Tag Archives: Governor Andrew Cuomo

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.

###

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.”

New Yorkers 30 Years and Older Can get Vaccinated Starting March 30; 16 Years+ Starting April 6

New Yorkers 30 Years of Age and Older Can Begin to Schedule Appointments and Get Vaccinated Beginning Tuesday, March 30

New Yorkers 16 Years of Age and Older Can Begin to Schedule Appointments and Get Vaccinated Beginning April 6

New York State Will Make Eligibility Universal Nearly a Month Earlier Than President Biden’s May 1 Deadline

More Than 2 Million Total Doses Administered at New York State-Run and FEMA Assisted Mass Vaccination Sites     

More Than 9 Million Total Doses Administered Across All Vaccination Sites Statewide

171,419 Doses Administered Across New York State in the Last 24 Hours     

More than 1.3 Million Doses Administered Over Past Seven Days

30% of New Yorkers Have Received at Least One Dose     

Vaccine Dashboard Will Update Daily to Provide Updates on the State’s Vaccine Program; Go to ny.gov/vaccinetracker       

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New York. Beginning Tuesday, March 30 at 8 a.m., all New Yorkers 30 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Beginning April 6, universal eligibility goes into effect and all New Yorkers 16 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New York. Beginning Tuesday, March 30 at 8 a.m., all New Yorkers 30 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Beginning April 6, universal eligibility goes into effect and all New Yorkers 16 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. 

Additionally, the Governor announced more than 2 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered at New York State-run and FEMA-assisted mass vaccination sites. Statewide, more than 9 million total doses have been administered across all vaccination sites. 171,419 doses have been administered across the state’s vast distribution network in the last 24 hours, and more than 1.3 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. Delivery of the week 16 allocation begins mid-week. 

“Today we take a monumental step forward in the fight to beat COVID. Beginning March 30, all New Yorkers age 30 or older will be able to be vaccinated, and all New Yorkers age 16 or older will be eligible on April 6, well ahead of the May 1 deadline set by the White House,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we continue to expand eligibility, New York will double down on making the vaccine accessible for every community to ensure equity, particularly for communities of color who are too often left behind. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but until we get there it is more important than ever for each and every New Yorker to wear a mask, socially distance and follow all safety guidelines.”

New York’s vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.                              

The ‘Am I Eligible’ screening tool has been updated for individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions with new appointments released on a rolling basis over the next weeks. New Yorkers can use the following to show they are eligible:

·     Doctor’s letter, or

·     Medical information evidencing comorbidity, or

·     Signed certification      

Vaccination program numbers below are for doses distributed and delivered to New York for the state’s vaccination program, and do not include those reserved for the federal government’s Long Term Care Facility program. A breakdown of the data based on numbers reported to New York State as of 11 AM today is as follows.                            

STATEWIDE BREAKDOWN

Total doses administered – 9,056,970

Total doses administered over past 24 hours – 171,419

Total doses administered over past 7 days – 1,319,740

Percent of New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose – 29.6%

Percent of New Yorkers with completed vaccine series – 16.8% 

 People with at least one vaccine dosePeople with complete vaccine series
RegionCumulative TotalIncrease over past 24 hoursCumulative TotalIncrease over past 24 hours
Capital Region357,3943,877200,9588,021
Central New York311,7584,284194,8576,867
Finger Lakes368,8593,160203,1756,570
Long Island701,77014,940383,8968,407
Mid-Hudson591,1678,028297,5576,725
Mohawk Valley157,2512,02695,2713,855
New York City2,650,33230,4751,550,45646,616
North Country166,3411,612110,5272,739
Southern Tier200,8712,372109,9122,980
Western New York392,5354,186212,5874,606
Statewide5,898,27874,9603,359,19697,386
 
                             
1st doses fully delivered to New York Providers 2nd doses fully delivered to New York Providers TOTALCUMULATIVE
Week 1 Doses arriving 12/14 – 12/20163,6500163,650163,650
Week 2 Doses arriving 12/21 – 12/27452,1250452,125 615,775
Week 3 Doses arriving 12/28 – 01/03227,3950227,395843,170
Week 4 Doses arriving 01/04 – 01/10239,025165,150404,1751,247,345
Week 5 Doses arriving 01/11 – 01/17221,315119,925  341,240  1,588,585
Week 6 Doses arriving 01/18- 01/24250,400462,395  712,795  2,301,380
Week 7 Doses arriving 01/25 – 01/31260,150239,525499,6752,801,055
Week 8 Doses arriving 02/01 – 02/07321,850220,720542,5703,343,625
Week 9 Doses arriving 02/8 – 02/14320,000244,500564,5003,908,125
Week 10 Doses arriving 2/15 – 2/21356,990265,525622,5154,530,640
Week 11 Doses arriving 2/22 – 2/28 393,530305,780699,3105,229,950
Week 12 Doses arriving 03/01 – 03/07 1,020,660290,5001,311,1606,541,110
Week 13 Doses arriving 03/08 – 03/14618,880526,4151,145,2957,686,405
Week 14 Doses arriving 03/15 – 3/21699,790584,7751,284,5658,970,970
Week 15 Doses arriving 03/22 – 3/28828,000737,0801,565,08010,536,050

New Yorkers seeking to determine eligibility and schedule an appointment at a state-run mass vaccination site, can visit the ‘Am I Eligible’ website. New Yorkers may also call their local health department, pharmacy, doctor, or hospital for additional information and to schedule appointments where vaccines are available.                

The COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker Dashboard is available to update New Yorkers on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The New York State Department of Health requires vaccinating facilities to report all COVID-19 vaccine administration data within 24 hours; the vaccine administration data on the dashboard is updated daily to reflect the most up-to-date metrics in the state’s vaccination effort.          

New Yorkers who suspect fraud in the vaccine distribution process can now call 833-VAX-SCAM (833-829-7226) toll-free or email the state Department of Health at [email protected]. Hotline staff will route complaints to the appropriate investigative agencies to ensure New Yorkers are not being taken advantage of as the State works to vaccinate the entire eligible population. 

Cuomo Administration Releases Public Statements That Show Consistency of Reporting Nursing Home Resident Deaths Where They Died

New York State Governor Mario Cuomo emphasizes importance of wearing masks and social distancing to curtail the spread of COVID-19 at a coronavirus briefing held at Northwell Health, Long Island, in May 2020 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Amidst the scandal swirling around New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo concerning statistics on nursing home residents who died of COVID-19 that has prompted an independent investigation by the New York Attorney General Leticia James and by the FBI, and led to the New York Legislature stripping the governor of his emergency public health authority, Beth Garvey, special counsel to the Governor released a synopsis of public statements which reiterated that deaths were counted in the facility where individuals died. Here is her statement:

“It has been reported that this administration did not disclose the fact that additional data existed regarding out of facility deaths. To be clear, multiple times during the time the July 6 DOH report was being developed, public statements were made during the daily briefings and in the press regarding the existence of the data, but noting that the deaths were being counted in the facility where individuals died.  There were repeated public statements acknowledging the out of facility deaths were not being listed as a subset of nursing home deaths stemming from concerns related to potential for double counting and consistency and accuracy. 

COVID Taskforce members, including Melissa DeRosa, Linda Lacewell, and Jim Malatras, were involved in reviewing the draft report — none of them changed any of the fatality numbers or “altered” the fatality data.  After asking DOH questions as to the source of the previously unpublished data — to which there were not clear or complete answers  — and probing to determine whether it was relevant to the outcome of the report, a decision was made to use the data set that was reported by the place of death with firsthand knowledge of the circumstances, which gave a higher degree of comfort in its accuracy.  The Chamber concluded that given the uncertainty of one data set that had not been verified, it did not need to be included, because it did not change the ultimate conclusions, as shown in the revised report which did include that additional data.  DOH has repeatedly said they support both the original and revised reports as issued. 

This decision was only made after determining that it didn’t change the outcome, and that we understood that the same conclusions were supported by both data sets. The methodology used was disclosed in the report and reflected that it was specific to in-facility, as our public data had always shown as well.   

The out of facility data was repeatedly discussed in public briefings and we consistently acknowledged those deaths were being counted in the total death count through the place of death data.  There is no credible claim that the public or legislators did not know there was a subset of out of facility deaths that had been reported to DOH but was not yet disclosed as it had not yet been verified as this was the topic of public press briefings and inquiries (see below).

 There is currently a review by the Department of Justice, and we are cooperating fully with that inquiry. Again, there was no undercount, as total deaths irrespective of location were always disclosed, and the methodology of how data was being presented was accurate. 

The report was intended to detail whether the March 25 advisory memo contributed to increased deaths, and not be a full accounting of every death. We have since updated the report, and it now includes out of facility deaths, with the exception of a limited subset which cannot be confirmed to a sufficient degree of reliability, and that is clearly denoted — the updated report supports the same conclusion of the initial July report.” 

EXAMPLES OF PAST STATEMENTS BELOW:

May 2020

  • 5/5/20: (Press Conference Q+A) – Reporter: Governor, can you comment on, it looks like there’s some new reporting regarding nursing homes and it would increase the total by about 1,700 in terms of total deaths. Does that count towards the official tally? Are they in a different category? How is that being reported out?
  • Governor Cuomo: You have, I’ll ask Jim and Melissa to explain this because I don’t know the details, frankly. You have two categories – confirmed deaths and then probable or presumed deaths, and they list numbers in both categories. Some people combine the two, confirmed deaths and presumed deaths and have one number. Some people keep them separate and then they are often reported separately or they’re reported together. But that has been going on for a while, but Jim is there, is that accurate?
  • Jim Malatras: That’s accurate, Governor. We reported the past, we asked the nursing homes to provide updated information. They originally provided about 3,100 total deaths. The confirmed deaths of those are actually 2,100. That gets added to the official count. We’re counting both the presumed and confirmed. But the confirmed deaths are the ones we’re running in the official tally. Other localities are submitting unconfirmed deaths but we want to confirm those things as much as we can. But now we’re putting up both categories so people can clearly see because some of the cities are reporting both together and it was difficult to tease out. So we’ve asked them the report clearly that line of both confirmed and presumed.
  • Question: [inaudible] Isabella Geriatric Center which is something we drew attention to this week, they issued a statement saying there have been 98 deaths but the official reporting shows less than that, something in the 60s. That does that not count hospital deaths. In other words someone goes from the facility to a hospital is that then counted differently?
  • Jim Malatras: Those get reported in the hospitalization deaths. The Isabella situation, they reported 60 but in actuality it’s 21 confirmed deaths and the remaining being presumed which we’ll have to officially try to confirm one way or another. So it is in line with keeping with what they were sending before, but we’ve asked those facilities to update which they have.
  • Governor Cuomo: In fact just to just to be clear I would take all of these numbers now with a grain of salt. We were just saying the confirmed deaths, you know what that means. What does a presumed death mean, right? We presume it. How do you presume it to be coronavirus? Also the at-home deaths, non-hospital, non-nursing-home deaths, just at-home deaths, when do you actually get all the numbers on those and how do you confirm all those deaths as attributed to coronavirus? So I would caveat with all of these. I think they’re going to change over time.

May 23, 2020 – The City

It’s unclear how many of the veterans died of confirmed or presumed COVID-19. The state Health Department says 35 residents there had died of coronavirus-related causes through May 22.  But that figure doesn’t include residents who died at hospitals — which health officials said are reported solely in the overall tally of state COVID deaths, in part to avoid double-counting.
https://www.thecity.nyc/coronavirus/2020/5/23/21270845/remember-their-names-nyc-veterans-nursing-home-staff-leaks-list-of-48-who-died

May 28, 2020 – NY1 

Initially, the state only counted residents who tested positive for COVID-19 and died at the facility.  Then it added to the tally residents who only had a suspected case and died. But the state is not including in these figures adult care facility residents who were transferred to a hospital and died of the coronavirus there. The Health Department says that’s “to maintain consistency and reliability in the data as presented, and to avoid any potential for double-counting.”
https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2020/05/28/extent-of-coronavirus-carnage-in-new-york-nursing-homes-may-never-be-known

July 6 report – page 11 Figure 2 lays out the data used for the analysis, saying specifically: “Confirmed and presumed fatalities, NH population only in Nursing Home facilities”

https://www.health.ny.gov/press/releases/2020/docs/nh_factors_report.pdf

FROM PUBLIC HEARING AUGUST 3, 2020:

https://www.nysenate.gov/sites/default/files/08-03-2020_senate_health-care_facilities_and_covid-19_final.pdf

DR. HOWARD ZUCKER: — no, I was going to say, we had — we reported it as someone who’s died in the hospital. [Indiscernible] the nursing home, they went to the hospital, they died in the hospital. We reported as they came from the hospital. We then started to ask, and we tried to get information about who died in the nursing homes. And we started reporting that as getting information from the nursing homes. And we do not want — as I mentioned before, we don’t want to double-count and say this person died here and also died there.

DR. HOWARD ZUCKER: Well, and what I’m saying is, is that, that information, I want to be sure that we are not double-counting individuals, that someone didn’t die for a different reason because — so that’s what we’re trying to do. If someone goes into the hospital from a nursing home, and then they die, or, they — or — and they’re sick in the hospital, and someone says, well, they died because of COVID, well, maybe they died because of something else. I mean, this is something which I mentioned about earlier, about pneumonia. Right? The presumption by CDC was that, they died, the 27 percent of people dying in those two months, was because of pneumonia. And as the director of the CDC said, “presumed to be coronavirus.” Right? But what I want to know is exactly, when someone dies in the hospital, what did they die from?

ASSEMBLY MEMBER BRAUNSTEIN: I think a lot of us may reserve judgment about the conclusions of the report until we have an accurate view of all of the data. And we’re missing a significant amount of people who contracted COVID in a nursing home and then later died in a hospital. And I just think it would bolster the conclusions of the report if, at some point in the future, when you do have that data, maybe you can, you know, add it in the report, just to, you know, make sure that this report is accurate. 

DR. HOWARD ZUCKER: I am confident about the data. I hear what you’re saying. I will also say that in that report you will see that there is a curve that shows the deaths from the nursing homes and deaths in the community, and they line up. And I suspect — not suspect — that I know that this will be the same. 

GARETH RHODES: And I will just add, we’re updating this report down the road. We can include what the experience of other states has been. Then this report came out, and I quote the Mary Mayhew, the Florida Agency for Health-Care Administration: [Indiscernible] doors to keep that virus from getting to our facilities. Our staff are human beings who have lives outside of these facilities. Nursing home operator in Florida: The overwhelming majority of our staff members were testing positive or asymptomatic. An indigenous virus is very difficult to detect after the testing. So it happened in other states. 

Governor Cuomo’s 2021 Agenda for New York State: Reimagine, Rebuild, Renew

Governor Cuomo, in his 2021 agenda, said he would build upon the opening of the $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall,  New York’s most ambitious transportation and infrastructure upgrade in decades, to complete the build out and connectivity of Midtown West with a bold transit-oriented development plan. The $51 billion plan will create 196,000 jobs, new outdoor spaces, affordable housing, improved public transit and pedestrian connections, and bring commercial and affordable housing opportunities to the burgeoning Manhattan neighborhood. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Cuomo’s Agenda is Focused on Defeating COVID-19 and Reopening the State Safely; Jumpstarting the Economy; Creating a Fairer, More Just State; Leading the Development of the Green Energy Economy; and Building and Strengthening the State’s Infrastructure 

Proposals Include the Largest Off-Shore Wind Program in the Nation; Five Dedicated Port Facilities to make New York a Global Wind Energy Manufacturing Powerhouse; Building a Green Energy Transmission Superhighway; Creating a new 1,000 person Public Health Corps; Safely Reopening Businesses and Bringing Back the Arts; Legalizing Adult-Use Cannabis and Online Sports Betting; First-in-the-Nation Affordable Internet for All; Expanding Early Voting; and $306 Billion Infrastructure Plan – Largest in the Nation – to Update Airports and Transportation Infrastructure and Redevelop Manhattan’s Midtown West Neighborhood

2021 State of the State Book Available Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2021 agenda – Reimagine | Rebuild | Renew – features nation-leading proposals to not only defeat COVID-19, but also tackle critical issues facing New York and the country, including jumpstarting New York’s economic recovery; creating a fairer, more just state; reopening the state; becoming a leader in the growing green energy economy; and rebuilding and strengthening New York’s infrastructure. Proposals include legalizing adult-use cannabis and online sports betting; first-in-the-nation affordable internet for all; safely bringing back the arts with pop-up performances and events; the largest off-shore wind program in the nation; five dedicated port facilities to make New York a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse; building a green energy transmission superhighway and; The largest infrastructure plan in the nation to update the state’s airports and transportation infrastructure, including a new Port Authority bus terminal, and redevelop Manhattan’s Midtown West neighborhood.

 “There are moments in life that can change a person fundamentally – sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Likewise, there are episodes in history that transform society and COVID is one of those moments. We see the risk and peril, but we also see the promise and potential of this moment.” Governor Cuomo said. “This next year we will see economies realign and reset around the world and New York will lead the way. In a moment when nagging insecurity can either limit your potential or give way to the energy of urgency, necessity, and innovation. We know the direction we are headed – it is our state motto, Excelsior- ever upwards.”

Governor Cuomo continued, “New York is different – our DNA is different, our character is different. What COVID did to us is different and how we responded to COVID is different. We have a confidence born from accomplishment. We know what we must do and we will do it. We will win the COVID war and we will learn and grow from the experience.After the war, reconstruction begins. That is when progress is made. We must start our post COVID war reconstruction now. We can and we will build back a better and stronger New York. We have done it throughout history, we did it last year, and we will do it again. It is our legacy.”

2021 REIMAGINE | REBUILD | RENEW HIGHLIGHTS 

DEFEATING COVID-19, JUMPSTARTING THE ECONOMY, AND CREATING A FAIRER, MORE JUST STATE

New York State Governor Cuomo at Northwell Health on Long Island. The governor’s 2021 agenda is focused on defeating COVID-19 and reopening the state safely. In addition to expanding accessibility to vaccinations, he is pushing to pass the Medical Supplies Act and expand telemedicine. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Passing the Medical Supplies Act: The United States was ill-prepared for a global pandemic when it came to our shores in 2020. At the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, New York State, along with the rest of the country, faced a severe shortage of basic Personal Protective Equipment, leaving our frontline health care professionals vulnerable to contracting the disease that we so desperately needed them to fight. To ensure that hospitals had the supplies needed to protect their patients and workers, New York was forced to compete with other countries — and even states — to secure critical products from overseas.

To promote domestic manufacturing of critical medical equipment and to reduce dependency on overseas products, Governor Cuomo is proposing that New York pass the Medical Supplies Act to prioritize buying American-made PPE and medical supplies. As the Buy American Act, made permanent last year, did for American-made structural iron and steel, this new policy will help create and retain local jobs while ensuring the health and dependability of a crucial sector for years to come.

Comprehensive Telehealth Legislation: The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the inequities in our healthcare system and showed that telehealth is a critical tool to expand access and lower costs for low-income communities, especially for behavioral health support. During the crisis, the Governor took executive action to expand access to remote care. These proposals codify and build on those successful reforms.

In partnership with the Reimagine New York Commission, the Governor will enact comprehensive telehealth reform to help New Yorkers take advantage of telehealth tools and address existing roadblocks. These reforms will address key issues like adjusting reimbursement incentives to encourage telehealth, eliminating outdated regulatory prohibitions on the delivery of telehealth, removing outdated location requirements, addressing technical unease among both patients and providers through training programs, and establishing other programs to incentivize innovative uses of telehealth.

Ensuring Social and Racial Justice for the Vaccination Effort: In order to ensure the vaccine is distributed equitably, especially in communities of color, Governor Cuomo created the New York Vaccine Equity Task Force. Chaired by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, Attorney General Letitia James, National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial, and Healthfirst President & CEO Pat Wang, the Governor’s Equity Task Force will assist in overcoming existing barriers to vaccination and increase access to vaccines in Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, rural, poor, and public housing communities, as well as other health care deserts.

To support the vaccine rollout, the Task Force was directed by the Governor to build trust and acknowledge the pervasive structural inequities that have contributed to existing health and social disparities, address language access issues, ensure protections of privacy and confidentiality, and develop outreach efforts and community engagements that are regionally placed, culturally responsive, and representative of all communities. As vaccine availability increases from the federal government, the State will establish in partnership with private entities and localities, public clinics to reach vulnerable and underserved communities.  

New York State Public Health Corps: While working to make New York the first COVID-19-safe state in the nation through widespread vaccination, we must also prepare for future public health crises. To support New York’s massive effort to vaccinate nearly 20 million New Yorkers and support other public health emergency responses, Governor Cuomo is proposing the launch of the nation’s first public health corps. As part of the effort, up to 1,000 fellows will be recruited to assist with vaccination operations. These fellows will include students in undergraduate and graduate public health programs, nursing schools and medical schools, recent graduates, retired medical professionals, and laypeople who will receive an intensive public health training curriculum developed by Cornell University. Bloomberg Philanthropies, Northwell, and our Department of Health will manage and coordinate the Corps.

After the vaccination program is completed, New York will build on this Public Health Corps model by continuing to recruit and train public health professionals to staff State and county health agencies and this Corps will be available and prepared to serve the state in any future crisis.

Free Citizen Public Health Training: To empower and educate New Yorkers to be prepared for the next public health crises, the State will develop a free citizen public health training program with Cornell, offered online, to educate and certify thousands of New Yorkers to be prepared to volunteer to help their communities the next time there is a health emergency.

Fight for Overdue Federal Support to States Fighting COVID-19: New York was blindsided by the virus in early spring. Despite vast agencies tasked with monitoring health threats, and months of warning, the federal government failed to respond to — or even notice — the growing global pandemic. When they finally took notice, the federal government was solely focused on China such that they allowed 3 million travelers from Europe — where the virus was rapidly spreading —to enter New York City-area airports and others. This was an act of gross negligence by the federal government. New York State led the nation in its response. Left to fend for itself by the federal government, New Yorkers bent the curve and, with a science-based approach, re-opened much of the economy while maintaining some of the lowest infection rates in the nation.

However, even as portions of the economy have bounced back, many sectors have seen significant job losses and remain severely impacted, all contributing to New York’s significant fiscal challenges. The State is contending with a $15 billion budget gap created entirely by the pandemic. For too long, New York has been asked to unfairly subsidize the federal government. As the federal government’s number one donor, New York already leads the nation in sending more money to Washington than it gets back in return. On top of that, Washington has relentlessly abused this state, providing the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rate in the nation, starving infrastructure funding, and curtailing the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction, which raised New Yorkers’ taxes and starved New York of $30 billion over three years. After all of this, New York cannot also afford to pay the bill for the federal government’s incompetence.

Governor Cuomo will fight to ensure that the federal government takes responsibility and delivers the fair funding New York and other states are owed.

Pass a Comprehensive Adult-Use Cannabis Program: In 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to decriminalize the penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana. The legislation also put forth a process to expunge records for certain marijuana convictions. Later that year, the Governor spearheaded a multi-state summit to discuss paths towards legalization of adult-use cannabis that would ensure public health and safety, and coordinate programs regionally to minimize the cross-border movement of cannabis products.

Building on that important work, the Governor is proposing the creation of a new Office of Cannabis Management to oversee a new adult-use cannabis program, as well as the State’s existing medical and cannabinoid hemp programs. Additionally, an equitable structure for the adult-use market will be created by offering licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Cannabis legalization will create more than 60,000 new jobs, spurring $3.5 billion in economic activity and generating more than $300 million in tax revenue when fully implemented.

Enabling Online Sports Betting: The sports gambling market is evolving rapidly. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court in Murphy v. NCAA overturned a federal law prohibiting most states from authorizing sports wagering. Sports wagering is now legal online in 14 states, including the bordering states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, while it is only legal in New York at four Upstate commercial gaming facilities and Native American gaming facilities. An industry study found that nearly 20 percent of New Jersey’s sports wagering revenue comes from New York residents, costing the State millions of dollars in lost tax revenue.

Under Governor Cuomo’s proposal, the New York State Gaming Commission will issue a request for proposals to select one or more providers to offer mobile sports wagering in New York. The Commission will also require any entity operating mobile wagering apps include safeguards against abuses and addiction. 

Create a Rapid Testing Network as a Tool to Help Businesses Reopen: Over the past several months, Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward reopening plan has paved the way for many businesses to resume operations safely through a phased approach and in accordance with public health protocols. While this has unleashed the ingenuity and creativity of New York businesses — such as new outdoor dining spaces and delivery options — it has also created significant financial struggles for these industries.

New York has been at the forefront of developing testing capacity throughout the COVID-19 crisis and will use that experience to help support the reopening of businesses. The State will continue to scale up the availability of testing to help businesses safely reduce capacity restrictions, as well as work with testing companies to stand up a network of convenient testing sites in city centers, starting with New York City. New York will also work with local governments to cut through any red tape to set up this critical infrastructure quickly. With this new network of rapid testing locations, a customer can stop into a new rapid testing facility, get tested, and 15 minutes later be cleared for dinner or a movie. This will provide an added layer of protection and confidence as New Yorkers resume economic activity.

Calls to divest police at Black Lives Matter protest in suburban Long Island and throughout the state prompted Governor Cuomo to demand localities work with communities to come up with police reform or lose state aid © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Facilitating Policing Reforms: This year, Governor Cuomo took swift and aggressive action to respond to community concerns and rebuild public trust in the law enforcement profession following the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, and far too many others. The Governor signed the “Say Their Name” reform agenda which repealed 50-a, banned chokeholds, prohibited race-based 911 calls, and codified his 2015 Executive Order that appointed the Attorney General as an independent prosecutor for police involved deaths of unarmed civilians. He also signed legislation creating the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office within the Attorney General’s Office to investigate complaints of misconduct filed against law enforcement agencies.

However, unrest and distrust continued to roil communities in New York and across the nation. Maintaining public safety is imperative; it is one of the essential roles of government, and communities require mutual trust and respect between police and the communities they serve. In recognition of this, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 203 creating the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative. This collaborative process requires all local governments and police forces to develop a plan to modernize their policing strategies and strengthen relationships with the communities they serve. Localities are required to engage their community and ratify a plan by April 1, 2021. Failure to complete this process will result in loss of State funding.

Facilitating the Creation of Statewide Childcare Options: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how a lack of access to affordable childcare can disrupt low-income families and force caregivers, primarily women, to choose between putting food on the table and caring for their children. While affordability serves as a barrier to families securing child care, there is also a lack of general accessibility of child care programs, as well as insufficient high quality provider capacity across the state which can inhibit families from accessing child care. 

To make child care more affordable and equitable for our most vulnerable children and their parents, Governor Cuomo will invest $40 million to reduce the burden of parent subsidy copays to help approximately 32,000 working families. This will ensure that no New York family pays more than 20 percent of their income above the federal poverty level for a child care subsidy co-pay, with the rest of the cost of care being covered by the subsidy.

To ensure that all families have access to high-quality child care, New York State will invest $6 million for start-up grants to create programs in child care deserts; increase the value of the New York State Employer-Provided Child Care Credit by expanding the amount a business can claim for qualified child care expenditures to up to $500,000 per year; create a new toolkit to provide guidance and assistance to businesses looking to subsidize and facilitate access to child care for their employees; and establish permanent child care sector workgroups within the Regional Economic Development Councils REDCs to guide and inform council decisions. The Governor will also establish a new Excelsior Child Care Investment Tax Credit available to recipients of the Excelsior Tax Credit as a bonus incentive to create and provide child care services for employees and their families.

To ease administrative burdens and make it easier and less costly to provide child care services, Governor Cuomo will adopt the Child Care Availability Task Force recommendations to standardize and modernize the child care subsidy system to eliminate waste, duplication, and confusing rules for families. Specifically, the Governor will direct the Office of Children and Family Services and the Council on Children and Families to examine federal and state statutes and regulations to identify opportunities for reform and streamlining; eliminate redundant background checks that increase administrative burdens and costs for providers; and advance legislation to eliminate the requirement that individuals seeking employment at OCFS or in New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regulated programs submit a new Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment clearance form when they move to a new program.

Streamlining and Enhancing Work to Address Gender-Based Violence: Ending domestic violence and sexual assault has been at the top of New York’s agenda since Governor Cuomo first took office. Throughout his time as Governor, Governor Cuomo has signed extensive legislation relating to ensuring safety for girls, women, and all survivors of domestic trauma and abuse, including legislation in the FY 2021 budget authorizing law enforcement to remove guns from the scene of a domestic violence incident, and requiring judges to consider the effects of domestic violence while determining distribution of marital property. The Governor also signed the Enough is Enough law in July, 2015 to address sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking on college campuses.

The Governor is now proposing to take this work a step further through a comprehensive package of initiatives to combat domestic violence and gender-based violence. The package includes a proposal allowing courts to require abusers to pay for damages to housing units, moving expenses, and other housing costs related to domestic violence, as well as a proposals to create a domestic violence misdemeanor label to close the domestic violence gun-purchasing loophole to ensure abusers cannot obtain weapons who are convicted of misdemeanor assaults on a domestic partner. 

Additionally, the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence will be transformed into a reimagined agency, the Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, and will be tasked with addressing the intersection of the many forms of intimate partner violence, including domestic violence and sexual violence, in a survivor-centered and comprehensive manner.

Providing Rent and Mortgage Relief for Tenants and Small Business Owners: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented economic dislocation across the United States, and New York is no exception. The financial hardships arising from business closures and resulting unemployment touch on every aspect of life but are perhaps most acutely felt by New Yorkers in danger of losing their homes or businesses because they can no longer afford to pay their mortgage or rent.  

The Governor has already signed legislation placing a moratorium on residential evictions until May 1, 2021 for tenants who have endured COVID-related hardship. Taking this effort a step further, Governor Cuomo will codify his Executive Order banning fees for late and missed rent payments during the pandemic and allowing tenants to use their security deposit as immediate payment and repay the deposit over time, keeping those protections in place through May 1. The Governor will also codify his Executive Order to establish a statewide moratorium on commercial evictions until May 1 for commercial tenants who have endured COVID-related hardship.

Eliminating Health Care Premiums for Low-Income New Yorkers: The COVID-19 pandemic showcased the persistent, staggering healthcare disparities in this country and in New York State. Blacks, Latinos, Asians and poor communities paid the highest price for COVID-19. Higher rates of underlying conditions were a major driver of these disparities. Increasing access to affordable healthcare will help address these disparities and help ensure that New York emerges from the pandemic stronger and more equitable.

Through New York’s successful health insurance exchange, the New York State of Health, low-income families qualify for the state’s Essential Plan for free or with a maximum premium of $20 a month per person. However, families and individuals still struggle with the expense. To make coverage more affordable for low-income New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo will eliminate these monthly premiums for over 400,000 New Yorkers, saving families nearly $100 million per year in premiums and enrolling 100,000 New Yorkers who are currently uninsured. 

Continuing New York’s Liberty Defense Project: Launched in 2017 under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the first-in-the-nation Liberty Defense Project has provided more than 45,000 vital legal services to immigrants and communities in need — particularly those who have been targeted by federal immigration enforcement tactics, including those in Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals or Temporary Protected Status. The project is administered by the Office for New Americans and runs in partnership with law firms, legal associations, advocacy organizations, colleges, universities, and bar associations across the state. The Liberty Defense Project provides free legal consultations and screenings for immigrants throughout New York, direct representation in deportation proceedings and other cases, assistance in applying for naturalization and employment authorization, and other education and support, including connection to social services and health care.

This year, Governor Cuomo will continue to support the Liberty Defense Project to keep fighting for immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families. New York’s strength, character, and pride are found in the diversity and rich culture that makes us the Empire State. We will continue to support and defend all who call New York home.

Strengthening and expanding access to elections is part of Governor Cuomo’s 2021 agenda (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Strengthening and Expanding Access to Elections: Building from New York’s previous landmark election reforms, Governor Cuomo has put forth a transformational proposal that continues to expand access to voting and improves procedures to speed up vote counting and add additional time for early voting. Specifically:

         Expand Access to Early Voting:Governor Cuomo will advance legislation that extends early voting hours from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on weekends as well as on a minimum of three week days during the ten-day early voting period.

         No-Excuse Absentee Voting for All New Yorkers:In 2019, Governor Cuomo celebrated the Legislature’s passage of a resolution beginning the process of amending the state constitution to make no-excuse absentee voting a reality in our state. In 2021, the Governor will call on the Legislature to act quickly to pass the resolution again so that the proposed amendment can go on the ballot to be ratified by the voters.

         Allow More Time for Voters to Request Absentee Ballots: The state’s election law currently prohibits voters from requesting their absentee ballots more than 30 days prior to Election Day. Particularly in elections with large numbers of absentee voters, this timeline may make it difficult for county boards of elections to process ballot requests in a timely and efficient manner. This, in turn, provides voters with less time to receive their ballots, vote, and mail them back. Governor Cuomo will advance legislation allowing voters to request absentee ballots 45 days prior to the election, ensuring they can be mailed as soon as the ballot is finalized and approved by the Board.

         Speed Up the Counting of Absentee Ballots:New York State’s election law does not facilitate the speedy counting of large numbers of absentee ballots – the law only requires that boards of elections meet to process and count ballots within two weeks of a general election and within eight days of a primary election. To ensure that New York State counts absentee votes quickly and efficiently after each election, Governor Cuomo will introduce legislation requiring county boards of elections to process absentee ballots as they are received and to begin counting and reporting those ballots on Election Day.

Creatively Repurposing Underutilized Commercial Space for Additional Housing: As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, New York, like states across the country, has seen an increase in telework and a reduction in travel. New York City must, and will, remain a global commercial hub, by ensuring that its central business district remains the paramount location for the world’s most innovative and successful businesses and their employees. Reduced demand for office and hotel space has created an opportunity to repurpose formerly commercial space that has far greater potential for use as housing, including affordable and supportive housing, to create dynamic, 24/7 walk-to-work neighborhoods.

Governor Cuomo will propose legislation to allow property owners to convert office buildings and hotels in New York to residential use. Stimulating housing conversion will create thousands of good-paying jobs, increase housing affordability, and support long-term economic growth by helping New York’s employers attract and retain talent. 

Ensuring Safe Shelters and Providing Sustained Care for Homeless on the Street: Governor Cuomo has been a leader in protecting and serving homeless New Yorkers throughout his entire career, and he took action during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure they received the support and care they need. In September, Governor Cuomo directed the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to issue guidance to all social services 

REOPENING SAFELY AND SMARTLY FOLLOWING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Safely Bringing Back the Arts with Pop-Up Performances and Events: New York is the cultural capital of the world. Our unique cultural assets — Broadway, museums, film, comedy, dance, and music — are fundamental to both the economy and the spirit of New York. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the $120 billion arts and cultural sector accounted for nearly eight percent of the state’s economy, and nearly 500,000 jobs. In less than a year, over two million jobs in the creative arts were lost nationally, including tens of thousands of jobs in New York.

New York State will launch a public-private partnership that will organize “pop-up” performances and arts events across the state beginning in February. More than 150 world-class artists including Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Renée Fleming, Wynton Marsalis, and Hugh Jackman will participate, along with arts organizations such as the Ballet Hispanico, Ars Nova, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the National Black Theatre, Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake, and many others supported by New York State Council on the Arts, which works with over 2,000 arts organizations across the state.

Supporting New York Artists Through the Creatives Rebuild Initiative: The State will partner with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch a Creatives Rebuild initiative. Developed in partnership with the Reimagine New York Commission, this initiative will put back to work 1,000 artists who have been impacted by the crisis and will invest in dozens of small arts organizations that make our towns and cities so dynamic. Arts have a multiplying effect on the economy. Creatives Rebuild will provide New York artists support so they can help build more vibrant communities across New York.

First-in-the-Nation Affordable Internet for All Low-Income Families: When the COVID-19 virus first came to New York and then quickly began to spread throughout our communities, students and adults alike had to adapt to remote learning and remote work to keep each other safe. Immediately, it became clear that universal broadband was a prerequisite for success in a remote world. Currently, a basic high-speed internet plan costs, on average, more than $50 a month. Governor Cuomo will propose first-in-the-nation legislation requiring internet service providers to offer an affordable $15 per month high speed internet plan to all 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 will partner with Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation to launch a new hardship fund to pay for internet subscriptions for our most in need students who cannot afford $15 per month during this crisis. 

After nearly $500 million dollars invested to expand broadband internet to 98 percent of the state, New York will also lead the nation in making broadband affordable. Without affordable broadband, people are not only disconnected, they are disenfranchised. The Reimagine New York Commission reported to the Governor that high-quality, affordable broadband must be available to everyone and in New York we will make sure it is.

Partner with New York Businesses to Invest in Workforce Training, Expand Apprenticeships and Mentorships, and Reform Recruitment and Promotion Policies: The COVID-19 health emergency has pushed many New Yorkers out of work, with the greatest losses impacting lower and middle-income households. Equally important is the demand side of the workforce equation: Businesses must help design programs to meet skill gaps and commit to hiring workers once training is complete. 

In partnership with the Governor’s Reimagine New York Commission, New York is launching a Pathways Pledge among New York’s leading employers, both public and private, to commit to reforming their talent recruitment, investment, and promotion policies and ensure more equitable workforces post-COVID-19. To date, 16 companies have made the pledge, affecting more than 120,000 workers in New York State. In 2021, New York State plans to triple that commitment. 

Participating employers have committed to at least two of the following: Investing in workforce retraining; creating apprenticeship opportunities for underrepresented populations; providing additional supports for low-income trainees in the form of child care or transportation subsidies; removing high school or postsecondary degree requirements for new hires; scaling relationships with existing workforce development partners to provide adequate time off for interviews and professional development opportunities, and develop new relationships with New York State providers serving underserved communities.

Provide Scholarships to Low-Income Workers for Workforce Training Programs: While many in the New York community colleges, nonprofits, or business training providers offer workforce training, workers who do not qualify for current college subsidies must pay the full cost. This can be a barrier to entry into the training opportunities needed to achieve higher wages and break into growing industries.

As New York builds back better, Governor Cuomo is announcing nearly $5 million in scholarships to create more opportunities for low-income, working New Yorkers to enter the middle class. Like the successful Excelsior Scholarship which launched in 2017, this program will make high-quality credential programs free for low-income New Yorkers, empowering them to earn credentials that will lead to middle-class jobs in high-demand industries.  

Expand SUNY’s Online Training Center to Close Skills Gaps and Fill High Demand Jobs: The COVID-19 public health crisis has led to an economic crisis across New York State and the world. The working class was particularly hard hit with leisure and hospitality, trade and logistics, and retail industries facing unprecedented revenue losses. As workers seek new job opportunities, non-degree certification credential programs can be an important way to close skills gaps and fill high demand jobs.

Governor Cuomo will expand 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

Convene a Commission on the Future of New York’s Economy: Governor Cuomo will establish the Commission on the Future of New York’s Economy to put forth a roadmap to address the underlying inequities exposed by the COVID-19 crisis, — including the socio-economic disparities that the crisis exacerbated — get New York back to work in jobs that pay well and continue to attract people from around the world to live and work in New York. The Commission will be composed of leading members of the nation’s academic, business, labor, and civil society leaders. NYU Wagner School of Public Service Dean Sherry Glied will serve as Executive Director of this Commission. 

GROWING THE GREEN ENERGY ECONOMY

Long Islanders protest to win LIPA’s approval of offshore wind farms in 2016. Governor Cuomo announced two of the largest offshore wind projects in the nation that will are being built off Montauk and the south shore of Long Island that will produce 2490 megawatts of carbon-free energy and $8.9 billion in investment © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Largest Offshore Wind Program in the Nation: In 2021, New York will continue to build out its nation-leading green economic recovery and accelerate renewable energy development programs. 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, bring another $8.9 billion in investment, and create more than 5,200 jobs. 

Once the large-scale renewable and offshore wind farms are complete, more than half of New York’s electricity will come from renewable sources, putting the state ahead of schedule toward reaching its goal of 70 percent renewable energy by 2030.

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, including:  

         The nation’s first offshore wind tower-manufacturing facility to be built at the Port of Albany. 

         An offshore wind turbine staging facility and operations and maintenance hub to be established at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. 

         Increasing the use of the Port of Coeymans for cutting-edge turbine foundation manufacturing, and

         Buttressing the ongoing operations and maintenance out of Port Jefferson and Port of Montauk Harbor in Long Island.

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, and will ultimately yield 2,600 short- and long-term jobs in the offshore wind industry.

Construct New York’s Green Energy Transmission Superhighway: As New York builds substantial capacity to generate clean energy Upstate, the next challenge is to create a modern transmission system capable of delivering this electricity efficiently to high-demand areas Downstate. Last year, New Yorkers utility bills reflected approximately $1 billion in unnecessary “congestion costs” because of bottlenecks on our antiquated transmission grid. 

 In 2021, 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 construction will soon start on several key projects in Western New York, Mid-Hudson, and the Capital Region. 

New York has issued a Request for Proposals for transmission arteries to bring renewable energy from Upstate and Canada to New York City. Supercharging the new transmission superhighway will be vital to completing New York’s nation-leading green economic recovery and accelerating renewable energy development programs. Current and planned investments will result in more than 1,000 jobs and $5 billion of public and private sector investment.

Solar panel array on a farm in the Finger Lakes, New York. Cuomo is advocating public-private partnerships to build nearly 100 renewable energy projects © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Public-Private Partnership to Build Nearly 100 Renewable Energy Projects: New York’s clean energy transformation has accelerated rapidly over the past five years. During this period, the State has contracted for the construction of 68 new large-scale renewable energy facilities including solar farms, onshore wind farms, and three offshore wind farms that are among the largest in the nation. These investments in renewable energy have brought economic activity to 34 distinct counties, will add 6,100 megawatts of clean energy capacity to the state’s infrastructure, and generate investment of more than $12 billion.

To build on this remarkable progress, 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. 

Energy Storage Projects: New York will continue to develop and deploy state-of-the-art renewable energy storage technology and facilities to generate electricity, build the capacity for storage, and help the state achieve its ambitious climate plans. To that end, the New York Power Authority has already begun construction on a large-scale, 20-megawatt battery storage project in Northern New York, one of the largest storage projects in the State’s growing portfolio of almost 1,000 megawatts of contracted storage projects. These projects will help meet the electricity demands of 1.2 million New York homes using renewable energy. In addition, these projects will help continue propelling this fast-growing job sector.

Train the Green Energy Workforce: New York’s accelerated renewable energy development program is creating thousands of well-paying jobs.  To make sure all New Yorkers benefit directly from growth in this sector, the State is investing $20 million in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute based at SUNY Stony Brook and Farmingdale State College. The Institute will train at least 2,500 New Yorkers for good-paying jobs in wind and renewable. energy. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the State University of New York has issued the first solicitation for advanced technology training partners to leverage our SUNY system and train the first group of workers beginning in the summer of 2021.

New York is also investing $700 million in building electrification solutions for approximately 130,000 buildings in the state, including a variety of heat pump technologies, and the training of 14,000 workers for the new heat pump markets.. Approximately 25 percent of the workers trained will be from disadvantaged communities or priority populations. 

Combined with our efforts in the buildings and transportation sectors, our entire green economy recovery will create 12,400 megawatts of green energy to power 6 million homes, directly create over 50,000 jobs, and spur more than $29 billion in public and private investment, while delivering to environmental justice communities and benefiting all New Yorkers by securing our carbon-free climate future.

BUILDING AND STRENGTHENING NEW YORK’S INFRASTRUCTURE

Governor Cuomo said he would build upon the opening of the $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall,  New York’s most ambitious transportation and infrastructure upgrade in decades, as an example of New York State’s “can-do,” forward-looking attitude fundamental to his “Reimagine, Rebuild, Renew” agenda © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Midtown West Redevelopment in New York City: New York State has long led some of New York City’s most successful and transformational macro-development projects, from Battery Park City to Roosevelt Island, to the transformation of Times Square. This year, the Governor has already announced the opening of the $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall,  New York’s most ambitious transportation and infrastructure upgrade in decades, and plans to extend the High Line to Moynihan Train Hall.  In 2021, New York State will build on that progress to complete the buildout and connectivity of Midtown West with a bold transit-oriented development plan. The $51 billion plan will create 196,000 jobs, new outdoor spaces, affordable housing, improved public transit and pedestrian connections, and bring commercial and affordable housing opportunities to the burgeoning Manhattan neighborhood. The multi-faceted plan includes:

         Replacing the Port Authority Bus Terminal:The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will replace the outdated terminal with a new state-of-the-art facility to better serve the over a quarter million daily passengers. The project will not only reduce congestion on city streets and improve air quality but will transform mass transit to and from the West Side of Manhattan. Renderings of the future bus terminal are available here.

         Developing the Empire Station ComplexWith the completion of the Moynihan Train Hall, which opened to the public on January 1, 2021, the State will turn its attention to the existing Penn Station, just across the street. The State will start on a comprehensive $16 billion project to reconstruct the existing station and add track capacity. By acquiring property south of Penn Station, we can expand the complex to 40 percent more train capacity and at least eight additional underground tracks to cut down on delays and improve operations for the more than 600,000 passengers it serves daily. Renderings for the reconstruction of the existing station can be found here.

The signature transportation project will create nearly 60,000 direct jobs, and New York State stands ready to work with New Jersey Transit, Amtrak, and the federal government to share in this historic investment for the future of the region. The transformation of Penn Station also anticipates the Gateway Project, including two tunnels to bring more trains across the Hudson from the west and the renovation of the two existing tunnels, for a total of four train tunnels from New Jersey and beyond.

         Affordable Housing and Community Restoration: With the new transportation complex as a cornerstone, the Midtown West development will also include new housing and commercial development opportunities in the area. In total, the area spanning from Broadway to the Hudson will include up to 14 buildings that will yield more than 20 million square feet of retail, commercial, and residential development and provide up to 1,400 much-needed units of affordable housing in a transit, job, and amenity-rich community.

         New Waterfront Park at Pier 76: Located west of the Javits Center and 36th Street, the State will transform Pier 76 from an NYPD car tow pound to a 5.6-acre expansion of Hudson River Park. In the short term, it can become a magnificent public space that allows visitor access to the waterfront while the Hudson River Park Trust develops plans for the Pier’s long-term future. Renderings of Pier 76 are available here.

         Javits Center Expansion: The 1.2 million-square-foot, $1.5 billion expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Center will be completed in 2021, increasing capacity of the nation’s busiest convention center by 50 percent. The expansion will include a rooftop pavilion and outdoor terrace for 1,500 people; a one-acre rooftop farm; a 54,000-square foot special event space with Hudson River views; 90,000 square feet of new exhibition space that will create 500,000 square feet of contiguous exhibition space; and a truck marshaling facility to reduce congestion and pollution.

Modernizing New York Airports:

         Continue to build the new LaGuardia Airport: New York will continue the historic $8 billion transformation of LaGuardia Airport. Upon receipt of a positive record of decision from the federal government, New York State will continue work on the $2 billion AirTrain LaGuardia. In addition, the vast majority of the roadway network will be completed this year and marks significant progress on Delta’s new state-of-the-art terminal and concourses on the east side of the airport. When complete, the new LaGuardia will be the first new major airport built in the United States since 1995. The new LaGuardia will serve more than 30 million passengers per year and will have created 14,000 jobs.

         Continue the transformation of JFK Airport: New York State will continue the $13 billion plan to transform John F. Kennedy International Airport into a modern airport built for the 21st century. When complete, the brand new JFK will safely and efficiently serve more than 75 million passengers per year. The project is also slated to create nearly 30,000 jobs. As part of the JFK Airport transformation, the State is modernizing the Kew Gardens Interchange, which serves more than 200,000 vehicles daily. The final phase of this $700 million project will be complete in 2022.

Albany International Airport. New York State has invested $200 million in revitalizing upstate airports. Cuomo is committing $100 million more (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization: Building on a $200 million investment through the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, the Governor will commit an additional $100 million in round two funding for continued renewal and modernization. Funding will include enhanced securityscreening, expanded and rehabilitated terminals, stateofthe-art boarding concourses and concession areas, and innovations in contactless technology.

Improving Mass Transit for Millions of New Yorkers:

         Phase II of Second Ave Subway Extension: The MTA remains in desperate need of further federal funding so it can continue its essential role in supporting the region. That said, it is committed to implementing its historic $51.5 billion 2020-2024 Capital Plan. Upon resolving funding uncertainty caused by COVID-19, MTA will get this program back on track with repair projects, signal modernization, and ADA accessibility projects progressing in 2021. Other projects supported include upgraded stations, thousands of new buses and train cars, and critical maintenance and upgrades for bridges, tunnels, and other infrastructure. In addition, with necessary multi-year federal support, MTA will further extend the Second Avenue Subway, from 96th Street to 125th Street.

         LIRR Third Track Project:The Long Island Rail Road’s historic and transformative third track project will complete a new third track along a critical 9.8-mile section of LIRR’s Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville to increase track capacity, improve reliability, and significantly enhance service for LIRR customers. The $2.6 billion project also includes the construction of additional parking garages, the renovation of stations, new and renovated bridges, and modern track and signal infrastructure. By the end of 2021, MTA will have completed all eight of the grade crossing eliminations on the mainline, six of which will have new vehicular underpasses.

Updates to Highways, Roads and Bridges:

 

During 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Cuomo cut the ribbon on the new Mario Cuomo Bridge which replaced the Tappan Zee across the Hudson, with a stunning recreational path. The project was one of the largest infrastructure projects in the United States© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Access to Hunts Point: New York State will invest $1.7 billion to create direct access to and from the Bruckner Expressway and Sheridan Boulevard for trucks serving the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center. The highway redesign will take traffic off local roadways, significantly reducing both noise and air pollution in a borough with high asthma rates. The entire project is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2025. 

I-390/490 Interchange Improvements: In 2021, the State will complete a $150 million project to ease access and improve traffic flow along Route 31, Route 390, and the Interstate 390/490 Interchange in Monroe County. This interchange will serve as a vital connection for nearly 200,000 motorists daily.

Re-deck the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge: The State will continue work on the Newburgh Beacon Bridge to complete a full deck replacement on the north span of the bridge over the Hudson River. Re-decking will improve roadway safety, drivability, and durability. This $95 million investment will be complete in 2022, nine months ahead of schedule.

Replace the Syracuse I-81 Viaduct: The State will conduct an environmental and public review of its proposal to replace the Interstate 81 viaduct in Syracuse. This $1.9 billion project will connect communities and create opportunities for new residential and commercial development. The project is expected to break ground in 2022. 

Governor Cuomo also announced progress on a number of major infrastructure updates across New York State that invest in communities to open new public spaces, attract tourism, and create jobs.

Buffalo Skyway: Governor Cuomo initiated a large-scale planning and design effort to maximize waterfront access and free up to 45 acres for development through the removal of the Skyway Bridge in downtown Buffalo and transform it into a spectacular park. New York State will complete the environmental review process this year and, with federal approval, will be ready to break ground this year.

Albany Skyway Conversion: Through an $11.4 million partnership with the City of Albany, the State is converting an underutilized interstate exit ramp into an iconic linear park with a landscaped promenade, event spaces, and an accessible shared-use path connecting downtown Albany with the Arbor Hill and Sheridan Hollow neighborhoods, Albany’s warehouse district, and the Corning Riverfront Park. Construction will be completed this year.

Binghamton University Health Sciences Campus: In 2021, Binghamton University will complete construction of its transformational, $287 million, 13-acre Health Sciences Campus in downtown Johnson City. This includes the 108,000 square-foot Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences, which will welcome hundreds of students this Spring; a new 105,000 square-foot school of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences with more than 350 faculty, staff, and students; a new eldercare teaching clinic in partnership with Lourdes Hospital; and a pharmacological R&D facility. Overall this project will have created more than 225 new jobs and involved more than 200 construction jobs.

New Mohawk Valley Health System Hospital in Utica: This year, work will continue on Mohawk Valley Health System’s $548 million new state-of-the-art hospital in downtown Utica. The 672,000-square-foot, nine-story, 373-bed facility is projected to be completed by 2023.

Complete the Belmont Arena: The Belmont Park Redevelopment is replacing 43 acres of underutilized parking lots with a 19,000-seat arena that will bring the New York Islanders hockey team back home to Long Island. The arena includes a world-class retail village, and a new hotel. New York Arena Partners is leading the 350,000-square-foot development, bringing $1.3 billion in private investment to the 115-year-old horse-racing facility. The project also includes the renovation of two nearby community parks, new community space, and the first new LIRR train station in 40 years. Construction is well underway, with completion of the arena slated for the 2021-2022 NHL season; east-bound LIRR service to open in fall 2021. In total, this project will create more than 12,000 direct and indirect jobs throughout construction and once completed.  

Bay Park Reconstruction: The State has been working with Nassau County on the $439 million Bay Park Conveyance Project to reduce nitrogen pollution by more than 50 percent and to connect the plant to an existing ocean outfall. This $1.2 billion-plus investment will result in dramatic improvements in the water quality while stemming the rapid degradation of the marsh islands that provide a natural barrier for flood protection for southern Nassau County. In 2021, construction will begin on the Bay Park outflow system. Renderings of the Bay Park project are available here.

ROC the Riverway: The Riverway Rochester redevelopment project, supported by a $50 million New York State investment, will achieve several key milestones in 2021 with more than half its projects reaching completion, including the expansion of the Blue Cross Arena Exchange Expansion and the West River floodwall projects, as well as the continued construction of the major overhaul to Charles Carrol Park. 

LEGOLAND: The 150-acre LEGOLAND theme park in Orange County will open this year. The $420 million investment will draw tourists back to New York after the pandemic and create approximately 1,000 jobs.

New Whiteface Mid-Station Lodge: The Whiteface Mountain rebuilt a $14 million mid-station lodge following a devastating fire in 2019. The new lodge is open for the 2020-21 ski season with limited services and will be completed this year.
 

NYS Dramatically Expands Number Eligible to Schedule COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments

The Initial Groups of Phase 1b Now Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine Include Individuals 75 and Older, First Responders, Corrections Officers, Teachers and Other School Staff; In-Person College Instructors, Childcare Workers, Public Facing Grocery Store Workers, Transit Workers and Individuals Living and Working in Homeless Shelters

Vaccine Administrations to Begin at Hundreds of New Sites This Week As Part Of New York’s Newly Expanded Vaccine Distribution Network

Due to Limited Federal Distribution of Vaccine Supply All New Yorkers are Encouraged to Remain Patient When Scheduling Appointments 

Appointments Could Take Up to 14 Weeks Due to Limited Federal Allocation

Click Here to Determine Eligibility and Schedule Appointments with Administrating Providers

Nassau County, Long Island, just opened a second county vaccination site, at the Yes We Can center in a hard-hit community of Westbury. New York State has opened up eligibility to schedule a free COVID-19 vaccination  to 4 million New Yorkers, though supply lags. It could take up to 14 weeks to schedule an appointment due to limited federal allocation © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the  New Yorkers within priority group 1b can now begin scheduling appointments with individual providers, including pharmacies, local health departments, and hospitals, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Those now eligible to receive the vaccine include individuals 75 and older, first responders, public safety officers, teachers and other school staff;  in-person college instructors, childcare workers, public-facing grocery store workers, transit workers and individuals living and working in homeless shelters. Eligibility determinations and a list of nearby providers where appointments can be scheduled can all be done through New York’s new ‘Am I Eligible ” app. New Yorkers can begin calling the New York State Vaccination Hotline at 4PM on Monday, January 11: 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829). 

Since federal supply severely limits the ability to distribute vaccine, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment. New York’s vast distribution network and large population of more than 4 million eligible individuals in this priority group dwarf the vaccine supply coming from the federal government, which is arriving at a rate of approximately 300,000 doses per week. As such, eligible New Yorkers should be prepared to receive an appointment date as far as 14 weeks in the future.

“After ten long months, the expansion of eligibility for additional New Yorkers to begin making their COVID-19 vaccination plan is a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Governor Cuomo. “The vaccine is the weapon that will end the war, and as we continue to prioritize healthcare workers as hospital capacity necessitates, New York is proud to have reached this milestone and we strongly encourage all who are newly eligible to schedule their free vaccination appointment as soon as possible.” 

Under New York’s expanded eligibility, the following individuals will now be eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment:

Individuals Age 75 and older

First Responders and Support Staff of First Responder Agencies

Fire Service

State Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)

Local Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)

Police and Investigators

State Police, including Troopers

State Park Police, DEC Police, Forest Rangers

SUNY Police

Sheriffs’ Offices

County Police Departments and Police Districts

City, Town, and Village Police Departments

Transit of other Public Authority Police Departments

State Field Investigators, including Department of Motor Vehicles, State Commission of Correction, Justice Center, Department of Financial Service, Inspector General, Department of Tax and Finance, Office of Children and Family Services, and State Liquor Authority

Public Safety Communications

Emergency Communication and Public Safety Answering Point Personnel, including dispatchers and technicians

Other Sworn and Civilian Personnel

Court Officers

Other Police or Peace Officers

Support of Civilian Staff of any of the above services, agencies or facilities

Corrections

State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Personnel, including correction and parole officers

Local Correctional Facilities, including correction officers

Local Probation Departments, including probation officers

State Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities

Local Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities

P-12 Schools

P-12 school or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff, and support staff including bus drivers)

Contractors working in a P-12 school or school district (including contracted bus drivers)

In-Person College Instructors

Employees or Support Staff of Licensed, Registered, Approved or Legally Exempt Childcare Setting

Licensed, Registered, Approved or Legally Exempt Childcare Providers

In-Person College Instructors 

Public-Facing Grocery Store Workers

Public Transit

Airline and airport employees

Passenger railroad employees

Subway and mass transit employees (i.e., MTA, LIRR, Metro North, NYC Transit, Upstate transit)

Ferry employees

Port Authority employees

Public bus employee

Individuals living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared with individuals and families who are not part of your the same household

Individuals working (paid or unpaid) in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared by individuals and families who are not part of the same household, in a position where there is potential for interaction with shelter residents

Until this point, 2.1 million New Yorkers in priority group 1A have been eligible to receive the vaccine. This includes patient-facing health care and other critical hospital workers, seniors living in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, and people with disabilities living in congregate settings. Distribution sites were established directly within hospitals, FQHCs, and urgent care clinics to provide direct access to all those eligible. To further accelerate the vaccination rate of priority health care workers, and begin the vaccination of group 1B essential workers and 75-plus year olds, New York has established a network of distribution sites that will supplement the work being done in hospitals to prevent any one hospital from becoming overburdened.

This new network will utilize doctors’ offices, Federally-Qualified Health Centers, county health departments, ambulatory centers and pharmacies to get doses in the arms of eligible New Yorkers. More than 1,200 pharmacies have already committed to participating in this network, with nearly 500 scheduled to come on-line this week. Providers across the state will begin accepting vaccination reservations on Monday, January 11 when a centralized state website goes online that lists nearby providers where appointments can be scheduled. Pharmacies will be provided vaccines for New Yorkers aged 75 and older, while hospitals will continue vaccinating 1a healthcare workers, and local health departments and union-organized efforts will serve essential workers in 1b.

Additionally, the Department of Health is setting up 20 mass distribution sites throughout the state over the next several weeks to support all categories of eligibility. Opening on Wednesday:

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center (NYC)

Westchester County Convention Center (Westchester County –  in partnership with County Health Dept. and Westchester Medical Center)

State Fairgrounds (Onondaga County – in partnership with County Health Dept.)

Additional sites will be launched in the days to come.

Under this expanded vaccination network, hospitals will continue to prioritize unvaccinated members of 1A: health care workers. Additionally, large union groups, including but not limited to police, firefighters and educators, have been asked to organize plans for vaccinating their members to the extent possible, incorporating coordination and partnership with local health departments. This will enable other providers in the network to focus on New Yorkers over the age of 75, which represents the largest group in 1B at approximately 1.4 million people.

Cuomo Outlines Plan to Expedite COVID19 Vaccinations Throughout New York State

Sandra Lindsay, an intensive care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, part of the Northwell hospital system, was the first American to receive the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. “I wanted to inspire people who look like me.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.

New York State announced its plan to dramatically increase vaccination efforts, approving 3,762 providers to serve as vaccination sites. Currently, 636 locations have been activated.

By the end of this week, the state would have distributed 911,000 first doses for administration to eligible New Yorkers.

In an effort to take pre-emptive steps to ensure this network of sites does not become immediately overwhelmed once the vaccine is available to the general public, Governor Andrew Cuomo is encouraging essential worker groups such as police departments, fire departments, educators, and public transit organizations to begin developing plans for their workforce if possible. The more groups of essential workers able to receive vaccines through internal distribution plans, the more availability there will be for those New Yorkers seeking the vaccine through the “retail network,” he said.

To further bolster these plans, New York is continuing to move forward on a number of special efforts to ensure resources are in place to facilitate widespread vaccination, especially in underserved communities. Pop-up vaccination centers will be established to facilitate public vaccinations. The state is also identifying public facilities and convention centers to also be used as vaccination centers. This includes the Javits Center, as well as SUNY and CUNY facilities. The state is also actively recruiting retired nurses, doctors and pharmacists to support vaccine administrations.

At the same time, the Governor renewed his call on the federal government to test all travelers from outside the United States. Despite the fact that the highly transmissible UK strain has been identified in 33 countries, as well as here in the state of New York, the federal government has yet to learn from mistakes made in the spring and mandate testing for international travelers entering the country, he said.

“The vaccine is the weapon that will win this war and we must move quickly and efficiently to get New Yorkers vaccinated as soon they become eligible,” Governor Cuomo said.”All health care workers can now receive the vaccine and the state is working around the clock to ensure resources are in place as more and more members of the general public become eligible to receive it. While these efforts are underway, the UK strain of the virus remains highly problematic – it is here and it could complicate matters further, as it is much more transmissible. Despite all of this, the federal government continues its refusal to test all international travelers entering the country. Government is supposed to be competent, government leaders are supposed to be competent. We already saw this situation play out in the spring – have we learned nothing?”

New York is working around the clock to distribute vaccines to eligible groups as fairly and expeditiously as possible, he said. Work is also under way to prepare for widespread vaccination of the general public once allowable under state guidelines. As part of this work, New York has worked with the public and private sectors across the state to develop a ‘retail network’ of vaccination provider sites. Similar to operations for the annual distribution of the influenza vaccine and ongoing COVID-19 testing, these sites will help ensure access to the vaccine through multiple locations in each of the state’s 10 regions. The network includes pharmacies, federally-qualified health centers, local health departments, private urgent care clinics, private doctor networks, and other sites capable of vaccinations. More sites continue to be added to the network every day.

A breakdown of the different types of retail vaccination sites:

Site TypeNumber Enrolled to Administer Vaccine
Medical Practice1,285
Pharmacy – Chain802
Long-Term Care /Congregate Living Facility510
Federally Qualified Health Center325
Hospital/Hospital Sites250
Urgent Care238
Community/Rural/Public Health Center & Clinic176
Other176

The regional breakdown of sites:

RegionNumber of Sites Enrolled to Administer Vaccine
New York City845
Long Island713
Mid-Hudson549
Capital Region343
North Country150
Mohawk Valley147
Southern Tier145
Central New York222
Finger Lakes297
Western New York351

Already, 636 of these sites have been activated and are administering the vaccine to eligible New Yorkers. Those include:

Site TypeNumber
Federally Qualified Health Centers244
Hospital/Hospital Sites213
Urgent Care Clinics133
Local Health Departments46

A regional breakdown of activated sites:

RegionNumber of Sites
New York City207
Long Island105
Mid-Hudson104
Capital Region37
North Country25
Mohawk Valley19
Southern Tier23
Central New York29
Finger Lakes47
Western New York40

A main focus of these efforts is ensuring vaccine access in under-served communities and health care deserts. The state has already begun building Community Vaccination Kits and working with public housing officials, churches, and community centers to support these efforts and deploy kits to the appropriate locations. Each kit includes step-by-step instructions for how to set up a site, and critical supplies and equipment such as office supplies, workstation equipment, communications equipment, cleaning supplies, lighting equipment, PPE, crowd/traffic control equipment, vials, syringes, room dividers and privacy curtains.

Go to https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ for more details.

Governor Cuomo Calls on Congress to Renew, Expand Federal COVID Relief

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, now the chair of the National Governors Association, entreated Congress to renew and expand federal support programs for unemployed Americans — many of which have expired or will end just days after Christmas. The Governor sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to act quickly as states across the country face record levels of coronavirus  infections, hospitalizations and deaths while millions of Americans remain unemployed © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called on Congress to renew and expand federal support programs for unemployed Americans — many of which have expired or will end just days after Christmas. The programs provide critical benefits for millions of American families that have faced unemployment as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including supplemental benefits for individuals and support for local and state governments. The Governor sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to act quickly as states across the country face another surge of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths while millions of Americans remain unemployed.

“The pandemic has not just impacted Americans’ health — it has also created an unprecedented economic crisis. As we enter the holiday season, and as states once again enact stronger measures to stop COVID, critical federal unemployment benefits are about to expire. Inaction from Washington is putting millions of Americans’ financial security at risk,” Governor Cuomo said.”Congress moved decisively this spring to address the economic impacts of the pandemic and should once again take action before the calendar year ends to bring badly needed support to millions of struggling Americans.”

Separately, Cuomo, who is also National Governors Association Chairman, and Arkansas Governor and NGA Vice Chairman Asa Hutchinson issued a statement regarding ongoing negotiations over a new coronavirus relief bill:

“Even as COVID-19 vaccine trials show remarkable results and the pandemic finish line is in sight, the danger the virus poses has never been greater. Today our country is seeing record-high cases, hospitalizations and deaths — every single state has been affected.

“It is time for Washington to step up and deliver desperately needed relief for their constituents. Governors are heartened that congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers are now talking with each other to find a way forward. We encourage leadership to stay at the bargaining table and work out a deal that delivers the critical relief to the American people.

“As an interim measure to address states immediate and pressing needs, we support the bipartisan framework proposed by Senator Joe Manchin, Senator Bill Cassidy and a bipartisan group of their colleagues as a response that would bring meaningful relief to those who are struggling; situate states to quickly, effectively and equitably implement their vaccination plans; and prime the economy to allow for a faster rebound.

“Governors have been on the front lines since the beginning of the pandemic, procuring lifesaving medical and personal protective equipment, establishing field hospitals, and providing economic relief to small businesses and workers. But this is a national crisis, cutting across geographic, economic and demographic lines, and it demands a national, bipartisan solution. Congress should not leave Washington for the holiday recess without enacting a much-needed COVID relief package. We look forward to working with Congress and the new Administration in the new year on a more comprehensive COVID relief package.” 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, New York State has paid more than $55 billion in unemployment benefits to 3.8 million New Yorkers — which represents more than 26 typical years’ worth of benefits. Nationwide, more than 20 million Americans are currently receiving unemployment benefits, including 12 million covered by programs that will expire on December 31, 2020. In New York, that includes 1.2 million current claims from New Yorkers receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides benefits for freelancers, self-employed workers, and others who do not typically qualify for traditional unemployment benefits, and 682,000 claims from individuals who are receiving 13 additional weeks of benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program after exhausting the 26 weeks of traditional benefits.

Here is Governor Cuomo’s full letter detailing the aid that is requested:

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader Schumer, and Minority Leader McCarthy:

As you are well aware, the coronavirus has continued to spread across the country, with the United States entering what appears to be another surge of infections this fall. While disturbing, this increase is not surprising — experts told us that as temperatures fell, cases would increase, and those predictions have unfortunately come true.

The physical toll of the pandemic is well known: 12 million Americans have been infected and more than 250,000 have lost their lives. 

But the pandemic has not just impacted Americans’ health — it has also created an unprecedented economic crisis with unheard of levels of unemployment across the nation. Since March, more than 68 million Americans have filed unemployment claims, representing over 42 percent of the nation’s workforce. Last week, the number of newly filed claims nationwide grew by 31,000, representing the first week-over-week increase after four weeks of decreasing claims.

Unlike the federal government’s response to the virus itself, Congress moved decisively this spring to address the economic impacts of the pandemic — supplying Americans with federally-funded stimulus checks, supplemental unemployment benefits, and benefits for freelancers, the self-employed, and others who are not typically covered by traditional unemployment insurance.

However, as we enter the holiday season — and as states once again enact stronger measures to stop the surge in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths — Washington’s inaction is putting millions of Americans’ financial security at risk. 

When the CARES Act was passed in March, roughly 10 million Americans had filed for unemployment benefits during the pandemic — today, that number has increased by nearly 600%. At the time, the nation had only faced two weeks with unemployment claims above the pre-pandemic high of 695,000. Now, we have surpassed that level for 35 weeks straight.

Yet despite this worsening economic picture, many critical support programs that were put in place earlier this year have already expired and the few remaining ones are set to expire just days after Christmas. This is simply unacceptable and must be rectified.

The Senate and House must work to renew and expand federal unemployment benefits for Americans while supporting the state governments that are implementing these programs and disbursing the benefits. 

The following programs should be extended or renewed through the end of the federal Fiscal Year 2021:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)— This program, which is set to expire on December 31, 2020, allows freelancers, self-employed individuals, and others who are not typically eligible for unemployment insurance to receive 46 weeks of federal benefits. As of the latest US DOL data, nearly 8.7 million Americans are currently receiving benefits under PUA.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)— This program, which is also set to expire on December 31, 2020, provides an additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits to Americans who have exhausted state unemployment insurance. As of the latest US DOL data, nearly 4.4 million Americans are currently receiving benefits under PEUC.
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)— Created by the CARES Act, this program provided federal supplemental benefits of $600 per week to all unemployed Americans. After expiring in late July, this program was temporarily replaced with the Lost Wages Assistance program, which failed to adequately address the continuing needs of the American public, while causing more administrative work for states.
  • Federal Support for Shared Work— Shared work programs allow employers to keep staff partially-employed while still cutting costs. Rather than laying off their staff, a business is able to reduce all workers’ hours, with unemployment benefits replacing some or all of their lost wages. To encourage use of these programs, the federal government fully funded states’ shared work programs, but this support is set to expire on December 31, 2020.
  • Reimbursements for Local Government, Non-profit, and Tribal Employers— Recognizing the severe impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local governments, non-profit organizations, and tribal nations, the federal government agreed to reimburse half of unemployment benefits these employers paid out. That support is due to expire on December 31, 2020, putting further strain on organizations that are already struggling to stay afloat and provide needed services during this crisis.
  • Support for State Unemployment Insurance Trust Funds— Due to the unprecedented surge in unemployment insurance claims, states across the country have exhausted their unemployment insurance trust funds. Earlier this year, the Federal government allowed states to borrow to replenish their trust funds interest-free. Starting next year, those loans will begin accruing interest — even as unemployment levels remain at critically high levels. All states should be allowed to continue borrowing for their unemployment insurance trust funds without accruing interest next year. Further, the federal government must recognize the impact repaying these loans will have on businesses, especially already-struggling small businesses, and fully forgive all loans.
  • Cost-Sharing for Unemployment Insurance Administrative Costs— Every state’s unemployment insurance system has been tested by the pandemic response, and many state departments of labor have implemented multiple new federal programs using decades-old technology. The Federal government has so far paid half of these administrative costs — that should increase to 100 percent reimbursement, but at the bare minimum this cost sharing must continue. Failing to do so will significantly harm states’ abilities to support unemployed workers.

The United States of America’s economy remains in crisis. More than 20 million of our neighbors received some form of unemployment benefits during the week ending October 31st — over thirteen times the number receiving benefits this time last year.

Not extending these programs — which can largely be accomplished by passing the unemployment and workforce provisions of H.R. 925, the HEROES Act — is akin to abandoning millions of Americans in their time of need. Congress must take action before the calendar year ends, and anything less would be an abdication of your duty.

I look forward to your immediate attention to these matters.

Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor, New York State
Chair, National Governors Association 

Cuomo, Whitmer Call for Congressional Investigation into Trump Administration’s Politicization of Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer are calling for a Congressional oversight investigation into the Trump administration’s politicization of government functions that have impeded the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer are  calling for a Congressional oversight investigation into the Trump administration’s politicization of government functions that have impeded the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing this joint statement:

“It is an inarguable fact that the United States has had the worst response to the COVID-19 virus of any nation in the world. Nearly 7 million Americans have tested positive for the virus, and more than 200,000 Americans have been killed by it — both more than any other country. The unprecedented and unacceptable scale of this tragedy is the direct result of President Trump and the federal government’s deceit, political self-dealing, and incompetence. 

“Rather than turning to the advice and direction of public health experts and career public servants, President Trump instead put the health and security of the American people in the hands of political appointees whose first priority was securing the reelection of their benefactor, with predictably tragic results. 

“Last week’s revelation that the White House blocked a Department of Health and Human Services plan to utilize the U.S. Postal Service to ship five life-saving masks to every household in the country, free of charge, in April was heartbreaking. Imagine the lives that could have been saved if every household were provided masks at such a crucial time. 

“Even more dangerous, the nation learned last week that political appointees at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — over the strong objection of CDC scientists — published the indefensible guidance that said people without symptoms did not need to get tested for COVID. Coupled with the agency’s abrupt reversal earlier this week on guidance related to the airborne transmission of the virus, it’s increasingly clear that the President and his advisers are trying to undermine the credibility of experts whose facts run counter to the administration’s political agenda.

“As a country, we cannot allow this type of politically-motivated decision making to take root. Logic dictates that COVID won’t be the last public health challenge we will face, and we can’t afford to again respond by playing politics, instead of listening to the science and facts. Congress must immediately conduct an oversight investigation into the Trump administration’s response to this pandemic, including the actions at HHS and the USPS the public learned about over the past week. Especially in light of Bob Woodward’s reporting, the question of, “What did they know and when did they know it?” cannot be left to the history books to answer. Our future health and economic security depends on holding the Trump administration accountable today.”

Cuomo commented, “Governor Whitmer and I today called on Congress to immediately conduct an oversight investigation into the Trump administration’s response on this pandemic. How can you not tell the American people what you knew and when you knew it? Just ask Peter Navarro. You had a memo that said millions of Americans would be infected. Did you tell anyone? Who did you send it to? Did anyone send you back the memo with a question mark? You met with the President 180 times since that memo – did you ever mention to the President, ‘By the way, I had a concern here that millions of Americans might be infected.’ It just doesn’t pass the smell test. It can’t be true.”

NYS Advances Domestic Violence Task Force Recommendations to Overhaul, reimagine System to Empower Survivors In Light of Covid-19 Challenges

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa has issued a report to Governor Cuomo outlining the COVID-19 Domestic Violence Task Force’s initial recommendations to reimagine New York’s approach to services for domestic violence survivors. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa has issued a report to Governor Cuomo outlining the COVID-19 Domestic Violence Task Force’s initial recommendations to reimagine New York’s approach to services for domestic violence survivors. Governor Cuomo has accepted these recommendations in full and is directing the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, along with other sister agencies of the Office of Children and Family Services, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Office of Victim Services, the Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Health, to use these recommendations to update and improve domestic violence services in New York State.

The recommendations identified by the Task Force recognize that the needs of domestic violence survivors vary greatly and there are different tools needed to allow each survivor maximum control over their situation including: mobile advocacy, flexible funding and housing choice. The recommendations offered by the Task Force are ready to be quickly implemented, cutting red tape and prioritizing cultural competency to better meet survivors where they are, give them what they need and set a foundation for continued innovation. The Task Force’s full report is available here.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a drastic increase in the number of reported domestic violence cases in the state, leaving many survivors trapped at home with their abusers without access to help or resources,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York has been working to modernize our systems and the way we deliver services to survivors, and the recommendations made by the task force will help address this alarming spike in domestic violence incidents while building our systems and processes back better than they were before. I thank all the task force members for their work on this issue and for their dedication to ending domestic and gender based violence.”

“Domestic violence has been a pervasive problem in our society, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the situation and exposed the limitations of our traditional systems and methods,” Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor and Chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls, said.”Since the uptick in domestic violence incidents during the pandemic, New York has taken aggressive actions to find new and innovative solutions to safely reach domestic violence survivors and provide critical, life-saving services. These recommendations build on our efforts and will help to transform and reimagine the way we provide services by giving survivors of domestic violence choice in their future and control of their decisions.”

 Recommendation One: Using New Technologies to Reach More Survivors

The Task Force recommends that the Governor direct the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence to partner with national technical assistance providers to enhance knowledge around the use of technology to reach more survivors, including those in traditionally underserved populations and young people who may be impacted by intimate partner violence. 

The Task Force also recommends that state agencies support programs in purchasing mobile devices and supporting technological infrastructure with federal funding related to the pandemic.

The Task Force also recommends that OPDV permanently incorporate a chat and text component into the functionality of the NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline.

Recommendation Two: Providing Flexible Funding to Meet the Diverse Needs of Survivors

The Task Force recommends that state agencies provide funding for local programs that can be used to support survivors’ safety, housing stability, transportation or other needs. In tandem with the mobile advocacy strategy, the state should allow programs to use funds to conduct community-based mobile advocacy, with an emphasis on housing stability, economic empowerment, and safety planning, to enable survivors to remain safe and stably housed in the community, if possible. Support provided by local programs should have more flexible parameters, should meet survivors’ needs as quickly as possible and should be available until the survivor feels safe. Further, the state should continue its commitment to partnering with the philanthropic and advocacy community, collaborating to leverage support, fill in the gaps where existing funds fall short and foster further innovation.

Recommendation Three: Providing More Housing Navigation Services

The Task Force recommends that state agencies connect providers to diverse housing-related funding streams to support a housing navigator system. Navigators will work with survivors to help them access available resources and support for housing beyond shelter and work with domestic violence advocates to help them better understand and assist with their clients’ needs around housing.

Additionally, domestic violence programs should designate a portion of one staff member’s salary to be used for housing navigation services, and community-based resources should incorporate this information into their resource database in order to fully support those victims. The role of the housing navigator would be to “bridge the gap” between domestic violence services and housing providers in order to ensure that the housing needs of domestic violence survivors are met.

Recommendation Four: Removing the Requirement that Domestic Violence Victims File a Police Report in Order to Access Victims of Crime Act Funding

The Task Force recommends that the Governor issue an executive order to remove the requirement that domestic violence victims file a police report in order to access the Victims of Crime Act funding. Many domestic violence survivors may be unable or unwilling to file a police report against their abuser, and expanding access to this funding while the state of emergency remains in effect will allow survivors to navigate the COVID-19 crisis with crucial financial support to seek safety.

Recommendation Five: Addressing the Needs of Black, Indigenous and People of Color Survivors of Gender-Based Violence

The Task Force recommends that the Council on Women and Girls establish a standing committee to prioritize and coordinate the creation of culturally competent service delivery designed to address the needs of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) survivors of gender-based violence. The committee will operate under a shared understanding of the impact of systemic racism on BIPOC survivors, and apply an intersectional lens to also consider sexuality, gender identity, age, disability, immigration status, and other identities and experiences in its work. The committee should meet bi-monthly to create an action plan for implementing these elements of service delivery across agencies, including comprehensive prevention strategies, improved language access and culturally competent outreach.

The Task Force also recommends that the state launch a paid and earned media campaign to promote prevention in a culturally competent way and reach specific populations across New York State.

Recommendation Six: Normalizing Domestic Violence Screening During Tele-Health Visits

The Task Force recommends that the Governor direct OPDV and the Department of Health to create guidelines for best practices in identifying and responding to intimate partner violence via tele-health. DOH and the Department of Financial Services should explore the rapid deployment of Medicaid (and commercial) payment mechanisms for intimate partner violence screening and response through telehealth, and OPDV should develop and provide training, technical assistance and appropriate literature to healthcare providers to encourage safe screening for domestic violence and appropriate responses when domestic violence is suspected or identified during tele-health visits.

Recommendation Seven: Coordinating a Program to Promote the Need for Representation of Immigrant Victims

The Task Force recommends that the Governor direct OPDV to coordinate a program with the New York State Bar Association and other bar associations and legal services providers to facilitate training and promote the need for representation of immigrant victims by large law firms through their pro bono programs.

Recommendation Eight: Launching a Public Awareness Campaign to Highlight Financial Abuse

The Task Force recommends that OPDV expands the functions of its existing text and chat line to serve as a conduit to address the various forms of financial abuse experienced by domestic violence survivors.

The Task Force also recommends the establishment of a pilot project with local domestic service providers to identify victims whose credit has been ruined as a result of their abuse and work to repair and rebuild their financial standing.

Recommendation Nine: Launching a New Prevention Initiative Specifically Directed at Educating Men About Domestic Violence

The Task Force recommends that OPDV exercises its oversight authority for abusive partner interventions programs in New York State and directs it to launch a new prevention initiative specifically directed at men, emphasizing the connection between domestic violence and harm to children.

Recommendation Ten: Setting the Stage for Future Progress

The recommendations offered in this report represent just a small fraction of the many ideas and best practices offered by the members of the Task Force over the course of their work. Among the long-term strategies to be further explored are policies around court innovation, ways to address the connection between child abuse and domestic violence, robust prevention programs, and more comprehensive data collection practices. While the Task Force will no longer formally convene, its members have generously offered to continue serving as resources for the state as it develops these long-term plans.

About the New York State COVID-19 Domestic Violence Task Force

In the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, data reported by law enforcement and domestic violence service providers pointed to an increase in domestic violence, with the New York State Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline recording a 33 percent increase in calls for April 2020 compared to April 2019, and shelter occupancy rates upstate rising to 78 percent in April 2020, versus 59 percent in April 2019.

Since the pandemic began and the NYS PAUSE order went into effect, the state’s Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and all relevant state agencies have been working diligently to reach domestic violence survivors and connect them with information about services and support. OPDV also implemented a new, confidential text line and chat program for survivors across the state. The creation of the Task Force built on that work, convening 27 experienced and knowledgeable advocates, service providers and thought leaders from across the country to meet virtually, share their expertise and create written proposals.

Members of the COVID-19 Domestic Violence Task Force include:

  • Scott Berkowitz – Founder and President, Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
  • Alejandra Y. Castillo, Esq. – CEO, YWCA USA
  • Karma Cottman – Executive Director, Ujima, Inc: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community
  • Nathaniel M. Fields – President and CEO, Urban Resource Institute (URI)
  • Ruth M. Glenn – President and CEO, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)
  • Peg Hacskaylo – Founder and CEO, National Alliance for Safe Housing (NASH)
  • Jim Henderson – Probation and Domestic Violence Expert, Battered Women’s Justice Project
  • Grace Huang, JD – Policy Director, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
  • Tandra R. LaGrone – Executive Director, In Our Own Voices
  • Cindi Leive – Senior Fellow, USC-Annenberg School of Journalism and Communications
  • Tonya Lovelace, MA – CEO, Women of Color Network Inc (WOCN)
  • David Mandel – Executive Director, Safe & Together Institute
  • Karol V. Mason – President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Joan S. Meier – Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School and Director, National Family Violence Law Center at GW
  • Connie Neal – Executive Director, New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV)
  • Ana L. Oliveira – President and CEO, The New York Women’s Foundation
  • Leslye Orloff – Director, National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project at American University Washington College of Law
  • Farzana Safiullah – CEO, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV)
  • Lynn Hecht Schafran, JD – Legal Director and Director, National Judicial Education Program at Legal Momentum, The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Lucy Rain Simpson – Executive Director, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC)
  • Joe Torre – Co-Founder and Chairman, The Safe at Home Foundation and Special Advisor to Major League Baseball (MLB)
  • Patricia Tototzintle – CEO, Casa de Esperanza/National [email protected] Network for Healthy Families and Community
  • Deborah D. Tucker, MPA – President, National Center on Domestic & Sexual Violence (NCDSV)
  • Deborah J. Vagins – President and CEO, National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)
  • Troy Vincent – Executive Vice President of Football Operations, NFL and National Advocate to End Domestic Violence
  • Carole Warshaw, M.D. – Director, National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health
  • Joanne Zannoni – Executive Director, New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA)