2022-23 State Budget Round-Up
Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature reached an agreement on a $220 billion state budget, with the final bills passing in the early hours of April 9, more than a week after the budget was statutorily due.
Below are some items of interest to the Bishops of New York State.
Family Life/Respect Life
Abortion: Mandated insurance coverage for abortion is included in the final agreement. This codifies existing regulatory practice into law. The Diocese of Albany and other plaintiffs are in the process of a lawsuit challenging the existing regulations. The outcome of the lawsuit would impact the survival of this new law as well. The United States Supreme Court late last year vacated the ruling upholding the abortion mandate and ordered the state court to reconsider the case in light of recent Supreme Court precedent related to religious liberty. We await the outcome of that litigation.
Postpartum care: Medicaid eligibility is expanded for pregnant women and covers them one year postpartum. This also applies to undocumented women.
Maternity & Early Childhood Foundation: Funded at $277,000.
Health, Safety and Security grants: Funding is tripled, from $15 million to $45 million, to support health and safety projects, including a new authorization to cover critical repair and maintenance for religious and independent schools.
STEM: Nonpublic school grants for STEM teachers funded at $58 million, which represents a nearly 40% increase.
Mandated Services Aid and Comprehensive Attendance Policy: $195,028,000, an increase of $1.9 million, is provided to reimburse schools for mandated administrative costs for the 2021-22 school year.
Childcare: $7 billion over 4 years is included to expand childcare availability.
Health care workforce: $1.2 billion is included to provide bonuses to health care workers.
Human services workforce: A 5.4% cost of living adjustment is included for human services workers.
Home care workforce: $7.4 billion is allocated to provide a $3/hour raise for home care workers.
Undocumented Seniors: Medicaid coverage for undocumented seniors over age 65 is included.
Behavioral health workforce: A 5.4% cost of living adjustment for behavioral health workers.
Children’s Mental Health: An increase of $53 million for children’s mental health programs under OMH is included.
Addiction and I/DD services: $50 million is included for the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports and the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities’ community-based providers.
Inpatient care: $27.5 million is included for increased Medicaid rates for inpatient psychiatric beds.
Affordable Housing: A $25 billion, 5-year housing plan is included that will create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes across New York.
Supportive Housing: 10,000 of these affordable housing units will be supportive housing with supports for vulnerable populations, including those at risk of homelessness.
NYS Enhanced Services to Refugees Program: The budget doubles funding for NYSERP from $3 million to $6 million.
Care for Creation
Environmental Bond Act: The proposed Environmental Bond Act, which was initially priced at $3 billion when first proposed by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo, has now increased to a $4.2 billion proposal. The act is intended to fund restoration and flood risk reduction, water quality improvement and infrastructure, open space land conservation, climate change mitigation efforts and other measures.
Climate Change: The enacted budget includes measures to encourage purchase of electric school buses, $500 million for offshore wind projects and $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund.