New York State Budget Update
Dear friends and colleagues,
Greetings from my kitchen table. All of us at Schuyler Center are working remotely and still reachable by email. We check-in with a daily, brief video-conference, which has been a comfort during these challenging times. We’re still advocating for New York’s children and families, with new and evolving strategies and tactics.
While grateful for the swift and thoughtful steps New York leaders have taken to address the crisis to date, much more needs to be done. On March 19, we sent a letter to all New York State Legislators urging them, during this crisis and as the SFY 2020-21 budget is being finalized, to direct resources to children and families with urgent needs. We are especially concerned about low-income families and children and all who are living on the margins. Those already facing challenges of poverty, disability, ill-health, racial discrimination, and poor mental health stand to suffer disproportionately from school closures, layoffs, supply shortages, social distancing, and other measures being implemented to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Typically at this time, mid-March, we’d be preparing to send out our update on the New York State budget. In our First Look at the budget, we examine the Governor’s budget proposal, which was made public in January. Then, in March, the Senate and Assembly release their “one-house” budget bills, and we share with you our “Next Look” at the budget – examining the Senate’s and Assembly’s bills, as compared to the Executive’s. And all along, we engage in advocacy with the Governor and Legislature on a range of issues.
This year is very different… and the same. One-house budget bills have not been released and it is unclear whether there will be one-house bills this year. The Governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team 2 has formally voted on a set of recommendations designed to find savings in Medicaid, though the details are unclear and bill language not available. The State Capitol and Legislative Office Building closed to visitors on March 15. On March 18, legislators voted, in small groups or one at a time, to pass an emergency bill to guarantee sick leave to those under quarantine. Then they left Albany and it is unclear when they will return.
Schuyler Center has a long history of working to shape New York State policy for people in need. And while this budget year is very different, our commitment to the work has only intensified.
Thanks for your support; we’re all in this together.
President and CEO