Category Archives: New York State politics

NYS Makes Significant Investment in Feinstein Institutes to Make Long Island a Life Sciences Global Leader 

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul at Northwell Health on Long Island announces new funding for the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research’s Center for Bioelectronic Medicine and funding to expand life sciences on Long Island, including a $50 million competition to incentivize commercialization of new discoveries © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the $350 million Long Island Investment Fund awarded its first grant to the The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research to construct 40,000 square feet of new state-of-the-art labs to support medical and infectious disease research. The $10 million Long Island Investment Fund grant complements an additional $30 million in State support previously awarded to the Feinstein Institutes to modernize 20,000 square feet of its Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine, which Governor Hochul opened today. New York State’s assistance is part of an $85 million modernization effort at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in Manhasset, Nassau County, and a broader initiative to highlight the growing life science industry on Long Island. The Feinstein Institutes is the research arm of Northwell Health and is one of the leading laboratory and research centers in the country, conducting cutting-edge studies that seek to cure diseases.

“New York is leading the way in medical innovation, and the Long Island Investment Fund will support life-saving research on the cutting edge of the life sciences industry,” Governor Hochul said.”Our investment in the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine is already improving the lives of everyday New Yorkers, and the additional Long Island Investment Fund award announced today reaffirms our commitment to remaining a national leader in the health and medical research fields. I am proud to support the Feinstein Institutes and their research, which will lead to life-changing medicine and treatments that will improve the lives of New Yorkers on Long Island and across the State.”

The field of bioelectronic medicine was born here, she said, thanks to the pioneering work of Dr. Kevin J. Tracey, President and CEO of Feinstein Institutes, and the funding will enable this work to be greatly expanded, attracting top scientists from around the world.

Included as part of Governor Hochul’s FY 2023 Enacted Budget, the Long Island Investment Fund focuses on projects that will support and grow the regional economy, enhance communities, and have lasting economic impacts across Long Island. The Fund’s $10 million award to the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research will support the renovation and construction of 26 new state-of-the-art research labs on two floors as well as the hiring of 10 new principal investigators and 60 research employees. These modernized labs will advance research efforts to develop novel therapies for cancer, diabetes, obesity, lupus, and other conditions.

Long Island has become a life sciences hub, with a defined corridor that links Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Labs (energy), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (genomics) and Northwell’s Feinstein Institutes.

The state is also launching a $50 million life science business competition on Long Island, in order to bridge the divide between research and commercialization, and bring the innovations to market with start-ups, many of which may well come out of the four research institutions.

In all, New York is investing $620 million in life sciences sector, statewide.

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul with Empire State Development’s President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight and Chairman Kevin Law, announce the $350 million Long Island Investment Fund, which will focus largely on developing life sciences research and businesses © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“The Long Island Investment Fund represents a strategic investment to further enhance the region as a powerhouse for the life sciences industry, which is an important driver of New York State’s economy,” Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said. “The Feinstein Institutes play a critical role in life-changing medical discoveries and therapeutics that can improve our everyday lives. ESD is proud to support the growth of visionary life sciences companies like the Feinstein Institutes, whose work is crucial to building a healthier and stronger Empire State.”

The Feinstein Institutes is the global scientific home of bioelectronic medicine, a growing scientific field that uses technology to read and modulate electrical activity within the body’s nervous system. The new, modernized labs at the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine will support discoveries to find cures that will reduce the need for drugs, reduce painful side effects, and give life back to people who are suffering. Early discoveries have emerged from its labs, opening new treatment options for patients with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, paralysis, and even cancer. Clinical studies in bioelectronic medicine have already yielded results with those who are paralyzed: recent research utilizing an over-the-skin spinal cord stimulation patch has allowed participants to regain their ability to move and feel. 

Governor Hochul acknowledged that the new technology could also help in the state’s effort to diagnose and treat Long COVID which is afflicting so many New Yorkers.

The Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine’s renovation includes wet-lab bench space, multiple tissue culture rooms, cold storage rooms, workstations for researchers, and a brand-new Biosafety Level 3 facility to allow new research into infectious diseases and other complex viruses, such as COVID-19. The expansion also supports the hiring of 13 new principal investigators and 100 new research employees.

Dr. Kevin J. Tracey, President and CEO of Feinstein Institutes, in one of the new labs devoted to making breakthroughs in bioelectronic medicine. The facilities are expected to attract world-class researchers © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Feinstein Institutes President and CEO Dr. Kevin Tracey said, “At the Feinstein Institutes, scientific progress is made every day. With the proper facilities and tools, we can help advance that progress even further. We are thankful to the Governor and Empire State Development for their funding of our new space, and we look forward to continuing our breakthrough medical research that will benefit our Long Island communities and beyond.”

Northwell Health’s President and CEO, Michael Dowling said,”This new facility and its resources, made possible by Governor Hochul and the Empire State Development, will allow our researchers at The Feinstein Institutes – Northwell’s home of research and the global scientific home of bioelectronic medicine – to pursue their mission of discovering new treatments to cure disease and improve the health of the communities we serve.”

Long Island is at the forefront of the life sciences industry as new research and discoveries in bioelectronic medicine – a new scientific field born and bred on Long Island – will attract the best and brightest researchers and world-leading strategic partners to create the cures that can transform lives. The life sciences industry has become a powerful engine of economic growth and innovation for New York, turning key regions of the State into dynamic life science hubs. Investing in life sciences is crucial to identify the next scientific or medical breakthrough that will develop new life-saving technologies. Through its support of the Feinstein Institutes’ growth, New York is expanding its ability to commercialize research and spur the growth of a world-class life science industry on Long Island and across the State.

“Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, New York is making smart investments to catalyze economic growth on Long Island. The Long Island Investment Fund will help the region thrive and strengthen New York’s leadership in the global innovation economy,” Empire State Development Board Chairman Kevin Law said. “The Fund’s $10 million award to the Feinstein Institutes reaffirms our commitment to the growing life sciences ecosystem that will support the advancement of game-changing medical discoveries.”

“Thanks to smart investments by the State of New York in partnership with the private sector, Long Island’s life sciences industry is growing and thriving, bringing great jobs to our community, and driving innovation that will make our world a better place,” State Senator Anna M. Kaplan said. “I fought for the Long Island Investment Fund to be included in this year’s state budget because we need to continue making smart investments in our community that build on our many strengths and make our region more attractive for private investors and job creators to set up shop and expand their operations locally. I’m thrilled that, thanks to this fund, the world-class Feinstein Institute for Medical Research right here in Manhasset will be able to modernize their Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine that’s doing incredible work to cure diseases and change the world.”

Dr. Kevin J. Tracey President and CEO of Feinstein Institutes discusses the breakthrough science of bioelectronic medicine © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

During a walk-through of the new and renovated labs, Dr. Tracey explained how bioelectric medicine involves building devices to control nerves, to treat disease. “Pick a disease, pick target, figure out the  neural signals to control target.” The technology can be used to activate immune system to intercept a disease. “Send the right neural signal to the right nerve to trigger immune system.” It can be used to create new neural pathways to restore function to stroke victims, and has application to rehabilitation, such as the loss of hand function after a car accident.

But, he adds, you can’t treat a disease until you understand its mechanism, which is why mental illness is not on the list at this time.

“Things are happening fast,” he said, The FDA granted the technology “breakthrough” designation, which means the innovations can be fast tracked.

Devices invented at the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine at Feinstein are used to track neural impulses sent to specific disease targets © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In the bioengineering lab, he points to the “wireless mouse” – not the computer device, but devices that can be inserted into a mouse to receive signals to stimulate specific nerves, and send the nerve recording back. A mouse is important for research because scientists can create disease in the mouse genetically, locate it, and generate the evidence that can be used to treat humans.

Investing in the Future of Long Island

The $10 million Long Island Investment Fund grant announced today complements historic initiatives and investments for Long Island:

  • $157 million investment — repaving 300 lane miles of state highways to date.
  • More than $457 million for school aid – a 12.7 percent increase compared to FY 2022.
  • $63 million for addiction treatment, recovery and prevention services.
  • The homeowner Tax Rebate Credit, with an average benefit of $1,300 for 494,000 Long Island homeowners.
  • $500 million to develop New York’s offshore wind infrastructure and supply chain – ultimately creating more than 2,000 green jobs.
  • Completing Long Island Rail Road’s historic Third Track project, allowing trains to run more often and creating a smoother ride for LIRR commuters.

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NYS Gov Hochul Signs Landmark Legislation to Strengthen Gun Laws, Bolster Restrictions on Concealed Carry in Response to SCOTUS Decision

Legislation (S.51001/A.41001) Restricts the Carrying of Concealed Weapons in List of Sensitive Locations

Institutes a Default of No Concealed Carry on Private Property and Businesses Unless Deemed Permissible by Property Owners

Establishes New Eligibility Requirements and Expands Disqualifying Criteria for Those Seeking Concealed Carry Permits

Enhances Safe Storage Requirements, Extends Requirements to Vehicles

Requires Backgrounds Checks for All Ammunition Purchases

Amends Body Armor Purchase Ban to Include Hard Body Armor Used by Suspect in Buffalo Shooting

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul has been steadfast in combating the epidemic of gun violence in the state and nation. Back in October 2021, she signed landmark legislation to crack down on “ghost guns,” untraceable firearms used by criminals to evade background checks. Immediately upon the Supreme Court striking down the state’s 111-year law restricting concealed carry permits, she called back the state legislature for a special session to enact new, landmark legislation to strengthen the state’s gun laws and concealed carry regulations to conform with the radical decision © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Barely a week after the Supreme Court struck down New York State’s 111-year old law regulating concealed gun carry permits, Governor Kathy Hochul signed landmark legislation to strengthen New York’s gun laws and bolster restrictions on concealed carry weapons. This package of new laws — drafted in close collaboration with the Legislature — is devised to align with the Supreme Court’s recent decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen. As a result of this decision, the State has taken steps to address the consequences of the Supreme Court decision and the resulting increase in licenses and in the number of individuals who will likely purchase and carry weapons in New York State.

“A week ago, the Supreme Court issued a reckless decision removing century-old limitations on who is allowed to carry concealed weapons in our state — senselessly sending us backward and putting the safety of our residents in jeopardy,” Governor Hochul said. “Today, we are taking swift and bold action to protect New Yorkers. After a close review of the NYSRPA vs. Bruen decision and extensive discussions with constitutional and policy experts, advocates, and legislative partners, I am proud to sign this landmark legislative package that will strengthen our gun laws and bolster restrictions on concealed carry weapons. I want to thank Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, and all of our partners in the Legislature for their willingness to take on this critical issue with urgency and precision. I will continue to do everything in my power to combat the gun violence epidemic.”

“Keeping the people of New York State safe is our greatest priority and I am proud to stand with the Governor and Legislature in enacting the measures put into place today,” Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado said. “With this action, New York has sent a message to the rest of the country that we will not stand idly by and let the Supreme Court reverse years of sensible gun regulations.”

Research has shown that violent crime involving firearms increases by 29 percent when people are given the right to carry handguns, caused in part by a 35 percent increase in gun theft and a 13 percent decrease in the rate that police solved cases. Today’s legislative package furthers the State’s compelling interest in preventing death and injury by firearms by:

  • Expanding on eligibility requirements in the concealed carry permitting process, including completed firearm training courses for applicants.
  • Allowing the state to regulate and standardize training for license applicants.
  • Restricting the carrying of concealed weapons in sensitive locations and establishing that private property owners must expressly allow a person to possess a firearm, rifle, or shotgun on their property. Individuals who carry concealed weapons in sensitive locations or in contravention of the authority of an owner of private property will face criminal penalties.
  • Establishing state oversight over background checks for firearms and regular checks on license holders for criminal convictions.
  • Creating a statewide license and ammunition database.
  • Strengthening and clarifying the law relating to the sale of body armor to include hard body armor, such as the type worn by the suspect in the Buffalo shooting and the safe storage of firearms.

The law will take effect on September 1, 2022. In addition, an appeals board will be created for those applicants whose license or renewal is denied or revoked, which will take effect on April 1, 2023.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said,”In response to the Supreme Court’s decision implying that guns are more important than lives in this country, we are passing legislation to ensure that New York State has safe and responsible gun laws. States are the last line of defense, which is why we are stepping up to protect New York from being easily flooded with concealed weapons and keeping firearms out of the wrong hands. These measures, in addition to the previous anti-gun violence legislation we passed, are vital in a time when there are more guns than people in America. New York will continue to prioritize people’s safety and lives, and I thank my conference, Speaker Heastie, and Governor Hochul for their partnership.”

Speaker Carl Heastie said, “In the wake of the Supreme Court’s dismantling our more than 100-year-old sensible concealed carry law, the Assembly Majority worked tirelessly alongside our Senate colleagues and the governor to ensure that our state has the strongest gun laws possible. We will not let this ruling make our streets less safe. Here in New York, the right to feel safe in public spaces is not secondary to unfettered access to firearms. And when this right-wing conservative court inevitably continues its assault on our democracy, we will remain as committed as ever to protecting the rights of every New Yorker.”

Last week, the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision ended a 100-year legal precedent requiring individuals to demonstrate “proper cause” to obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm. The existing law gave discretion to the state and its licensing officers in determining what constitutes “proper cause”, which the court cited as unconstitutional.

Governor Hochul has worked closely with the legislature to devise the following Legislation (S.51001/ A.41001), which carefully and strictly regulate concealed carry weapons while staying within the confines of the NYSRPA vs. Bruen decision.

Sensitive locations and Private Property

Certain locations are always unsafe for guns, and this legislation makes concealed carry in sensitive locations a punishable crime. Sensitive locations include:

  • Airports
  • Bars and restaurants that serve alcohol
  • Courthouses
  • Daycare facilities, playgrounds and other locations where children gather
  • Educational Institutions
  • Emergency shelters, including domestic violence shelters and homeless shelters
  • Entertainment venues
  • Federal, state, and local government buildings
  • Health and medical facilities
  • Houses of worship
  • Libraries
  • Polling sites
  • Public demonstrations and rallies
  • Public transportation including subways and buses
  • Times Square

The law also makes ‘no carry’ the default for private property, unless deemed permissible by property owners. This gives power to business and property owners to decide whether or not they want guns in their establishments, which could include bars, restaurants, shops or grocery stores. Property owners who do decide to allow concealed carry will have to disclose with signage saying concealed carry is allowed on the premises. This allows people to make an informed decision on whether or not they want to be in a space where people could potentially be carrying a weapon.

Expanded Eligibility Requirements and Disqualifying Criteria

The legislation expands eligibility requirements for concealed carry permit applicants. Expanded application requirements include character references, firearm safety training courses, live fire testing, and background checks. Additionally, applicants who have documented instances of violent behavior will be disqualified from obtaining a concealed carry permit. Disqualifying criteria also includes misdemeanor convictions for weapons possession and menacing, recent treatment for drug-related reasons, and for alcohol-related misdemeanor convictions.

Safe Storage

Today’s legislation also implements new safe storage requirements for rifles, shotguns, and firearms. Gun owners will be prohibited from leaving a gun in their car unless it is stored in a lockbox. Additionally, state law previously required that guns be stored safely in a home if someone under 16 resides there, but new legislation will require safe gun ownership in a home if someone under 18 resides there.

Ammunition Background Checks

The legislation allows the state to conduct and have oversight over background checks for firearms and run regular checks on license holders for criminal convictions. State background checks will go beyond those conducted by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System maintained by the FBI, which lack access to crucial state-owned and local-owned records and databases that provide a more accurate assessment of an applicant’s background. Research has found that states that perform their own background checks, instead of solely using the federal database, experience 27 percent lower firearm suicide rates and 22 percent lower firearm homicide rates. The legislation also requires background checks for ammunition sales and creates a statewide license and ammunition database.

Body Armor Amendment

Under current law, a “body vest” has a limited defined as a bullet-resistant soft body armor. This legislation will redefine body vests to encompass a broader array of protective equipment that is bullet resistant, expanding current purchase and sale prohibitions to include hard body armor. During the Buffalo tragedy, the shooter was wearing a steel-plated vest which would be captured under this new body armor definition.

Rebecca Fischer, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence said, “Even as the gun industry attacks our sensible gun laws, our communities, and our children, we know we can count on New York State’s leadership to protect us time and time again. Last week, the gun-lobby backed U.S. Supreme Court overhauled New York’s concealed carry licensing law, a law that has helped keep New Yorkers safe for over a century.  Last night, our state took swift action by enacting new laws that will strengthen our public carry permitting process and enable New Yorkers to live safely in sensitive places across New York.  We applaud Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Carl Heastie for being model leaders for our nation as we continue to address the gun violence crisis and save lives.” 

New York State Crime Data Shows Enforcement Works to Combat Gun Violence Epidemic

State Police Have Seized 662 Guns in 2022, Represents a 98 Percent Increase Compared with the Same Period in 2021 

Ghost Gun Seizures Have Increased 38 Percent Compared with Same Period in 2021

State Police Have Conducted 346 Gun-Tracing Investigations in 2022, Resulting in 70 Investigative Leads Across 22 States 

Exhaustive Efforts Coincide with First Drop in New York City Gun Violence in More than Two Years, Shooting Incidents Down 12 percent in New York City Compared with Last Year

Shooting Incidents Down Nearly 7 Percent in 20 Jurisdictions Participating in State Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) Initiative

Governor Hochul Continues to Work Closely with the Legislature on New Policy in Response to Supreme Court Concealed Carry Ruling; Extraordinary Session Set for Thursday 

New Yorkers come out in force to end the gun violence epidemic. State crime data shows the state’s efforts to enforce gun laws bring down the rate of gun crime.  © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Hey you Christo Fascists on the Taliban Court and Republicans in the clutches of the NRA, pretending to run on an anti-crime platform to justify racist injustice! It appears gun control laws actually do save lives – that is, if the federal government weren’t barred by the NRA and gun lobby from collecting data, or allowing physicians, pediatricians to suggest parents store their weapons safely. New York State just released its own data on gun seizures, gun-tracing and gun-related crime that proves a state’s efforts and strategic investments to stem the gun violence epidemic actually work. Not that you actually care, even though you claim to be “pro-life.” Nonsense. Commonsense gun safety laws work  (so does women’s reproductive freedom and access to safe health care) work. Here’s the fact sheet:

Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled new data on gun seizures, gun-tracing investigations, and gun-related crime that indicates New York State’s exhaustive efforts and strategic investments to combat the gun violence epidemic are beginning to show signs of progress. The data includes a substantial year-over-year increase in State Police gun and ghost gun seizures—both coinciding with the formation of the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns. The Governor also highlighted the first discernible drop in New York City gun crime in more than two years—with a 12 percent reduction in shooting incidents over the last year. Outside of New York City, 20 jurisdictions participating in the State’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative have experienced a nearly seven percent drop in shooting incidents compared with last year.

“With substantial state investment in gun violence prevention programs and unprecedented collaboration between law enforcement agencies, we are beginning to see meaningful progress in our exhaustive efforts to eradicate gun violence from our communities,” Governor Hochul said. “We are aggressively ramping up our efforts to get deadly weapons—including ghost guns—off of our streets, and have developed hundreds of investigative leads spanning 22 states—work resulting in the first discernible reduction in gun violence in more than two years. While this is undeniable progress, our work is just getting started. In the wake of the reckless Supreme Court decision to strike down the ‘proper cause’ provision of New York’s concealed carry law, I am convening an extraordinary session of the legislature tomorrow, where we will enact new policy that carefully regulates access to concealed carry permits within the confines of the decision. My staff has been working with the legislature around-the-clock to get this done right. We will stop at nothing to protect New Yorkers.” 

“I join with Governor Hochul in calling for common-sense legally sustainable gun laws that will keep New Yorkers safe,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado“The Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns is making great progress but more work still needs to be done to ensure guns aren’t falling into the wrong hands, and with the meeting of the Legislature this week we hope to soon have sensible concealed carry laws in place to help protect New Yorkers on public transportation and in businesses.”

Governor Hochul outlined these key highlights during a press conference following a meeting of the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns at the New York State Intelligence Center in East Greenbush. The meeting included law enforcement representatives from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Quebec, as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the New York City Police Department. Key highlights include:

  • Between January and June, State Police seized 662 guns. That represents a 98 percent increase over the same period last year.  
  • Non-NYC state gun seizures (State Police + other non-NYC jurisdictions) are up 94 percent compared with 2020 and 40 percent compared with 2021. 
  • Year to date, State Police have conducted 346 gun-tracing investigations. From these cases, they have forwarded 70 investigative leads to 22 states.  These cases are investigations of residents of those states being arrested in New York for illegally possessing and trafficking on firearms. 
  • Ghost gun seizures have increased 1800 percent since 2018, 212 percent since 2020, and 38 percent when compared with the same period last year. Law enforcement statewide have seized 360 ghost guns year-to-date. State Police have seized 65 ghost guns in 2022, four more than were seized in all of 2021. 

Data unveiled during today’s announcement shows that improved collaboration between cities, states, and federal partners is beginning to pay dividends, particularly in New York City, which saw the first significant drop in gun-related violence since May 2020. State Police and DOCCS are working closely with the NYPD and other partners through the Gun Violence Strategic Partnership (GVSP) and compared to last year, murders in New York City declined 13 percent and shooting incidents decreased by 12 percent.

Local law enforcement agencies also are making noticeable progress outside of New York City. The State’s GIVE initiative —administered by the Division of Criminal Justice Services—provides state funding to local law enforcement agencies for personnel, equipment, training, and technical assistance. GIVE supports 20 departments in 17 counties that account for more than 80 percent of violent crime in the state outside of New York City. Compared with last year, shooting incidents involving injury are down nearly 6 percent and the number of shooting victims declined by nearly 7 percent across GIVE jurisdictions. This year’s reduction in gun violence comes after significant increases in these jurisdictions in 2020 and 2021, including a 75 percent increase in shootings involving injury from 2019 to 2020. Working with the legislature, Governor Hochul secured $18.2 million in funding for GIVE in the FY 2023 State Budget — the largest state investment in the program since its 2014 inception. 

State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said,”Thanks to the Governor’s leadership and continued support of the State Police, we continue to work with law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in New York State, around the northeast, and in Canada, to slow the tide of illegal guns that are finding their way into our communities. Our members are focused and committed to reducing gun violence, and we are encouraged by the progress we have made in recent months.”

Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, “The past two years have been extremely challenging for our GIVE partners and the communities they serve. They have seen first-hand the devastation wrought by gun violence but they also know that evidence-based strategies implemented through GIVE are effective in reducing shootings and saving lives. We thank Governor Hochul for her support and investment in this initiative and commend our law enforcement partners for the work they do every day to serve and protect their fellow New Yorkers.” 

Governor Hochul is convening an extraordinary session of the legislature on Thursday, June 30 to pass new gun safety legislation in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen. The decision reversed a 100-year-old legal precedent requiring individuals to demonstrate “proper cause” to obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm. In response, the administration continues to work closely with the legislature to devise new policy that will strictly and carefully regulate access to concealed carry permits while remaining within the confines of the law. 

While the Supreme Court decision has long-term implications, it has no immediate impact on firearm licensing or permitting. This means people cannot immediately legally carry a concealed firearm without obtaining the currently required permits or licenses. As of now, the application process to obtain a license or permit is unchanged. Those wishing to change their permit status to acquire an “unrestricted carry” permit must file an application with their designated local licensing authority. Gun owners must continue to follow current restrictions.    

The announcement builds on Governor Hochul’s continued commitment to aggressively attacking the gun violence epidemic in New York State. Earlier this month, the Governor signed a landmark legislative package to immediately strengthen the state’s gun laws and close critical loopholes exposed by shooters in Buffalo and Uvalde. The ten-bill package bans the sale of semiautomatic rifles to anyone under 21 by requiring a license, puts restrictions on the purchase of body armor for anyone not engaged in an eligible profession, and strengthens the Red Flag Law. 

The FY 2023 State Budget includes $227 million to fund bold initiatives that will strengthen the gun violence prevention efforts of law enforcement and community-based organizations. It includes $13.1 million to expand the use of Community Stabilization Units, $18 million in direct support to local law enforcement for gun violence prevention, $20 million for regional needs in the aftermath of gun violence, and $3 million for the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.  

NYC’s Chinatown Welcomes Year of Tiger With Lunar New Year Parade

US Senator Chuck Schumer, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams kick off the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

New York’s Asian American community welcomed the Year of the Tiger with its traditional Lunar New Year parade, but with some important differences: glee after a COVID hiatus and a measure of assertiveness to counter the uptick in hate crimes these past two years. There was more political messaging – pushing back against a city plan to locate a jail in the community and standing firm against hate crimes directed at the community. It is also an opportunity for politicians to show support for the community, which numbers 1.6 million in New York City.

US Senator Chuck Schumer, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams kick off the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“When I see this crowd, it says to me one thing, that New York is as strong as the tiger,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in her remarks to start the parade. “We are tough, courageous, resilient, and we always fight back. That’s what this parade symbolizes. We were here just before the pandemic and yes, it took us down and it was very difficult for many of our communities, our businesses.

“I walked these streets, and this was a ghost town for too long. We came here with Steven and others, but we are back. And I also want to say that the State of New York, my administration, is committed to one program I believe is going to make a huge difference here. We’re putting $10 million toward helping mental health and social services for this community to help people rise up, rise up and deal with all the challenges.

“Stop Asian Hate.” Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“We will continue to fight back against every form of hate as it rears its ugly head. We have your backs, and we stand with the Asian community, 1.6 million strong here in the State of New York.

“We are so powerful. Let us roar like the tiger as we continue to fight our way back, claw our way back, because we are New York! Happy New Year!”

Sending messages to politicos at the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The $10 million in awards will go to community-based organizations providing services to Asian American communities that were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding, allocated in the FY 2021-22 budget, will be distributed through the Asian American Federation (AAF), the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), and the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), as well as other organizations. There will be a focus on community programs and providers that bring services and supportive programs directly to New York’s Asian American communities. This will be the largest investment in the Asian American community in New York State history.

“Stop Asian Hate.” Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on so many vulnerable and marginalized communities across New York State,” Governor Hochul said.”The Asian American community was especially hard hit, not only by the virus, but by an increase in hate and violent crimes. With this $10 million in funding, we are sending a strong message that hate has no home here, and we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and brothers in the Asian American community. My administration is laser focused on continuing to help communities that have for too long been forgotten, not only as we recover from this pandemic, but for years to come.”

“Stop Asian Hate.” Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council Wayne Ho said,”We would like to thank the Governor’s Office and State legislators for critical funding to support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The increase in anti-Asian violence and hate combined with the economic devastation of the pandemic have left our community in crisis. In the past year, CPC has served over 125,000 New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds through our essential services, financial assistance, and pandemic relief efforts. CPC looks forward to receiving this funding from the State to continue addressing our community members’ health, economic, and safety needs.”

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund march in the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Executive Director of the Asian American Federation Jo-Ann Yoo said,”We thank Governor Hochul for her investment and commitment in providing the resources that New York’s Asian American community needs now more than ever. With the tragedies that our community has experienced since the start of the pandemic, and painfully so over the last few months, many Asian Americans are fearful for their own lives when stepping out of their homes. Governor Hochul’s leadership shows that our voice is not going unheard as we ask for support to overcome this trauma. Today’s announcement is the start of much work to be done, and we look forward to working with the Governor and State and City elected officials to ensure that New York’s Asian American community is protected and given the resources to preserve past this crisis.”

“Thank you Governor Kathy Hochul.” The governor is allocating $10 million in awards to community-based organizations providing services to Asian American communities that were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and took a strong stand against hate crimes directed at the Asian American community © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

At least two of the floats carried banners with Governor Hochul photo, with a giant “thank you.”

Hochul was joined on the podium by a number of politicians, including US Senator Chuck Schumer, NYC Mayor Eric Adams, State Senator Brian Kavanaugh and NYC Comptroller Brad Lander,

Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels who lost his bid to become NYC Mayor, marches in the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The parade and festivities returned after last year’s coronavirus hiatus, and so were the crowds to enjoy the display of culture and pride by the Asian American community. Here are photo highlights from the parade through New York City’s Chinatown:

Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lion dancer works the crowd at the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Stronger Together” is the message at the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Asian American culture and pride on view at the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Asian American culture and pride on view at the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

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© 2022 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Governor Hochul Unveils Budget for Bold Agenda to ‘Embrace This Moment of Possibility, Redefine New York’s Destiny’

NYS Governor Kathy Hochul: “This is a moment of a great possibility, a once-in-a-generation chance to reconsider what is possible for our state. And this really is the beginning of New York’s next great comeback. I declared a New Era for New York, and it continues today.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

NYS Governor Kathy Hochul: “This is a moment of a great possibility, a once-in-a-generation chance to reconsider what is possible for our state. And this really is the beginning of New York’s next great comeback. I declared a New Era for New York, and it continues today.”

This is a highlighted transcript of New York State Governor Kathy Hochul’s budget message:

Two weeks ago in my State of the State speech, I proposed a whole new era for New York. One in which my administration, my fellow statewide elected officials and the legislature will finally work together to deliver for New Yorkers. But before I deliver our positive budget trends, let’s look at another trend, which is increasingly positive.

Today, positive COVID cases are at 22,312 down 75% from our peak of 90,132 on January 7th, less than two weeks ago and that’s incredible. And cases dropped 34% in the last seven days while cases across the rest of the United States went down only by five percent. Our positivity rate is down to 12.48%, nearly an 11% drop from the peak on January 2nd and hospitalizations continue to trend downward as well.

So we hope to close the books on this winter surge soon. So we can turn the page and open the book on our 2023 budget outlook and focus on the post pandemic future. As I said, since I took office 147 days ago, my top priority is to confront this pandemic head-on and to save lives, protect the health of New Yorkers and protect the health of our economy.

But we also must pass a bold agenda that’ll do more than just help us recover from this crisis. We need to embrace this moment of possibility and use it to redefine New York’s destiny. How? First by rebuilding our healthcare and teacher workforces, providing tax relief to those who need it the most, speeding up economic growth and creating good paying middle-class jobs, strengthening our infrastructure and confronting climate change, securing public safety and protecting our communities, making housing more affordable and ensuring every New Yorker has a roof over their head, enacting bold reforms that will restore trust in state and we’re changing the culture and creating workplaces that are free of harassment.

This is an extraordinary time and it will be met with extraordinary solutions. The policies I laid out two weeks ago are ambitious, but as I said, just as importantly, they’re realistic and achievable. And we’re in a position to fully fund them by making historic investment,  like record aid to education, the biggest capital plan for infrastructure that our state has ever seen, and a groundbreaking program to rebuild the healthcare industry. But we’re also being smart and responsible recognizing that we need to fund our reserves to historic levels as well. So I’m proud to say that today we are submitting a balanced executive budget for fiscal year 2023 to the legislature.

Our state is in a strong financial position due to a combination of factors, increased tax receipts, a thriving stock market, and an influx of federal aid through the American rescue plan and the infrastructure act, some of which have already been received, some with more still to come. Looking forward, our base level forecasts are equally optimistic.

We predict we’ll be able to continue to balance the budget and be able to make these types of bold but necessary investments all the way through fiscal year 2027. And this is a big change from where we were just this time last year. When the division of budget projected deficits totaling $17 billion during that same timeframe.

So this is a once in a generation opportunity to make thoughtful, purpose-driven investments in our state and in our people that will pay dividends for decades. And that’s exactly what my budget will do.

But this is also about meeting New Yorkers where they are now, frustrated by a persistent pandemic, anxious about rising prices for everything from milk to gas to housing, worried about whether or not their paycheck will be enough to make ends meet and stressed, most of all, about their kids, the quality of their education, affordability of childcare, and even thoughts about what their future will be in a world beset by climate change.

So New Yorkers, this budget is for you and about you. And how I propose to use the entirety of our $216 billion budget to directly address the immediate needs of New Yorkers and at the same time positively impact people’s lives and livelihoods for decades to come first. First, we’ll respond to this pandemic head-on by following the science and the data, and doing whatever it takes to ensure that our recovery is swift and far-reaching.

That’s why we’ve set aside $2 billion for pandemic recovery initiatives. I’ll work with the legislature to identify the most impactful use of these funds in the short term, whether that’s held for struggling, small landlords and their tenants, or the hardest hurt industries and workers, or for other purposes.

Now let’s talk about putting more money back into people’s pockets. Rather than raise taxes, this is about tax relief. Accelerating a $1.2 billion tax cut originally scheduled to take effect between 2023 and 2025. This [means] way more than 6 million middle-class taxpayers getting their much-needed money a lot sooner.

At a time when inflation is robbing families of long awaited gains and income, and recognizing that property taxes are still too high, we will provide a $2 billion property tax rebate to more than 2 million middle-class homeowners. And we’re delivering $250 million in tax credits for small businesses to help them pay for COVID related expenses.

In addition to that, we’re having new support for farms and other small businesses, hit so hard by this pandemic. We need to help them not just survive, but to thrive. And using the unprecedented fusion of money from our leaders in Washington, starting with President Joe Biden, New York will see the largest investment in our state infrastructure ever through a $32.8 billion capital plan.

The boldness I outlined in my State of the State address will be realized. I’m putting the dollars behind making long-term overdo repairs to our roads, and our bridges, building new transit options, modernizing existing transit and hubs and revitalizing communities. I’ve also declared war on potholes. So here’s the first shot across the bow: a $1 billion plan called Operation POP: Pave Our Potholes, and this strategy takes us from potholes to not-holes. For me, infrastructure is a quality of life issue. It’s about creating connections, connecting neighborhoods, connecting people to jobs, connecting people to their family members and loved ones. And we’ll finally be able to strengthen those bonds across our state, using cash rather than borrowing money. So future generations are not hamstrung by the commitments we make today.

One way we’ll do that is by reconnecting neighborhoods that were severed by asphalt highways, and these all disproportionally impacted communities of color, like the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo, I-81 in Syracuse, the Inner Loop in Rochester, and the Cross Bronx Expressway. 

And one hard lesson we learned about what happens when there’s a lack of investment is how our healthcare system crumbled under the stress of the pandemic.

And that’s why we’re making up for lost time and positioning the state to have better footing going forward with the largest investment in healthcare in State history, $10 billion. One of our shared values as New Yorkers is that everyone deserves the dignity of access to quality health care, especially during a public health crisis. In my State of the State speech, I promise to start by rebuilding our healthcare workforce. They’re the heroes of this pandemic, so let’s stop talking about the debt we owe them, and actually pay them what they deserve. And that includes more than $1 billion in bonuses. We’ll also work to rebuild our medical facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals, which have been crushed by this pandemic, through a $1.6 billion capital program to help them make much needed upgrades.

We’re also going to invest in education, strengthening our teacher workforce and supporting students’ mental health. We’ll provide more than $31 billion in aid for our schools. Continuing our commitment to fully fund education and foundation aid. And that brings us to the highest level the State has invested in education ever. And this should be used to continue expanding our pre-K program to school districts all across the state, and for much needed after school programs. Because working parents need all the support they can get. We’re also increasing our investments in childcare, to more than $1.4 billion. This will make 400,000 more families eligible for childcare subsidies, and we’ll invest more in childcare workers as well.

To boost our economy, we’ll make significant investments in our workforce development programs, support for small businesses, and the revitalization of downtowns across the state. So we can be the most worker friendly and business friendly state in the nation, with all the different engines of our economy firing in all cylinders. And we’ll ensure that the new businesses we’re going to draw to New York will have access to a well-trained and educated workforce. And how we do that is by making our statewide higher education system, the very best in the entire nation.

We’re going to increase operational support for SUNY and CUNY, the engines of social mobility, and we’re adding $1.5 billion over the next five years. And we’re investing $150 million into the expansion of the tuition assistance program, so it’s available to part-time students giving them a chance, which means more students won’t have to choose between work and getting their degree. We’ll also make that assistance available to people in prison as part of our jails-to-jobs initiative.

And we’re going to confront that climate crisis with the urgency that is required. That’s why my budget includes $4 billion for the landmark Clean Water Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond act, in the largest ever investment in the Environmental Protection Fund. We must speed up our transition to clean energy and you are we’ll lead the way by making a nation-leading $500 million investment in offshore wind energy.

And we have to confront the housing affordability crisis. And one way we’ll do that is by advancing a new $25 billion five-year housing plan to create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes, including 10,000 homes with supportive services for vulnerable populations. And everyone deserves to feel safe on the streets, in schools, in their homes, and in their communities, and during their commutes, and in too many communities, they just don’t. So we’re going to prioritize public safety. Starting with $224 million investment into programs that will reduced gun violence and other programs to help children in our streets, and will confront the other public health crisis that is taking far too many New Yorkers lives and will take it on head-on because that is something that has destroyed the lives of too many of our loved ones.

So we’re going to make a $400 million dollar multi-year investment in opioid and substance abuse addiction service. Of course, this is just a small sampling of everything that’s included in the 2023 budget. But the bottom line is that we’ll make smart investments to ensure we not only recover from this pandemic, but emerge from it stronger than ever before.

And I want to be very clear. We’re going to do it by taking a fiscally responsible approach because we know that the federal funds will eventually run out. And that’s why we’re not banking on them for the future. We’re not creating recurring expenses or new programs we can’t pay for. So for the first time ever, with smart planning, New York will have no out year gaps.

All these commitments are either one-time expenditures or are supported by the expectation of a reasonable growth in revenue as projected by our division of budget. So we have the means to respond to this historic moment with a historic level of funding. And what we have achieved with the blueprint I’m printing today is both a plan that is socially responsible and fiscally prudent. And as I learned working on 14 balanced municipal budgets with much smaller numbers, but with the same philosophy, you have to prepare for the rainy days, even when there’s not a cloud in the sky, because of the rain – or where I come from, the snow, eventually does fall.

So we’re prepared for the downturns as well. Just remember where we were two years ago today, and suddenly how our world changed forever. As we assess the risks, we do have concerns about long-term economic erosion caused by the pandemic and the impact of inflation and even – hate to say it but possible resurgence of COVID. We just can’t predict the future. But I want to share New Yorkers that we are prepared.

And that’s why we’re making these investments with those worst case scenario calculations built in. And committing resources every year until the state has reserves of at least 15% of operating spending. That’s what the experts recommend, and it’s what we’re going to do. For the future leaders, for future generations, and for the future health of our state. But we’re not letting this once in a generation moment pass us by. It’s not simply enough to return to our pre pandemic world in way of life. That would be timid and unimaginative, and it would fail to honor our history and the legacy of the daring, visionary New Yorkers who came before us.

Leaders like FDR, who weathered some of the most intense storms the world has ever seen, always while keeping one eye fixed on the horizon, planning for the day when the clouds would part. And it wasn’t through sheer luck that the policies he passed during those crises made an immediate difference in the short-term and a generational impact in the long-term. Through careful and strategic planning. And he embraced those times of crisis for what they were, a chance to re-imagine the future while correcting the mistakes of the past. And we must now have the same foresight and resolve to do the same because this pandemic did not create all the problems we’re facing today.

It simply forced us to hold up a mirror and see the cracks in our society that have been too easy to ignore before. We cannot allow this virus to grip us so tightly that it constrains us from looking to the future or prevents us from mending those cracks. Since its founding, our state has been the home of the dreamers and the doers from all over the world who came here in pursuit of opportunity and a better life. But today for too many New Yorkers, the American dream is just that, a dream. And that has been even more true as a result of this pandemic.

As I said in my State of the State speech, it’s time for a better, fairer, and more inclusive version. And I’m calling it the New York dream. And by implementing the agenda I proposed two weeks ago, we can make it a reality. And this is with smart, strategic and a forward thinking plan, we will. This is a moment of great possibility. A once in a generation chance to reconsider what is possible for our state. And this really is the beginning of New York’s next great comeback.

I declared a new era for New York and it continues today. So New Yorkers, this budget’s for you. 

NYS Finalizes First Two Contracts for Offshore Wind Energy Projects

Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, pops cork in 2017 after Long Island Power Authority pledged to move forward with offshore wind. Today, Governor Hochul signed contracts for the state’s first two offshore wind projects. “This announcement is one step forward for wind power, and a giant leap for a cleaner energy future. It is thrilling to see significant progress that guides our transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The public strongly supports this transition and New York is delivering! As we build a green economy and advanced offshore wind, we are fulfilling the commitment to make New York a leader in the battle to fight climate change. Thank you to Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for continuing to forge a pathway of progress.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul today at the Port of Albany, alongside U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, Congressman Paul Tonko and other elected officials, announced the finalization of contracts between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Empire Wind Offshore LLC and Beacon Wind LLC, each a 50-50 partnership between Equinor and bp, for the Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind offshore wind projects, representing a key milestone in the advancement of offshore wind development in New York State.

“We know what it takes to build and sustain for the future, it’s in our DNA as New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “By advancing these significant offshore wind projects, we can maintain our cadence for developing projects that will spur much-needed green job creation and investment. No state has felt the impacts of climate change more than New York State, and now more than ever, we can continue to lead the way with our ambitious, nation-leading vision to transition to a renewable energy and a cleaner, greener future.”

Today’s announcement formally closes the State’s second offshore wind competitive solicitation and also includes the first awards for the State’s Offshore Wind Training Institute. Coupled with this week’s issuance of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) Final Sale Notice for the New York Bight and the State of the State announcement of a nation-leading $500 million investment in offshore wind ports, manufacturing, and supply chain to be integrated within NYSERDA’s 2022 solicitation, these events represent a significant step forward in advancing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.  

“Hats off to Governor Hochul for taking a huge step towards lowering energy bills for New York households, creating thousands of good-paying jobs, and advancing President Biden’s goal of a robust offshore wind industry in America,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said. “We can and will overcome the challenge of climate change, and we’ll do it one clean energy worker at a time.”

Senator Gillibrand said,”As we celebrate New York’s innovation in clean energy this week in Albany, I’m thrilled to announce this key partnership between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Empire Wind Offshore LLC and Beacon Wind LLC. This marks another milestone in our state’s leadership and innovation in clean energy and offshore wind development. I look forward to continuing our great work to bring clean energy jobs and technology to New York.”

“We know New York’s potential for offshore wind development is tremendous,” Congressman Paul Tonko said. “Today’s exciting news will play a pivotal role in expanding this industry, creating good-paying jobs, training the energy workforce of the future, and helping address our most pressing climate challenges. Thanks to all involved in this forward-thinking announcement that invests in our region and pushes New York further down the path to becoming a powerhouse of wind manufacturing.”

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said“New York State has been steadfast in its commitment to establish itself as the leading offshore wind market in the nation and a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse. These contracts with Equinor further solidify our progress and will create new economic opportunities while building a new electric grid powered by clean, renewable energy that paves our way to a healthier and more sustainable future.”  

The 1,260-megawatt Empire Wind 2 and 1,230-megawatt Beacon Wind projects were provisionally awarded in January 2021 as a result of NYSERDA’s second offshore wind competitive solicitation. Expected to enter into commercial operation in 2027 and 2028, respectively, the projects will strengthen New York’s economy and further drive investments in ports to directly support offshore wind projects while establishing New York as the hub of the offshore wind supply chain. NYSERDA payments to the projects will commence once they obtain all required permits and approvals, complete construction, and begin delivering power to New York.  

The final project contracts are available on NYSERDA’s website and include commitments to the following key benefits: 

  • Unprecedented public and private funding commitments of $644 million in port infrastructure, including: 
  • $357 million in the nation’s first offshore wind tower manufacturing facility to be built at the Port of Albany 
  • More than $287 million in an offshore wind staging and assembly facility at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT), owned by the City of New York and managed by New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC)
  • More than $8.9 billion in anticipated in-state spending and the creation of more than 5,200 jobs backed by prevailing wage and project labor agreement commitments. 
  • The average bill impact for customers will be approximately 0.8 percent, or about $0.95 per month. Total project costs, including a cost-effective average all-in development cost of $80.40 per megawatt hour, are approximately seven percent lower than those of NYSERDA’s 2018 awards, signaling offshore wind is a competitively priced renewable energy resource with tremendous benefits. 

Equinor Wind US President Siri Espedal Kindem said, “Today’s announcement sets Equinor and bp on the path to provide over 3.3 GWs of offshore wind power for New York. It also offers a large-scale, tangible demonstration of the incredible economic activity and carbon reduction potential being driven by New York’s green energy transition. We are proud to help lead the growth of this exciting industry in New York.” 

“These are world class assets and we are moving quickly and safely to get them producing the energy people need in the way that they want it – all the while creating positive ripple effects for the surrounding communities and industry,” bp Senior Vice President for Zero Carbon Energy Felipe Arbelaez said. “Today’s milestone is a critical step forward and we will continue to work hard to deliver the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects, providing clean energy and stable returns for decades to come.” 

Director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance Fred Zalcman said, “Today’s suite of announcements moves the state inexorably closer to realization of its’ nation-leading goal of 9,000 MW by 2035 and secures New York as the undisputed economic epicenter for the emerging offshore wind industry. We congratulate NYSERDA and the Equinor-bp joint venture on achieving this major commercial milestone, as well as the recipients of the first training grants to support the first generation of skilled workers to be deployed on these New York’s groundbreaking projects.”

“This is another important step toward reducing emissions, securing New York’s place in the offshore wind industry, and creating good union jobs and careers in communities across the state,” Executive Director of Climate Jobs NY Jeff Vockrodt said. “We look forward to working with the Hochul administration to ensure that these projects move forward expeditiously, that the jobs created are good family-sustaining union jobs, and that New Yorkers see the economic benefits of these investments. We are also encouraged to see that NYSERDA plans to issue the next solicitation for offshore wind power soon, which together with Governor Hochul’s recent announcement of $500 million in new supply chain investments will help build out ports and other essential offshore wind infrastructure.”

This week, Governor Hochul joined United States Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to announce BOEM’s Final Sale Notice of six new leases, comprised of 488,000 total acres for offshore wind development in the New York Bight, and the release of the document “A Shared Vision on the Development of an Offshore Wind Supply Chain,” which describes a coordinated offshore wind supply chain effort between New York, New Jersey and BOEM. These additional lease areas are needed for New York and New Jersey to achieve their respective offshore wind goals and support the federal government’s offshore wind goal of 30,000 megawatts by 2030. 

Keeping pace to be the U.S. leader in the offshore wind industry, New York will launch its third statewide solicitation round in early 2022. As announced in Governor Hochul’s 2022 State of the State address, NYSERDA’s next solicitation is expected to result in at least 2 gigawatts of new projects — enough to power 1.5 million homes, bringing the state’s combined total to more than 4.5 million homes powered by offshore wind. NYSERDA will couple this procurement with a $500 million offshore wind infrastructure investment to catalyze private investments to build the critical infrastructure needed to assure New York’s prominence as the hub for this burgeoning industry. The solicitation will include improvements to the approach for offshore transmission based on recommendations from the New York State Power Grid Study, increased emphasis on in-state manufacturing, inclusive economic development and climate equity, an emphasis on close relations with New York’s labor force including construction backed by prevailing wage and project labor agreements, and additional scoring credit for projects that propose to repurpose existing downstate fossil-based electric generation infrastructure and utilize energy storage to enhance future system reliability. 

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “Offshore wind is breathing fresh air into New York’s economy. With the support of a well-trained workforce, this emerging sector will bring economic prosperity for years to come. I thank Governor Hochul for continuing to strategically invest in our economy, our environment, and New York’s workforce.”

“Offshore wind ports will fuel both a green economy and economic opportunities,” Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said. “Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind will make New York State greener and create green jobs, which advances Empire State Development’s mission to prepare our economy for the future. With today’s announcement, New York will continue to be leaders in the fight against climate change and production of green energy and green jobs – bringing us closer to the State’s ambitious climate goals.” 

President and CEO of the Center for Economic Growth Mark Eagan said,”We are witnessing the birth of a sector that is not only new to New York State, but the entire country. It’s real and it’s concentrating here – in the Capital Region. New York State is a pioneer in the offshore wind industry, and we are deeply thankful for the vision and commitment of Governor Hochul and NYSERDA. We congratulate  Equinor, bp, and the Port of Albany on this contract, which will help transform our economy and provide good-paying jobs. CEG started globally marketing the region’s offshore wind potential three years ago, and that has helped yield this nation-leading investment with more on the way. CEG will continue to work with its partners to leverage state and federal dollars to further build out the Capital Region as the location-of-choice for offshore wind component manufacturing.”

Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment said, “This announcement is one step forward for wind power, and a giant leap for a cleaner energy future. It is thrilling to see significant progress that guides our transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The public strongly supports this transition and New York is delivering! As we build a green economy and advanced offshore wind, we are fulfilling the commitment to make New York a leader in the battle to fight climate change. Thank you to Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for continuing to forge a pathway of progress.” 

These advancements build on New York’s continued responsible and cost-effective approach to developing offshore wind, including NYSERDA’s recently published Guiding Principles for Offshore Wind Stakeholder Engagement, and Request for Information seeking feedback from the public and interested stakeholders to identify topics to consider in the analysis of offshore and onshore cable corridors. NYSERDA will also initiate a new Offshore Wind Master Plan 2.0: Deep Water to unlock the next frontier of offshore wind development this year. 

New York State has five offshore wind projects in active development, the largest portfolio in the nation. This initial portfolio totals more than 4,300 megawatts and will power more than 2.4 million New York homes and is expected to bring a combined economic impact of $12.1 billion to the state. The projects are also expected to create more than 6,800 jobs in project development, component manufacturing, installation, and operations and maintenance. Achieving the State’s 9,000 megawatt by 2035 goal will generate enough offshore wind energy to power approximately 30 percent of New York State’s electricity needs, equivalent to nearly 6 million New York State homes, and spur approximately 10,000 jobs. 

Offshore Wind Training Institute 

Also announced today were the first round of competitive awards under the State’s $20 million Offshore Wind Training Institute, the largest public investment in offshore wind workforce development by any state in the U.S. Through a partnership between the State University of New York’s Farmingdale State College and Stony Brook University on Long Island, the training institute aims to advance offshore wind training programs and the educational infrastructure needed to establish a skilled workforce that can support the emerging national offshore wind industry. The Institute will certify and train 2,500 New York workers beginning this year to support both offshore and onshore renewable energy projects.

The first two winning proposals will receive a combined $569,618 to support early training and skills development for disadvantaged communities and priority populations – including veterans, individuals with disabilities, low-income individuals, homeless individuals, and single parents – in both the Capital Region and New York City. Awardees include: 

  • Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY (HVCC)  
  • LaGuardia Community College in Queens, NY (LAGCC)  

To help build a strong pipeline for the Capital Region’s offshore wind initiative, HVCC recently began offering a two-year associate degree in welding and fabrication and will focus student recruitment efforts on priority populations in urban and rural disadvantaged communities, providing full or partial scholarships to participants. Foundational welding skills training will be provided by the Capital Region Educational Opportunity Center, a division of HVCC with additional non-credit training and certifications be provided at the college’s main campus. The college will also partner with regional manufacturers building turbine components to provide a skilled workforce pipeline of welders and fabricators, aiming to train 75 individuals, including 65 from priority populations and disadvantaged communities.

LAGCC is partnering with Siemens Gamesa to build an inclusive offshore wind workforce that ensures a robust local talent pipeline for the construction, repair, and maintenance of offshore wind facilities in the New York City metro area. The college will convene employers to detail the skill gaps for both new entrants to the workforce and incumbent workers in the construction trades to help inform and develop a best-in-class custom curriculum. A total of fifty low-income individuals from the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront will be trained to work as offshore wind technicians. 

Penny Hill, Dean of Economic Development and Workforce Initiatives for HVCC, said, “Hudson Valley Community College is committed to helping supply the workforce for New York State’s clean energy future. In addition to those trained in welding and fabrication, the college is ready to provide other educational opportunities to support the offshore wind industry. We look forward to partnering with manufacturers to provide job training and build stronger, more resilient communities.” 

“Building an inclusive offshore wind workforce will allow us to ensure that low-income communities of color and other communities that have been left behind in the past have a chance to lead the green economy of the future,” Hannah Weinstock, Senior Director of Workforce Development for LAGCC, said.

NYS’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan 

New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York’s unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings. 

NY Governor Kathy Hochul, in State of State, Unveils “New Era for New York” Agenda

“New Era for New York” Agenda Includes 228 Bold Initiatives to Kick-Start New York’s Comeback

$10 Billion Healthcare Plan Will Rebuild and Grow Workforce, Deliver Direct Payments to Workers

Major Ethics Reforms Will Limit Statewide Elected Officials to Two Terms, Ban Outside Income and Replace JCOPE with New Independent Ethics Agency

Billion Dollar Rescue Plan Will Help Small Businesses Come Back, Middle Class Tax Relief Will Lift Up Millions of New Yorkers

Infrastructure Investments Will Expand Transit in New York City and Lead the Nation in Climate Action

State of the State Book Available Here

Governor Kathy Hochul, becoming the first woman to deliver New York’s State of the State Address, outlined nine key components of her plan for a New Era for New York © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Governor Kathy Hochul, becoming the first woman to deliver New York’s State of the State Address, outlined nine key components of her plan for a New Era for New York:  rebuilding our healthcare economy, protecting public safety and addressing gun violence, investing in New York’s people, investing in New York’s communities, making New York’s housing system more affordable, equitable, and stable, making New York a national leader in climate action and green jobs, rebuilding New York’s teacher workforce and reimagining higher education, advancing New York’s place as a national equity model, and making critical reforms to restore New Yorkers’ faith in their government.

“As the first woman to present a State of the State address in New York, I want to make it clear I am not just here to make history – I am here to make a  difference,” Governor Hochul said.”The time has come for a new American Dream. Today, we start building a better, fairer, more inclusive version that I call the New York Dream. We will create a New Era for New York by embarking on a bold, far-reaching policy agenda that advances our recovery and restores New Yorkers’ trust in government. And through all of this, I will continue to collaborate with others and deliver results for New Yorkers.”

Governor Hochul’s A New Era for New York Agenda is comprised of nine components consisting of 228 initiatives:

Rebuild Our Healthcare Economy to Provide Care for More New Yorkers

$10 Billion Plan to Rebuild and Grow the Healthcare Workforce by 20 Percent

Over the next five years, Governor Hochul’s plan will rebuild and grow the healthcare workforce by 20 percent. $10 billion will be invested in the state’s healthcare sector, including more than $4 billion to support wages and bonuses for healthcare workers. Additionally, this plan will improve the career pipeline, expand access to healthcare training and education, recruit care workers to underserved areas, and strengthen home care.

Protect Public Safety and Take Strong Action Against Gun Violence

Three-Part Agenda to Prevent and Reduce Gun Violence and Violent Crime Throughout New York State

This public safety initiative will provide state and local law enforcement with tools necessary to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence. The Governor’s plan will invest in public safety and fund state and local policing gun safety efforts, create the Interstate Gun Tracing Consortium, and triple investment in community-based gun violence response.

Invest in New York’s People

Tax Relief Efforts for Thousands of Small Businesses and Millions of Middle-Class New Yorkers

Governor Hochul’s plan will accelerate the phase-in of $1.2 billion in middle class tax cuts for 6 million New Yorkers by two years – to 2023 – and establish a $1 billion property tax rebate program to put money back into the pockets of more than 2 million New Yorkers who have had to endure rising costs as the pandemic has progressed. The Governor will also deliver a tax rebate for 2 million New York families and increase existing tax credits and create new ones to support food production. Governor Hochul’s efforts will also bring about $100 million in tax relief for 195,000 small businesses across New York State.

Strengthen New York’s Workforce and Help Grow the Economy

Governor Hochul’s seven-pronged initiative will overhaul workforce development to focus on regional needs, expand access to new careers and career services, and recruit the next generation of New York’s labor force. As part of this plan, the Governor will create the Office of Workforce and Economic Development, help New Yorkers move between education and careers, expand access to apprenticeships, recruit the next generation of public servants, expand the state’s technology talent pipeline, make New York a model for the employment of workers with disabilities, and protect and strengthen worker’s rights.

‘Jails to Jobs,’ A New Initiative to Improve Re-Entry into the Workforce and Reduce Recidivism

Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals are often left to their own devices upon reentrance into society. With the ‘Jails to Jobs’ program, these individuals will be connected with education, resources, and opportunities for job placement, which will improve public safety and reduce recidivism.

Invest in New York’s Communities

Moving Forward with Major New Expansion of Transit Service in Brooklyn and Queens: The Interborough Express

The Interborough Express is a historic project that would use the existing right of way of the Long Island Rail Road owned Bay Ridge Bridge to connect transit deserts in Brooklyn and Queens. This line would connect commuters to as many as 17 subway lines, expanding access to jobs and other destinations. Governor Hochul’s plan is to move forward with the expansion by directing the Metropolitan Transit Authority to begin the environmental review process.

Billion Dollar Rescue Plan for Small Businesses and to Strengthen New York’s Economic Recovery

After the hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Hochul’s billion dollar rescue plan will invest in the growth and retention of small businesses of the future, small business tax credits for businesses that took on COVID-related expenses, seed funding to establish new businesses, provide flexible grants to early-stage small businesses, expand small business lending, and help small businesses secure contracts. The Governor also plans to propose legislation to permanently allow the sale of to-go drinks in bars and restaurants.

$1 Billion ‘ConnectALL’ Initiative to Bring Affordable Broadband to More Than 1 Million New Yorkers

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed how inaccessible and unreliable broadband connection was for many New Yorkers, who suddenly were forced to live their lives through the internet. It is essential that all New Yorkers have equitable access to the internet, as marginalized communities are most affected by this lack of broadband access.The $1 billion ConnectALL initiative will deliver affordable broadband to millions of New Yorkers and transform the state’s digital infrastructure through new investments.

Make New York’s Housing System More Affordable, Equitable, and Stable

Major Statewide Initiative to End the Homelessness Crisis and Address Longstanding Inequities in Housing

Our housing system is riddled with systemic inequalities that need to be addressed. Governor Houchul’s housing plan will tackle these and use public funding to expand opportunity for all. Initiatives to expand housing include utilizing Safe Options Support (SOS) teams of trained mental health practitioners that will assist in transitioning individuals living on the street into stable housing, ending the 421-a tax abatement and establishing a new, more effective program, improving housing access for renters with criminal records or negative credit history, creating an eviction prevention legal assistance program, and creating a permanent disaster recovery and resiliency unit for home rebuilding.  

Address Housing Affordability Crisis in New York State 

The Governor will implement a comprehensive 5-year housing plan, a $25 billion effort to create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes, including 10,000 homes with support services for vulnerable populations. To increase access and affordability in New York’s housing market, Governor Hochul will also take major steps to construct new housing and increase density in appropriate urban areas. These steps include permitting accessory dwelling units in single-family neighborhoods, kick-starting transit-oriented development, giving New York City the authority to encourage densification, and easing restrictions on converting hotels and offices to housing.

Make New York a National Leader in Climate Action and Green Jobs

Achieving 2 Million Climate-Friendly Homes by 2030

Buildings account for more than a third of New York’s climate pollution. Governor Hochul’s plan to achieve a minimum of 1 million electrified homes and up to 1 million electrification-ready homes is anchored by a series of legislative and policy actions. These include requiring zero on-site greenhouse gas emissions for new construction no later than 2027, providing the training programs necessary to ensure that the state has a skilled workforce to deliver these services, establishing a dedicated green electrification fund and electrifying low-income homes through the housing capital plan, among others.

Nation-Leading $500 Million Investment in Offshore Wind

Governor Hochul announced plans to invest in offshore wind infrastructure, procure enough wind energy to power at least 1.5 million homes, initiate planning for an offshore wind transmission network, and launch the offshore wind Master Plan 2.0 Deep Water. This will ensure that the state has the strongest offshore wind energy market along the Eastern Seaboard. The Governor’s plan for offshore wind will support more than 6,800 jobs, a combined economic impact of $12.1 billion statewide, and more than 4.3 gigawatts of energy, enough to power nearly 3 million homes in New York.

Rebuild New York’s School System and Reimagine Higher Education

Invest in New York’s Students, Teachers and Schools

To rebuild New York’s teacher workforce, Governor Hochul plans to emphasize recruiting and retaining teachers throughout the state. The Governor will also take action to accelerate the teacher certification process and increase funding for K-12 education. This plan also includes providing incentives to attract teachers and school workers, providing learning and mental health grants, creating a state teacher residency program, and upskilling teacher support workers to earn their certifications.

Increase Access to Childcare for 100,000 Families and Invest $75 Million in Wages for Childcare Workers

Affordable childcare is essential to give children the best possible chance at success while providing parents the ability to participate in the workforce. While Governor Hochul believes that the federal government must pass Build Back Better to expand childcare coverage for New York families, if they do not she will propose an expansion of access to childcare. This would impact 100,000 families across New York by increasing eligibility from 200 percent of the federal poverty line to 225 percent. The Governor’s plan also includes a $75 million in better pay for childcare workers.

Revitalizing SUNY and Secure Its Place as a Globally Recognized Higher Education Institution

Governor Hochul’s plan to revitalize the State University of New York System is wide ranging and extensive. The plan includes making the institution a global leader on research and innovation, ensuring SUNY serves students well, and prioritizing equality within the SUNY system. This transformation will set students on a path to economic success and focus on equity so that all may thrive with a SUNY education.

Advance New York’s Place as a National Equity Model

Equity Agenda to Promote Anti-Hate, Racial Equity, and Justice for All New Yorkers 
The Equity Agenda will advance a wide-ranging plan to promote and support gender equity, racial equity, anti-hate, social justice, the LGBTQIA+ community, immigrants and new arrivals, and veterans with the goal of protecting the health, safety, economic opportunities, and fundamental dignity of every New Yorker—in short, to make the New York Dream into a reality. 

Make Critical Reforms to Restore New Yorker’s Faith in Their Government

Propose Constitutional Amendment to Limit All Statewide Elected Officials to Two Terms and Ban Outside Income

By introducing a constitutional amendment, Governor Hochul plans to limit the roles of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Comptroller to two consecutive terms. The Governor will also propose legislation to impose a ban on earned outside income for the same statewide elected officials, with an exception for academic positions that must receive ethics board approval.

Replacing JCOPE with a New Independent Ethics Agency

To restore the people’s trust in their government, Governor Hochul plans to introduce legislation to repeal and replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) with an ethics entity that is truly independent and transparent. This entity will be subject to Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests and the Open Meeting Laws, increasing and improving transparency. This plan will also ban outside communications so that members of the entity will be prohibited from participating in ex-parte communications regarding any potential or ongoing investigation.

New York Governor Hochul Signs into Law Nation’s Toughest Restrictions on Ghost Guns

From left to right: Jacob Dixon; CEO of Choice For All, Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Linda Beigel Schulman, Senator Brad Hoylman, Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator Kevin Thomas, Senator Anna Kaplan, Senator John Brooks, Assemblywoman Taylor Darling © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features, news-photos-features.com

WESTBURY, NY (October 28, 2021) – Today, Governor Kathy Hochul signed landmark legislation to crack down on “ghost guns,” untraceable firearms used by criminals to evade background checks. The move follows action by the New York State Senate and Assembly, who passed the legislation in June, 2021. Together, The Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act (S.13a), sponsored by Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills) and Assemblymember Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), and The Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act (S.14a), sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WFP-Manhattan) and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), create the strongest protections from these dangerous weapons in the nation.

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul: “gun violence is a public health and public safety crisis that must be dealt with aggressively.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Gun violence is a public health and public safety crisis that must be dealt with aggressively,” said Governor Hochul. “Working with partners at all levels, my administration will continue to crack down on the distribution and possession of dangerous weapons and put an end to the gun violence epidemic.”

“If you can’t pass a background check to get a gun, then you shouldn’t be able to get a gun–period. For too long, the unfinished receiver loophole let anyone get their hands on all the parts needed to build an untraceable, unregistered AR-15 without ever going through a background check, but today, we’re taking historic action here in New York to close that dangerous loophole for good” said State Senator Anna M. Kaplan. 

“If you can’t pass a background check to get a gun, then you shouldn’t be able to get a gun—period,” said State Senator Anna Kaplan © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“I’m proud to be the sponsor of the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act because I know it’s going to save lives, just like Scott Beigel did when he gave his life to protect his students from gunfire during the attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I’m grateful for my partners in this effort, Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Chuck Lavine, and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, each of whom have shown extraordinary leadership to make sure our state is combating the scourge of gun violence. And most importantly, I want to thank Scott Beigel’s parents Linda and Michael, for never giving up the fight to ensure that our communities are safe from gun violence.” 

State Senator Brad Hoylman: “In the last three years, we’ve seen a 479% increase in ghost gun seizures across the state. Thanks to the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act being signed today we’re addressing this growing problem by banning the sale and possession of ghost guns, so nobody will be able to purchase these firearms without first passing a background check.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

State Senator Brad Hoylman said: “In the last three years, we’ve seen a 479% increase in ghost gun seizures across the state. Thanks to the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act being signed today we’re addressing this growing problem by banning the sale and possession of ghost guns, so nobody will be able to purchase these firearms without first passing a background check. I’m deeply grateful for the advocacy and support of Jose Webster’s sister, Nathalie Arzu, along with Assembly Member Rosenthal, Senator Kaplan, Assembly Member Levine, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Governor Hochul for their leadership on this important issue.”

During the COVID-19 crisis, gun violence has spiked; so have sales of firearms and ghost guns. At the beginning of the pandemic, gun manufacturers reported massive sales of ghost gun kits; at least 16 manufacturers told customers they were experiencing shipping delays due to a high volume of orders. 

Ghost guns continue to pose a threat, both in New York and nationwide. Last week, a Queens man who had been ordering gun parts online was caught with an arsenal of do-it-yourself “ghost guns”ProPublica reported that the “Boogaloo Boys,” a right-wing militia group involved with the January 6 Capitol riots, have embraced ghost guns as one of their preferred weapons.

“The Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act”, sponsored by Senator Anna M. Kaplan and Assemblymember Charles Lavine, specifically addresses the proliferation of “unfinished receivers” or “80% Receivers” which can be purchased online without a background check and which are easily converted into operable firearms by people with limited skills. The legislation:

  • Defines what constitutes an unfinished frame or receiver
  • Makes possession of an unfinished frame or receiver by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or dealer illegal
  • Prohibits the possession of major components of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun by persons who are otherwise lawfully prohibited from possessing such weapons
  • Makes it illegal to sell or transfer an unfinished frame or receiver to anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or dealer
Assemblymember Charles Lavine. “It is incumbent upon the states to enact common-sense reforms that close dangerous loopholes that allow untraceable weapons to flood our communities.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Amidst an epidemic of gun violence plaguing the United States, I commend my good friend Governor Kathy Hochul for supporting and signing this bill which I sponsored in the Assembly,” said Assemblymember Charles Lavine. “It is incumbent upon the states to enact common-sense reforms that close dangerous loopholes that allow untraceable weapons to flood our communities.  This new law further strengthens New York’s existing gun safety laws, already among the toughest in the country.  It also significantly increases protection to our community and our children by creating much more accountability.  It is intended, just as Scott intended, to save lives.” 

Senator Kaplan and Assemblymember Lavine’s legislation is named in memory of Scott J. Beigel, the hero teacher of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who lost his life during the shooting over three years ago while shielding his students from gunfire. Beigel’s parents, Linda Beigel Schulman and Michael Schulman of Long Island, are nationally recognized advocates in the fight against gun violence. 

Linda Beigel Schulman has put her grief at losing her son Scott, a teacher who died protecting his students at Parkland, into unceasing activism to prevent gun violence. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Speaking to the crowded room  at the “Yes We Can” community center in Westbury, Long Island, Linda Beigel Schulman reflected back to Feb 13, 2018, when she spoke to Scott, exchanged, “I love yous” and “Have a good rest of today. I’ll speak to you tomorrow.” “He walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and gave his last breath after saving lives. A 19 year old shot him 16 times with an AR15 assault rifle. I made a vow to myself and my son to do everything to end gun violence…Nothing will bring Scott back, but these new laws today will save lives.”

“The Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act” sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, prohibits the sale and possession of unregistered ghost guns and ensures law enforcement will be able to track the manufacture and sale of all guns in New York. The legislation:

  • Defines a “ghost gun” as any firearm, rifle, or shotgun that isn’t serialized and registered in accordance with either state or federal law
  • Prohibits the possession of ghost guns by anyone but a licensed gunsmith
  • Prohibits the sale of ghost guns entirely
  • Prohibits the manufacture or assembly of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith
  • Requires New York gunsmiths to serialize all firearms, rifles, shotguns, or unfinished frames or receivers they manufacture or assemble, and to register any such gun, or unfinished frame or receiver that isn’t otherwise covered by federal serialization law with the Division of State Police
“Ghost guns have exploded in popularity as people have taken to the internet to evade New York’s strong laws requiring background checks and licensing, to gain access to deadly weapons they can construct in the comfort and privacy of their own homes,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Ghost guns have exploded in popularity as people have taken to the internet to evade New York’s strong laws requiring background checks and licensing, to gain access to deadly weapons they can construct in the comfort and privacy of their own homes,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “Closing the ghost gun loophole by signing the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act, along with the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receivers Act, will help to keep our communities safe. Thank you to Governor Hochul for signing these bills into law. I look forward to working with the Executive to passing more legislation to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence in the future.”

Senator Hoylman and Assemblymember Rosenthal’s legislation is named in memory of Jose Webster, a young man from The Bronx killed by gun violence in 2011. Webster’s sister, Nathalie Arzu, has become a gun violence prevention advocate.

The Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act, S.13a, will take effect in 180 days. Individuals who currently possess an unfinished frame or receiver as defined in the new law have 360 days from today to either voluntarily surrender the unfinished frame or receiver to authorized law enforcement officials, or bring the piece into compliance with the law regarding serialization and registration. 

The Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act, S.14a, will take effect in 180 days. There is a six month grace period to turn in ghost guns or have them registered and serialized.

Legislation S.7152/A.6522 adds firearms capable of being concealed and designed to resemble toys to the definition of a ‘disguised gun’ and prohibits their manufacture, design, or sale. Weapons capable of causing severe injury and death but that resemble toys are unjustifiably deceptive, and pose a clear threat to the safety of both children, who may mistake them for actual toys, and the public at large. 

State Senator John Brooks:No one should live in fear of gun violence, not when walking down the street, serving our communities in law enforcement, while learning at schools, spending time at home, or anywhere else.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“The gun violence epidemic has stolen the lives of so many in our state and country, and we have only seen the problem grow worse in recent years,” said Senator John Brooks. “Common sense measures like this legislation to crackdown on disguised guns are critical to protecting New Yorkers. No one should live in fear of gun violence, not when walking down the street, serving our communities in law enforcement, while learning at schools, spending time at home, or anywhere else. I am thankful to local law enforcement for the support they provided in getting this bipartisan bill passed and I applaud Governor Hochul for her continued effort to keep New Yorkers safe.” 

“I am proud to sponsor this critically important legislation that will prohibit the design, manufacture and possession of disguised guns in New York State,” said Assemblymember Steve Stern. “These weapons put our law enforcement personnel at a dangerous disadvantage in situations when they are facing down the barrel of a gun and have a split second to decide if it is a toy or a real weapon, a split second that could make the difference between life or death. This legis will protect our entire community and save lives.  I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for their bi-partisan support of this legislation and applaud Governor Hochul’s strong leadership on this important issue.”

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran: “Nassau County is rated the safest community in America for two years in a row. But I won’t rest until everyone in county feels it is the safest.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, speaking directly to Linda Biegel Schulman and husband Michael: “I know your story, your pain, and the fact you are out everyday to fight for common sense gun laws is inspiring. Nassau County is rated the safest community in America for two years in a row. But I won’t rest until everyone in county feels it is the safest.”

A moment between Linda Beigel Schulman and Governor Kathy Hochul after the signing of gun violence prevention bills aimed at restricting ghost guns © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Governor Hochul added, “it is nothing short of extraordinary – so many affected. To have lost someone you treasured, when you lose a child, it is more than heartbreak, it is a permanent mark on your soul. So many retreat in pain, suffer in silence. It takes an extraordinary person to say, I won’t suffer in silence.

“This is a new era of collaboration, we are changing things. What we accomplished solidifies New York as having the toughest gun laws in the nation.”

Gun violence prevention activists from Moms Demand Action © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

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© 2021 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Highlights of NYS $212 Billion Budget

Mario Cuomo Bridge, which replaced the aging Tappan Zee Bridge, demonstrated New York State’s “can-do” infrastructure program. The FY 2022 budget that was just adopted supports Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $311 billion infrastructure plan – the largest in the nation and the most expansive in state’s history – that will create thousands of jobs across the state. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

$311 Billion Infrastructure Plan – Largest in the Nation & Most Expansive in State’s History – Will Create Thousands of Jobs Across the State

First-in-the-Nation Program to Make Broadband Internet Affordable – $15 Broadband Plans Must Be Offered to Low-Income Families

Enhances Public Safety by Authorizing the Withholding of 50 Percent of State and Federal Funds from Jurisdictions that Fail to Produce a Police Reform Plan; Requires the Attorney General to Appoint a Monitor to Ensure Safe Policing

Directs $2.3 Billion in Federal Child Care Resources to Expand Availability, Quality and Affordability of Child Care Across the State; Enacts Employer Child Care Credits

$29 Billion in Public and Private Green Economy Investments

Establishes Prevailing Wage & Buy American Requirement

Protects Renters by Creating $2.4 Billion Rent Relief Program

Enhances Quality of Care at Nursing Homes with Patient-Centered Reforms

Provides $1 Billion in Small Business and Arts Relief and Recovery Assistance

Enacts Middle Class Property Tax Credit and Continues Middle Class Tax Cut; Expected to Save 4.8 Million New Yorkers Over $2.2 Billion This Year

$29.5 Billion School Aid, 11% Increase, Record Funding

Governor Led National Effort for State and Local Federal Funding with New York State Receiving $12.6 Billion; Budget Closes Remaining Gap; Adds $3.5 Billion in Tax Revenue and Invests in COVID Response and Recovery

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced highlights of the FY 2022 Enacted Budget to reimagine, rebuild and renew New York in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Budget supports the Governor’s $311 billion infrastructure plan – the largest in the nation and the most expansive in State’s history – that will create thousands of jobs across the State.

The Budget establishes a first-in-the-nation program to provide affordable internet by requiring internet service providers to offer an affordable $15 per month high-speed internet plan to qualified low-income households.

The Budget enhances public safety by authorizing the withholding of up to 50 percent of State and Federal funds from jurisdictions that fail to produce a police reform plan and comply with the Governor’s Executive order. The Governor may require that the Attorney General appoint a monitor over the police force until the plan is adopted.

The Budget directs $2.3 billion in federal child care resources to expand availability, quality and affordability of child care across the state, and enhances the Employer Provided Child Care Credit to provide meaningful incentives to employers to help them provide child care to their employees.

The Budget supports $29 billion in public and private green economy investments to create 12,400 megawatts of green energy – enough to power 6 million homes – helping to fulfill the goals of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and also spur the COVID economic recovery. The investments include the largest offshore wind program in the nation, plans to make New York a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse, constructing a green energy transmission superhighway, a public-private partnership to build nearly 100 renewable energy projects and supporting transit agencies’ transition to electric busses.

The Budget ensures that New York uses Buy American principles in manufacturing of renewable components. The Budget also requires prevailing wage for construction labor peace agreements for operations and manufacturing.

The Budget ensures access to fair and safe housing and protects renters by establishing a $2.4 billion rent relief program using Federal and State funds.

The Enacted Budget includes comprehensive nursing home reform legislation to help ensure facilities prioritize patients over profits, establishing minimum thresholds for nursing home spending on direct resident care and staffing, and investing $32 million annually to implement the reforms, while capping profits and performing related party transactions to drive funding to where it matters most, the patients.

The Budget enacts small business and arts relief and recovery assistance, a robust $1 billion relief package for small businesses, arts, entertainment and restaurant relief to help them recover from the impacts of the pandemic. It includes $865 million in grants and $139 million in tax credits.

The Budget also continues the phase-in of the middle class tax cut, which is expected to save 4.8 million New Yorkers over $2.2 billion this year.

From the beginning of the pandemic, Governor Cuomo led the national effort to secure Federal funding for state and local governments, with New York State receiving $12.6 billion in aid to help offset devastating revenue losses caused entirely by the pandemic. With this Federal funding and additional revenues, including $3.5 billion in new tax revenue that rises to $4.3 billion in FY 2023, the Enacted Budget closes the deficit and invests in the ongoing response to the pandemic and recovery efforts.

“New York was ambushed early and hit hardest by COVID, devastating our economy and requiring urgent and unprecedented emergency spending to manage the pandemic,” Governor Cuomo said. “Thanks to the State’s strong fiscal management and relentless pursuit to secure the federal support that the pandemic demanded, we not only balanced our budget, we are also making historic investments to reimagine, rebuild and renew New York in the aftermath of the worst health and economic crisis in a century. This budget continues funding for the largest-in-the-nation $311 billion infrastructure plan, establishes a groundbreaking program to provide affordable internet for low-income families and enhances public safety through police reforms, all while continuing to provide relief to New Yorkers and small businesses as we recover from the pandemic. I thank the legislative leaders – Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Heastie – for their partnership in helping make this critical budget a reality and delivering results for the people of this state.”

Fiscal Highlights of the FY 2022 Enacted Budget:

  • State Operating Funds spending is $111 billion
  • All Funds spending $212 billion for FY 2022
  • Applies $5.5 billion in federal aid
  • Provides $29.5 billion in School Aid, a $3 billion, 11% increase.
  • Provides $7.7 billion in State support for higher education in New York

2022 REIMAGINE | REBUILD | RENEW ENACTED BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS 

$311 Billion Infrastructure Plan: New York’s $311 billion infrastructure plan includes the Governor’s $211 billion 2020-24 plan and his $100 billion 2015-2019 plan. The evolving plan increased by $36 billion in the budget with the inclusion of new, key elements of the Midtown West Redevelopment of New York City beginning with Penn Station, Belmont Station Redevelopment, a $3 billion environmental bond act, transportation programs, and additional supportive, affordable, and public housing support, along with incremental adds to existing capital programs.  

First-in-the-Nation Affordable Internet for Low-Income Families: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes first-in-the-nation legislation requiring internet service providers to offer an affordable $15 per month high-speed internet plan to qualifying low-income households. The State will also require providers to advertise this plan to ensure programs reach underserved populations across the State. To further bridge the gap, the State has partnered with Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation to launch ConnectED NY, an emergency fund to provide approximately 50,000 students in economically disadvantaged school districts with free internet access through June 2022. 

Police Reform Plans: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget authorizes the withholding of up to 50 percent of state and federal funds from jurisdictions that fail to produce a police reform plan and comply with the Governor’s Executive Order 203, the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative. It also requires the Attorney General to install a monitor until the jurisdiction is compliant, if the Governor directs.

Expand Child Care Availability and Affordability: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget directs $2.3 billion in Federal child care resources to expand the availability, quality and affordability of child care. Increases in child care subsidies will expand access, co-pays would be lowered to not more than 10% of family income above the poverty level and essential workers would receive child care tuition support. Child care providers would receive $1.3 billion in stabilization grants to support expenses, as well as additional funds for cleaning and safety. Further investments would be made to increase capacity in child care “deserts” and help parents find the child care provider that’s right for them.

Enact Employer Child Care Credits: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget enhances the Excelsior Jobs Program and Employer Provided Child Care Credit, providing meaningful incentives to employers to help them provide much needed child care to their employees. The Excelsior Jobs Program is enhanced to allow for an expanded up to five percent Investment Tax Credit component and a credit up to six percent of ongoing net child care expenditures provided by the credit recipient. The Employer Provided Child Care Credit is also enhanced by doubling the current credit percentages to 50 percent of qualified child care expenditures and 20 percent of qualified child care resource and referral expenditures while increasing the per taxpayer cap from $150,000 to $500,000.

$29 Billion in Public and Private Green Economy Investments: Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York will embark on an ambitious Green Energy program that will spur more than $29 billion in public and private investment across the state and create 12,400 megawatts of green energy – enough to power 6 million homes. These investments will not only shift the state to a carbon neutral economy, fulfilling the goals of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, but also spur the COVID economic recovery. The investments include the largest offshore wind program in the nation, plans to make New York a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse, constructing a green energy transmission superhighway, a public-private partnership to build nearly 100 renewable energy projects and supporting transit agencies’ transition to electric busses.

Provide $2.4 Billion to Protect Renters: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget creates a $2.4 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to ensure New Yorkers can make rent and remain stable in their homes. The program will support households in rental arrears that have experienced financial hardship, are at risk of homelessness or housing instability and that earn less than 80 percent of area median income. The program would prioritize those with the lowest incomes, the unemployed and other vulnerable populations. Renters in the program will also be eligible to receive relief for utility arrears. The program is funded by $2.3 billion in Federal resources and $100 million of State resources to supplement the core program and target those facing hardship that may not otherwise be eligible. The program will be structured to enable coordinated efforts between the State and the local governments that opted to receive funds directly – leveraging resources, gaining efficiencies and preventing fraud.

Enhancing Nursing Home Quality of Care: The Enacted Budget includes comprehensive nursing home reform legislation to help ensure facilities are prioritizing patient care over profits.  These reforms establish minimum thresholds for nursing home spending of 70 percent of revenues on direct resident care and 40 percent of revenues on resident-facing staffing, capping profits at five percent, and targeting unscrupulous related party transactions. Excess revenues recouped by the State will be deposited into the existing nursing home quality pool for further investments for nursing homes to meet high quality standards. Now, more than ever, it is important that nursing homes are staffed to provide high quality care and safety for their residents. These initiatives will have a positive impact on nursing home residents and staff, delivering the quality of care needed for the most vulnerable New Yorkers in a safe environment. 

$1 Billion Small Business and Arts Relief and Recovery Assistance: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes a robust $1 Billion small business, arts, entertainment and restaurant relief package to help businesses and other organizations recover from the impacts of the pandemic:

  • COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program: Provides $800 million in grant fundingfor small businesses including for-profit arts and cultural institutions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • New York Restaurant Resiliency Grant Program: $25 million in grant funding to support restaurants that provide meals to distressed and under-represented communities.
  • Arts and Cultural Organization Recovery Grant Program: $40 million to provide grants through the New York State Council on the Arts to eligible arts and cultural nonprofit organizations to assist in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Restaurant Return-To-Work Tax Credit: Provides up to $35 million in tax credits to support restaurants hard hit by the pandemic through 2021.
  • New York City Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit: Provides up to $100 million in tax credits to jump start the industry and support tourism activity in the City.
  • Extend and Enhance the Musical and Theatrical Production Credit for Four Years: In order to support musical and theatrical productions that occur in the State but outside of New York City, the Budget extends this credit for four years through 2025 and increases it by $4 million to $8 million.

Continuing Middle Class Tax Cuts: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget continues to lower Personal Income Tax rates for middle-class New Yorkers. In 2021, the fourth year of the multi-year tax cuts enacted in 2016, income tax rates have been lowered from 6.09% to 5.97% for taxpayers filing jointly in the $43,000-$161,550 income bracket, and from 6.41% to 6.33% in the $161,550-$323,200 income bracket. These cuts are expected to save 4.8 million New Yorkers over $2.2 billion this year. When the cuts are fully phased in, middle class taxpayers will have received an income tax rate cut up to 20 percent, amounting to a projected $4.2 billion in annual savings for six million filers by 2025. As the new rates phase in, they will be the State’s lowest middle-class tax rates in more than 70 years.

Enact the Real Property Tax Relief Credit: The Budget provides a personal income tax credit for New York resident homeowners with incomes up to $250,000 if their total property tax exceeds a fixed percentage of their income. This framework will target New York families with the highest property tax to income burden. The calculation of this credit is capped at $350 per STAR-eligible household, while also utilizing a $250 credit minimum to further target homeowners impacted the most by high property taxes. It is expected that claims will average about $340. Qualified homeowners will be able to claim this new Property Tax Relief credit for taxable years 2021, 2022, and 2023. 

Striking a Balance on Revenue

The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes new revenue resources that provide the revenues needed to make the investments that will support New York’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and New York’s recovery from it, including:

  • Hard Won Federal Support: The Budget deploys the first $5.5 billion of the $12.6 billion provided for in the federal American Recuse Plan Act 2021. These funds are integrated throughout the budget in accordance with available federal guidelines. Remaining funds will be used in future budgets over the four years that the funding is available.
  • Secured Federal Support for Local Governments: The Budget includes appropriation authority for local governments to receive Federal support that Governor Cuomo fought tirelessly for. The historic package of $10.8 billion in Federal aid for local governments is a lifeline to localities, helping to support essential workers and government employees, assist the vaccination efforts, boost local economies and support the network of local government services that New Yorkers depend on.
  • Personal Income Tax Surcharge: The Enacted Budget implements a surcharge on high earners through Tax Year 2027 that sets a top rate of 10.9% for all filers earning more than $25 million. The surcharge raises $2.8 billion in FY 2022, rising to $3.3 billion in FY 2023.
  • Corporate Franchise Tax Rates: The Enacted Budget implements a surcharge on corporate tax rate that increases the business income tax rate from 6.5% to 7.25% for three years through tax year 2023 for taxpayers with business income greater than $5 million. It also increases the capital base method of liability estimation to 0.1875% from the 0.025% rate in effect last year.   The capital base method increase continue to exempt qualified manufacturers, qualified emerging technology companies, and cooperative housing corporations. These changes raise $750 million in FY 2022 and $1 billion in FY 2023.
  • Mobile Sports Wagering: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget authorizes mobile sports wagering. Once fully phased in, legalization will provide more than $500 million in much needed revenue for the State to help rebuild from COVID-19 and grow what could be the largest sports wagering market in the U.S. into a profitable industry long-term. Under the legislation, the state will issue a Request for Applications and must select at least two platform providers who must work with a total of at least four operators or skins. Once fully phased in, the program will provide $5 million annually to youth sports, and $6 million to combat problem gambling, doubling the resources currently available. The remainder of this new revenue will be dedicated to education.

Education

$29.5 Billion in School Aid: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget provides $29.5 billion in State funding to school districts for the 2021-22 school year through School Aid, the highest level of State aid ever, supporting the operational costs of school districts that educate 2.5 million students statewide. This investment represents an increase of $3.0 billion (11.3 percent) compared to the 2020-21 school year, including a $1.4 billion (7.6 percent) Foundation Aid increase. Approximately 75 percent of this increase is targeted to high-need school districts 

$13 Billion in Federal Aid to Public Schools: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget programs $13 billion of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief and Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds to public schools. This funding, available for use over multiple years, will help schools safely reopen for in-person instruction, address learning loss, and respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs due to the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Budget allocates $629 million of these funds to school districts as targeted grants to support efforts to address learning loss through activities such as summer enrichment and comprehensive after-school programs. In addition, the Budget uses $105 million of federal funds to expand access to full-day prekindergarten programs for four-year-old children in school districts statewide in the 2021-22 school year.

$500 Million in Emergency Federal Assistance to Nonpublic Schools: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes $500 million of federal funding for emergency assistance to nonpublic schools, prioritizing schools that serve high proportions of low-income children and have been most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will support pandemic-related costs such as personal protective equipment, educational technology, and redeveloping instructional plans for remote or hybrid learning and to address learning loss.

Authorize Aid for Pandemic-Related School District Transportation Costs: Under the FY 2022 Enacted Budget, school districts will be reimbursed for the cost of delivering school meals and instructional materials during pandemic-related school closures in spring 2020 and for the costs of keeping transportation employees and contractors on standby during the initial short-term closures prior to the announcement in May 2020 that school buildings would be closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year

Defeating COVID and Strengthening Health Care Delivery

Telehealth: The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the healthcare delivery system as methods for accessing care have expanded. Accordingly, the State enacted a comprehensive package of telehealth reforms that will increase access to telehealth services. These include:

  • In the Enacted Budget, these include: increasing access to services through comprehensive reform by allowing certain unlicensed staff (e.g. Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselors) to deliver substance use disorder services; expanding covered telehealth providers; eliminating obsolete location requirements..
  • The Reimagine New York Build Back Better initiative will include a $3 million capital grant program matching state and private funding to support telehealth infrastructure needs of rural providers and those serving vulnerable populations

Expanding Nation-Leading COVID-19 Diagnostic Capacity:  The FY 2022 Enacted Budget will continue to support the expansion of the State’s world-leading testing program, performing over 200,000 COVID-19 tests daily, on average, to identify disease and mitigate community spread. This includes leveraging the research expertise of Wadsworth laboratories, which was the first public laboratory in the United States to have a non-Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 test approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The State will also continue to operate a network of 22 regionally located drive-through and walk-in testing locations available to all New Yorkers completely free of charge, and will establish a network of rapid testing locations by partnering with testing companies to allow business and entertainment centers to safely re-open.

Strengthening Public Outreach for Communities Disproportionately Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes $15 million to strengthen communication, expand public education and enhance ongoing outreach efforts for communities that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of these funds will be awarded directly to community-based organizations across the state to increase COVID-19 awareness and promote vaccine confidence in the Latino community. Remaining funds will be used for the development of a vaccine awareness media campaign and enhancements to the COVID-19 hotline, which has served as an important source of information to the public with questions or concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launch a New York State Infectious Diseases Resiliency Commercialization Fund: As part of Governor Cuomo’s Life Science Initiative, Empire State Development will create a new $40 million New York State Infectious Diseases Resiliency Commercialization Fund led by Empire State Development and advised by the New York State Department of Health and other private experts to capitalize on New York’s substantial research and development assets and expertise in life sciences, biotechnology and biodefense. The fund will focus on accelerating the growth of companies to fast track the development of innovations that address emerging infectious diseases, public health threats and support economic growth.

Continue COVID Response and Implementation of Vaccine Distribution: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget will support the implementation of a statewide COVID-19 vaccination program that will be available to all New Yorkers within the year, ensuring a fair and equitable distribution to vulnerable and underserved communities within all regions of the state. The vaccine program will cover nearly 20 million residents at no cost, driving New York towards becoming the nation’s first COVID-safe state and accelerating the State’s re-opening effort.

Create the New York Public Health Corps: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget supports the New York Public Health Corps, which will assist in supporting COVID-19 vaccination and pandemic response operations and establishing a best-in-the-nation emergency response public health capacity that lasts beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellows selected for the New York Public Health Corps will include students in undergraduate and graduate public health programs, nursing schools and medical and pharmaceutical schools, recent graduates, retired medical professionals, volunteer first responders and other New Yorkers who will receive an intensive public health training curriculum developed by Cornell University. After the COVID vaccination program is completed, New York will leverage this Public Health Corps model workforce by continuing to recruit and train public health professionals to be available and prepared to serve the State in any future public health crisis.

Eliminate Health Care Premiums: The Enacted Budget eliminates premiums for Essential Plan coverage for more than 400,000 New Yorkers earning between $39,300 and $52,400 for a family of four and expands coverage to include dental and vision by eliminating dental and vision premiums and cost-sharing for Essential Plan 1 and Plan 2 members currently paying out-of-pocket.

Enhancing Social Service Crisis Intervention: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes $10 million to support of social service crisis intervention programs and providers disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. These funds will provide much needed financial relief to social service crisis intervention providers who have continued to maintain a quality of care despite the financial burden imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Improving Data Collection Efforts for the Public Health Needs of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget provides support to organizations with the capability of collecting health care related demographic information, specifically for New York State’s Asian and Pacific Islander American populations. The information collected as part of this Data Disaggregation program will be used to identify the specific health care needs of the Asian and Pacific Islander American populations and address shortfalls in the State’s healthcare system in effectively serving these portions of the population.

Enhancing Access to Health Care Services for Holocaust Survivors: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget provides $1 million in additional support for the Holocaust Survivors Initiative. These funds will be used to increase access to health care related case management services for those who suffered in the Holocaust. Case Management services include, but are not limited to, mental health services, trauma informed care, crisis prevention, legal services and entitlement counseling, emergency financial assistance for food, housing, prescriptions, medical and dental care, socialization programs, training and support for caregivers and home health aides working with survivors and end of life care including hospice and ethical wills.

Establish Urgent Care Centers for mental health and addiction services:  The Budget authorizes the launch of Urgent Care Centers for mental health and addiction services. On average, more than 100,000 individuals per year benefit from crisis intervention services. These centers will be open 24/7/365 and accept all admissions without referral, including direct drop-offs by law enforcement and other first responders. This effort will streamline stabilization and reintegration for individuals in crisis.   

Human Services Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA): The FY 2022 Budget includes $46.2 million to provide a 1 percent COLA to not-for-profits licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by OPWDD, OMH, and OASAS. These additional resources will support the community-based programs that provide essential services and supports to people with developmental disabilities, mental illness and/or substance use disorder. The Budget also provides $5.6 million for a 1 percent COLA increase for other human services agencies, including SOFA, OTDA, and OCFS.

Post-Partum Eligibility: The Enacted Budget extends coverage for pregnant women between 200% and 223% of the Federal Poverty limit from 60 days after pregnancy to one year. Postpartum persons will maintain 60 days of coverage under Medicaid, and on day 61 they will get coverage under a qualified health plan. This will eliminate the benefit cliff for persons with incomes too high to qualify for Essential Plan coverage

Delay Transition of Medicaid Pharmacy Benefit: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget transitioned the Medicaid pharmacy benefit from Managed Care to fee for service to increase transparency, maximize rebates and reduce administrative costs. Savings were reinvested to 340B entities no longer receiving excess reimbursement for 340B drugs under Managed Care. The FY 2022 Enacted Budget delays the transition of the Medicaid pharmacy benefit by two years, until April 1, 2023.

Jumpstarting New York’s Economic Recovery

Educate and Train Workers for In-Demand Jobs: Along with an unprecedented increase in unemployment, the pandemic has caused a massive shift in the type of jobs available and who is looking for work. The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes several initiatives under which New York’s colleges and universities will help rebuild New York’s economy by educating and training workers for in-demand jobs:

  • Pathways Pledge: In partnership with Governor Cuomo’s Reimagine New York Commission, New York is launching a Pathways Pledge among New York’s leading employers, both public and private, to create more inclusive workforces and provide more workforce development opportunities.
  • SUNY’s Free Online Training Center: Governor Cuomo is expanding SUNY’s free Online Training Center so New Yorkers can enroll in additional employment certification programs for quality jobs in high-demand growing industries like health care and advanced manufacturing.  The Training Center will give more New Yorkers in every region of the state — from rural communities to urban centers — another opportunity to receive free job training certifications and then automatically be admitted to any one of SUNY’s 30 community colleges for future career advancements.
  • SUNY Stony Brook Offshore Wind Institute: New York’s accelerated renewable energy development program is creating thousands of well-paying jobs. In order to make sure New Yorkers benefit from these opportunities, the FY 2022 Enacted Budget supports a $20 million investment in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute based at SUNY Stony Brook and Farmingdale State College. In 2021, NYSERDA and SUNY will issue the first solicitations for advanced technology training partners, leveraging our SUNY and CUNY system to train the first phase of an estimated 2,500 workers beginning in summer of 2021.
  • Priority Access for Nurses in SUNY and CUNY Programs: In 2017, Governor Cuomo signed into law “BSN in 10” to enhance the quality of patient care and elevate the nursing profession. It requires all nurses who complete an Associate Degree in New York State to complete a Baccalaureate of Science Degree in Nursing within 10 years to maintain licensure by the State. Beginning in Fall 2021, SUNY and CUNY will implement priority admission to nursing programs so the 40,000 nurses and nursing candidates in need of completing their baccalaureate credentials can receive a quality and affordable education within the state.

Advance the Economic Recovery through Workforce Development: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget enacts a COVID-19 Recovery Workforce Initiative, which invests $50 million for training in high-growth industries, employer-driven training for low-income workers and funding for small businesses to re-train and hire furloughed, laid-off or new employees. The investments will provide durable skills that lead to high-quality jobs and support the growth of small businesses recovering from COVID-19 impacts.

Support the Unemployed and Protect Workers: Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Department of Labor has paid out more than $75 billion in benefits to over 4 million New Yorkers – more than 30 typical years’ worth of benefits. The Budget supports reforms to the unemployment system, including upgrades to modernize technology, allowing work search activities to be performed via video conference and online, and creating a centralized virtual portal for workers to file wage, discrimination, retaliation, and other workplace violation claims.  

Support Excluded Workers: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget creates a $2.1 billion program to provide cash payments to workers who have suffered income loss due to COVID but who are ineligible for Unemployment Insurance or related Federal benefits due to their immigration status or other factors. Such workers must be low-income and provide sufficient documentation to establish work-related eligibility and residency in the state.

Continued Investment in Tourism: The COVID-19 pandemic caused a precipitous drop in travel, hitting New York’s tourism industry particularly hard. As New York State advances its scientific-based reopening efforts, the FY 2022 Budget includes additional funding to attract visitors from around the world and boost the tourism economy. The program includes a ninth round of $15 million in competitive funding through the Market NY initiative to support marketing projects that promote regional attractions.

New Round of Regional Economic Development Councils: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes core capital and tax-credit funding that will be combined with a wide range of existing agency programs for REDC awards totaling $750 million and will target assistance to impacted industries and allow for job creation and retention.

Expand Opportunities for New York’s MWBE Program: Governor Cuomo has been a champion of the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises. In 2014, he set the utilization goal in State contracting at 30 percent to ensure all New Yorkers have the opportunity to take part in New York State’s growing economy. New York State now has the highest MWBE contract participation in the nation. In fact, state contract spending with MWBE firms has grown from less than $100 million in 2010 to $3.14 billion as MWBE in FY 2020. To build upon this success, the Empire State Development Corporation, in partnership with the Reimagine New York Commission, is launching the “Entrepreneurship Navigator” to provide customized services and streamlined access to start-up programs to help incubate minority and women entrepreneurs in the technology and innovation sector.

New York Works Economic Development Fund: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes a sixth round of investment equaling $220 million for the New York Works Economic Development Fund that will provide additional statewide capital grants to support projects that facilitate the creation of new jobs or retain existing jobs, or fund infrastructure investments necessary to attract new businesses or expand existing businesses in support of economic recovery

Downtown Revitalization: The pandemic has kept New Yorkers at home to save lives, disrupting the flow of commerce in the downtown communities across the State.  These areas need support now more than ever. To that end, the FY 2022 Enacted Budget provides $100 million for another round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which has beentransforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families.

Recovery Grants for Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Organizations: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes a new $40 million fund that will provide general operating support to assist nonprofit arts and cultural organizations as they recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Budget also includes an additional $20 million for new capital grants to help arts and cultural organizations comply with COVID-19 health regulations, including outdoor performance space projects, flexible seating, HVAC and filtration upgrades.  Combining this new funding with the State’s annual $40 million arts grant program, the Enacted Budget will include over $100 million in grants for arts and cultural organizations through the New York State Council on the Arts. 

Ensuring Fair and Safe Housing

Affordable and Homeless Housing Capital Plan: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget continues the $20 billion, comprehensive five-year investment to create or preserve over 100,000 units of affordable housing and create 6,000 new units of supportive housing. The State is well on track toward meeting affordable housing goals and has already exceeded the supportive housing. To date, New York has financed the new construction and preservation of more than 66,500 affordable housing units and more than 7,000 units of supportive housing units that provide stability for some of the state’s most vulnerable populations, including veterans, victims of domestic violence, frail or disabled senior citizens, young adults aging out of foster care, and New Yorkers identified as homeless with special needs, conditions or other life challenges. With this success, the Governor has continued the State’s commitment to supportive housing. The goal is now to create 20,000 units over 15 years, and the Budget includes $250 million in additional capital funding to continue making progress in FY 2022.

Support New Homeless Housing: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget continues $128 million for the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, a level achieved when funding for the program was doubled in FY 2021. This investment will create more housing for individuals and families who are homeless and unable to secure adequate housing without special assistance.

Create Statewide Transitional Rent Supplement Program:  The FY 2022 Enacted Budget creates a new $100 million rent supplement program for low-income households who are homeless or facing an imminent loss of housing. Participants will have their rent contribution capped at 30 percent of income. The program will be provided at local district option, and funds will be available to households earning at or below 30 percent of area median income with districts given flexibility to extend supplements to households earning up to 50 percent of area median income.

Public Housing Remediation: The budget includes $325 million in capital appropriation for critical maintenance projects including weatherization, heating needs, elevators, and lead remediation for public housing throughout the State.

Adaptive Reuse Affordable Housing Program: The Budget includes a $100 million capital appropriation to finance the adaptive reuse of commercial and hotel properties located in New York City to create permanent affordable housing. 

Transportation and Infrastructure

Transformational Midtown West Macro Development:

  • Empire Station Complex: As part of the Transformational Midtown West Development and with the completion of the Moynihan Train Hall, the State will turn to the existing Penn Station, launching a comprehensive $16 billion project to expand and reconstruct the existing station. The fully renovated Penn Station, including the iconic new Long Island Rail Road entrance on 7th Avenue that opened on December 31, 2020, will comprise a widened and completely reconstructed 33rd Street LIRR concourse and an expanded and completely transformed station. Additionally, at least eight new tracks will be constructed south of the existing Penn Station to add capacity, cut down on delays, and improve operations. This will be a signature transportation project creating nearly 60,000 direct jobs and involving the federal government, Empire State Development, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak.  New York State stands ready to work with New Jersey Transit and the Federal government to share in this historic investment for the future of the region.
  • High Line Extension to Moynihan Station: As part of the Transformational Midtown West Development, the FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes funding to support the Governor’s proposal to extend the High Line in Manhattan to give pedestrians seamless access to the elevated pathway from the recently opened Moynihan Train Hall. As part of a public-private partnership, Brookfield Property Group will partner with Empire State Development, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Friends of the High Line to build an L-shaped connection from the 10th Avenue terminus of the High Line to Brookfield’s Manhattan West public space. 

Record DOT Capital Plan: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget provides $6.2 billion for the second year of a record $12.3 billion, 2-Year DOT Capital Plan that will facilitate the improvement of highways, bridges, rail, aviation infrastructure, non-MTA transit and DOT facilities.  Compared to the final two years of the last DOT Capital Plan, this is an increase of $3.4 billion, or 38 percent.

$1 Billion for Strengthening Local Highways and Bridges: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget builds upon Governor Cuomo’s record commitment to funding local highway and bridge projects. Funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and the Marchiselli program increases by $100 million to $577.8 million and funding for Extreme Winter Recovery is $100 million.  The Enacted Budget also provides $100 million of new funding to localities responsible for State Touring Routes, increases highway aid through the PAVE NY program by $50 million to $150 million, and maintains funding of local bridge projects through the BRIDGE NY program at $100 million.  This represents an overall year-to-year increase of $285 million and brings funding for local highway and bridge projects to more than $1 billion. These programs will play a vital role in improving conditions on State and local roads and bridges and rebuilding New York.

Supporting Parks and DEC Capital Projects: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget allocates $110 million in New York Works capital funding for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation. This funding will aid the ongoing transformation of the State’s flagship parks, and support critical infrastructure projects. The Budget also includes $75 million for the Department of Environmental Conservation to address a variety of capital needs to improve access to State lands, rehabilitate campgrounds.

Clean Water Infrastructure Investment: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget adds a $500 million appropriation to support clean water, raising the State’s total investment to $4 billion and continuing to fulfill the Governor’s $5 billion clean water commitment. 

Renew Record Funding for the Environmental Protection Fund: TheFY 2022 Enacted Budget continues EPF funding at $300 million, the highest level of funding in the program’s history. Appropriations include $40 million for solid waste programs, $90 million for parks and recreation, $151 million for open space programs and $19 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program. This investment will provide funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.  

Restore Mother Nature Bond Act: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget authorizes the Governor’s $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act. If approved by voters in the November 2022 general election, this historic environmental initiative will make significant investments across the state to combat climate change, reduce flood risk, invest in resilient infrastructure and revitalize critical fish and wildlife habitats. It will do this by connecting streams and waterways, right-sizing culverts and dams, restoring freshwater and tidal wetlands, reclaiming natural floodplains, restocking shellfish populations and upgrading fish hatcheries, preserving open space, conserving more forest areas, replanting more trees, reducing contamination from agricultural and storm water runoff and expanding renewable energy.

Olympic Regional Development Authority Capital Improvements: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes $105 million in new capital funding for Olympic Regional Development Authority, including $92.5 million for a strategic upgrade and modernization plan to support improvements to the Olympic facilities and ski resorts with a focus on preparing for the 2023 World University Games, $10 million for critical maintenance and energy efficiency upgrades and $2.5 million appropriated from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation budget as part of the New York Works initiative.

Making New York a Leader in the Green Energy Economy

Largest Offshore Wind Program in the Nation: The state will contract with Equinor Wind US LLC for the development of two new offshore wind farms more than 20 miles off the shore of Long Island, in what is the largest procurement of renewable energy by a state in U.S. history. Upon completion, the two offshore wind farms will yield a combined 2,490 megawatts of carbon-free energy, spurring another $8.9 billion in investment.  

Global Wind Energy Manufacturing Powerhouse: New York has secured commitments from companies to manufacture wind turbine components within the state and build the nation’s largest offshore wind program. Plans to make New York State a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse include upgrades to create five dedicated port facilities. These projects include: the nation’s first offshore wind tower-manufacturing facility to be built in the Port of Albany; facilities at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal; greater activity at Port Jefferson and Port of Montauk Harbor in Long Island. Together, the projects will leverage almost $3 of private funding for every $1 of public funding, for a combined $644 million investment in these port facilities.

Construct New York’s Green Energy Transmission Superhighway: New York State will construct a new green energy superhighway of 250 miles. The $2 billion project will create opportunities to maximize the use of renewable energy for the parts of the state that still rely on polluting fossil-fuel plants. Construction has already started on the New York Power Authority’s 86-mile Smart Path project from Massena to Croghan and key projects in Western New York, Mid-Hudson and the Capital Region.  

Public-Private Partnership to Build Nearly 100 Renewable Energy Projects: New York will contract for another 24 large-scale renewable energy generation projects in 2021, to bring the State’s total clean energy build-out to nearly 100 projects. The 23 solar farms and one hydroelectric facility will be the most cost-efficient clean energy construction to date in New York, producing more than 2,200 megawatts of clean power, generating more than $2.9 billion of investment and creating 3,400 jobs in 16 counties Upstate. 

Support Electric Buses: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget provides non-MTA transit systems with another $20 million of capital aid, for the second installment of a $100 million five-year program to support transit agencies’ transition to electric buses. Under this program, five of the largest upstate and suburban transit authorities will electrify 25 percent of their fleets by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035.

Addressing Systemic Injustices

Strengthen Policing Profession: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget strengthens hiring and background investigation standards for police officers through the establishment of a certification process. All police departments will be required to certify their compliance with minimum hiring and background investigation standards. This legislation prevents officers who commit serious or criminal misconduct from serving as officers in another police department.

Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes (SCAHC): The FY 2022 Enacted Budget adds $25 million to the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes grant program. This program boosts safety and security at New York’s nonpublic schools, community centers and day care facilities at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or mission. This new funding may also be used to safeguard against cyber related hate crimes or attacks.

Liberty Defense Fund: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget authorizes $10 million for the Liberty Defense Fundto provide free legal consultations and screenings to help undocumented New Yorkers.

Support Raise the Age Implementation: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes a $250 million appropriation to support continued implementation of the Raise the Age initiative.

Elections Infrastructure and Voting Reforms: The Enacted Budget includes $25 million in capital funding to modernize and secure State and local voting infrastructure. The Budget also provides $2 million in local funding and $1 million in State Board of Elections funding to support the implementation and oversight of voting reforms, including early voting.

Tackling Food Insecurities: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget adds $50 million to Nourish New York for a total $85 million investment to extend the program through 2021. This critical program helps people who are food insecure access the nourishment that they need, leveraging the vast agricultural industry of New York State to connect food banks and providers to purchase locally grown and produced food.

Higher Education

Over $7.7 Billion for Higher Education: The Enacted Budget provides over $7.7 billion in State support for higher education in New York, an increase of $283 million, or 3.8 percent, from FY 2021. New York has increased funding for higher education by more than $1.7 billion, or 29 percent, since FY 2012. In addition, the Enacted Budget provides over $1 billion in new capital funding to SUNY and CUNY.

Use Federal Stimulus Aid to Support Our Neediest Students: New York’s colleges and universities are expected to receive an estimated $5.4 billion in direct Federal stimulus aid, including over $3.4 billion for public colleges and close to $2 billion for private colleges. SUNY and CUNY have almost $3 billion in remaining stimulus funds to spend over the next 2-3 years. A substantial portion of this funding will be used to provide financial aid grants to students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell grants.

Provide Record Support for Higher Education Opportunity Programs: The Enacted Budget includes a historic $247 million in State funding to provide academic and financial support to economically and educationally disadvantaged students through opportunity programs and training centers. The Budget adds $30 million for a 20 percent increase in funding for higher education opportunity programs and $4 million in additional aid for Education Opportunity Centers. Since 2012, funding for these programs has increased by $112 million or 83 percent.

Increase Maximum TAP Award by $500: The Enacted Budget includes $88 million to raise the maximum TAP award from $5,165 to $5,665, increasing TAP awards for approximately 185,000 New York residents attending public and private colleges in New York.

Enact a TAP Gap Funding Plan: The Enacted Budget includes a four-year plan to fund the gap in financial aid between TAP and tuition that is covered by SUNY and CUNY tuition credits. The plan gradually increases State support to fully cover an estimated $158 million in annual TAP tuition credits by the 2024-25 academic year.

Increase Aid to Community Colleges by $50 Per Student with a Funding Floor: The Enacted Budget increases community college formula aid from $2,947 per student to $3,197 per student and includes a funding floor at 98 percent of prior year formula aid. These changes will provide an additional $25 million in State support to over 200,000 community college students in the 2021-22 academic year.

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NYS Passes Budget With REcord School Aid, Green Economy Investments, Rent Relief, ChildCare, Small Biz

The newly opened Moynihan Station, New York City. New York State has just adopted its budget which continues historic investments to “reimagine, rebuild and renew New York in the aftermath of the worst health and economic crisis in a century,” and continues funding for the largest-in-the-nation $311 billion infrastructure plan and shift to a green economy © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie today announced an agreement on the FY 2022 New York State Budget. The final budget accomplishes major legislative priorities, including:

  • A record $29.5 billion in aid to schools aid;
  • $29 billion in public and private green economy investments;
  • $2.4 billion for rent and homeowner relief;
  • $2.4 billion for child care;
  • $2.1 billion for excluded workers;
  • $1 billion for small business recovery;
  • A first-in-the-nation plan to make broadband internet affordable;
  • Legalizing mobile sports betting; and
  • Implementing comprehensive nursing home reforms.

Additionally, the Enacted Budget closes the deficit and invests in the ongoing response to the pandemic and recovery efforts.

Spending

The budget agreement includes spending in the following categories:

  • Total State Operating Funds: $111 billion
  • All Funds spending $212 billion
  • School Aid: $29.5 billion, a $3 billion increase.

“New York was ambushed early and hit hardest by COVID, devastating our economy and requiring urgent and unprecedented emergency spending to manage the pandemic,” Governor Cuomo said. “Thanks to the State’s strong fiscal management and relentless pursuit to secure the federal support that the pandemic demanded, we not only balanced our budget, we are also making historic investments to reimagine, rebuild and renew New York in the aftermath of the worst health and economic crisis in a century. This budget continues funding for the largest-in-the-nation $311 billion infrastructure plan, establishes a groundbreaking program to provide affordable internet for low-income families and enhances public safety through police reforms, all while continuing to provide relief to New Yorkers and small businesses as we recover from the pandemic. I thank the legislative leaders – Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Heastie – for their partnership in helping make this critical budget a reality and delivering results for the people of this state.”

“New York State approached this year’s budget with many challenges and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “However, driven by a commitment to long-term equity and prosperity for all, we have accomplished a great deal. I am proud of the strides we have made in funding our schools, helping businesses rebuild, and protecting New York’s most vulnerable. Working and middle-class taxpayers will receive the relief they desperately need, while the wealthiest New Yorkers will help their neighbors. This budget makes New York better for all. In the remaining months of session, the Senate Majority will continue to deliver results that are reflective of our progressive values and priorities.”

“Budgets are a statement of values, and in my two decades of service to the people of New York I can’t think of a more far-reaching and impactful budget than this,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said. “It meets longstanding goals of our Assembly Majority and addresses the historic inequities that have existed for too long. My colleagues and I have worked tirelessly to deliver a budget that will help New York rise from this health crisis and recover from its devastating economic impacts while upholding our commitment to putting New York families first. I am particularly proud that we have been able to make historic investments in our schools, keep higher education within reach, deliver the relief that our small businesses need to get back on their feet, and provide critical funding for child care that families need. I thank all my colleagues, especially Ways and Means Committee Chair Helene Weinstein, for their tireless efforts and advocacy in crafting a budget that truly meets the needs of all New Yorkers.”