacturer’s Intermediary Apprenticeship Program, we can help companies create apprenticeship programs that simultaneously provide training and also put unemployed New Yorkers back to work. I am happy to announce the inclusion of the farm toll discount, which will provide meaningful relief to New York’s hardworking farmers. I am also pleased by the total elimination of the GEA. This is an ambitious budget resolution that will help keep upstate strong, and I am proud to support it,” said IDC Deputy Leader David Valesky (D-Oneida).
“The steps we take in this one-house budget resolution ensure that we will improve the education, housing, work and overall lives of all New Yorkers, not just for today, but for tomorrow. Our continued commitment to the New York Public Housing Authority addresses the deplorable conditions that tenants face, our renewal of the SCRIE/DRIE and SCHE/DHE expansions will help keep our seniors in their homes, and our funding the credentialing of direct care workers will ensure that our most vulnerable New Yorkers are well cared for, among other important programs. With this resolution, we have built a strong foundation for the New York of tomorrow,” said Senator Diane Savino (D-SI/Brooklyn).
“New York's middle class families deserve proposals that improve their quality of life and make government work for them. I strongly believe that the Senate's ambitious budget proposal laid out by the Majority Coalition will do just that by including a historic increase in school aid with the full elimination of the GEA, the inclusion of paid family leave, a Thruway toll freeze and middle class tax relief,” said Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland).
“Building an even stronger New York for the latter half of this century means leaving no one behind. It means giving schools the funds they need to deliver a quality education to every student, regardless of their color or their neighborhood. It means setting limits on the taxes that are forcing people out of their own neighborhoods while ensuring that the taxes they do pay directly improve their quality of life. It means not separating the human factor from our policies by allowing individuals to care after a sick family member, to have a child without sacrificing a career, to give our seniors the dignity of reliable housing and services. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in advancing a multi-pronged agenda that helps New Yorkers from every walk-of-life,” said Senator Tony Avella (D-Queens).
Included in the State Senate’s one house:
LEARN NY 2020
Schools across the state receive $1.655 billion in school aid, a $700 million increase over the Executive’s proposal.
The Senate supports the “50 Hour Learning Week,” to expand afterschool programs, create new Community Schools and ensure children receive full day kindergarten.
New York City’s specialized high schools lack diversity and the IDC wants to change that statistic by preparing students for the rigorous entrance exam. The Senate supports over $5 million for entrance exam preparation, school outreach coordinators and the expansion of gifted and talented programs in underserved areas.
The Senate supports the elimination of the Gap Elimination Adjustment to address school district deficits in upstate New York.
College students in New York, on average, wind up $26,000 in the red. To address the burden of student debt, the Senate recommends doubling the tuition tax credit, increasing tax-deductible deposits into 529-a college savings accounts and advances the pre-paid college tuition plan.
The Senate advances Erin Merryn’s Law to teach children about sexual abuse from grades K-8.
HOUSE NY 2020
NYCHA tenants face deplorable conditions like mold, leaking roofs and crumbling infrastructure. The Senate supports funding NYCHA capital improvements and empowering the New York City Council to have increased oversight over the Authority. The Senate supports Senator Klein’s NYCHA Repair Certificate to allow experienced builders to receive upzoning in exchange for major repairs to NYCHA buildings. The Senate also recognizes that our veterans and victims of domestic violence should receive preference for NYCHA apartments.
For seniors and disabled tenants, the SCRIE/DRIE program, which freezes rent at an affordable rate, is a lifeline. The IDC successfully pushed for the income cap to increase to $50,000 to address the needs of more middle-class New Yorkers that sunsets this July and drops down to a $29,000 threshold. The Senate eliminates the sunset for SCRIE/DRIE so that tenants can live out their golden years at home — affordably.
Senior and disabled homeowners also need help and the Senate enhances the SCHE/DHE property tax break for additional residents living on fixed incomes. Income eligibility for these crucial property tax exemptions to keep seniors and disabled citizens in their home would rise to between $50,000 and $58,400 from $29,000 with sliding scale rates up to $37,400.
New York City’s homeowners face major increases to their property tax bills because of a broken property tax assessment system. The Senate wants relief for these overburdened New York City homeowners through a 2% property tax cap.
The Senate supports funding a New York State Mortgage Assistance Program which helps keep New Yorkers facing foreclosure in their homes and a Community Restoration Fund which will address the fallout of the foreclosure crisis by establishing a revolving loan fund to stabilize properties and uplift communities impacted by the crisis.
The Senate advances the spirit of Mitchell Lama housing through funding the Middle Income Housing Program. The Senate also funds the Middle Income Housing Tax Credit at $25 million per year over the next ten years to help spur the creation of affordable, middle-income housing.
WORK NY 2020
Paid Family Leave will allow working- and middle- class New Yorkers 12-weeks off to care for a newborn or a seriously ill loved one. It will be funded by minimal employee contributions.
The New Deal for New York’s Manufacturers’ Intermediary Apprenticeship Program will be piloted in Syracuse. This program cuts the bureaucratic red tape small- and medium-sized manufacturers face in establishing apprenticeship programs to bring more skilled, good-paying jobs to New York.
The Senate supports funding for credentialing direct care workers who take care of our most vulnerable citizens.
The Senate adopts a farm toll discount to help New York State’s farmers stay in business.
The Hire-a-Vet tax credit, designed by Senator Klein to put our veterans back to work, is renewed. Businesses receive up to $5,000 for each veteran hired and up to $15,000 for each disabled veteran hired.
LIVE NY 2020
New York residents shell out the highest percentage of their paychecks for child care compared to any other state. The Senate alleviates the burden working parents face by expanding the child care dependent tax credit, funding more subsidized child care slots and increased funding for facilitated enrollment.
The Senate also wants children to be in safe facilities where their minds grow. The Senate supports funding the QualityStars program which helps child care centers improve their educational and organizational plans.
Modeled after a federal program to help low-income residents with heating costs, the Senate supports the creation of the IDC’s Senior Heating Assistance Program (SHEAP) to help seniors with their heating costs.
The Senate supports measures to prevent the financial exploitation of the elderly.
The Senate eliminates the sunset on Lauren’s Law, which creates expanded organ donation options on New York State driver’s license applications.
Funding for SNUG, an innovative anti-gun violence program that sends reformed gang members to high crime areas to help mediate disputes, is included in the resolution. In targeted areas in The Bronx gun incidents fell in two precincts by 53% thanks to this program.
The Senate advances Senator Klein’s social service siting policy to ensure that communities have a say before a homeless shelter or other social service provider opens. This would then allow the New York City Planning Commission to decide whether a proposal to site a shelter was approved, disapproved or needs modifications.
The Senate supports the creation of a courtroom on Rikers Island to alleviate the backlog in cases in The Bronx District Attorney’s Office and supports funding a Bronx/Rikers prosecution bureau to address this issue further.
The Senate recommends the MTA and NYPD study bus routes to zero-in on which lines have the highest crime rates so that police officers could be placed in these routes.