Budget Deal Reached, Assembly Passes Education, Direct Care, Spending Plan

Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie announced that the Assembly fulfilled its pledge to raise the age of adult criminal responsibility in New York State. New York will finally join 48 other states in our nation. “We are confident that this is the beginning a new and brighter chapter for the future of our youth,” said Heastie in a statement.

The budget builds on last year’s $2.5 billion funding commitment for the creation and preservation of affordable housing across the state. Additionally we secured $2.5 billion in water quality improvement funding, an important down payment on the future of our environment and the health of New Yorkers.

“The budget process has reinforced what many of us already know to be true, that our most important committment is that which we have made to represent the needs of the communities we serve. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the patience, persistence and commitment of the members of the Assembly Majority Conference for their support in delivering on our promise to put and keep families first in New York,” said Heastie.

Bronx Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda called the final budget numbers hammered out for school funding in the city and across the state “Good news for our children.”
 
The $25.6 billion funding agreement, which came in the final hours of extended budget talks in Albany, will see statewide education spending grow by $1.1 billion, while taxpayers will continue to see their support for schools capped at 2 percent.
 
“This new budget will mean an additional $386 million for schools in the Bronx and the rest of the city,” said Assembly Sepulveda. “That’s good news for our children, especially in the Bronx where many of our schools in poorer districts are struggling to provide decent education.”
 
Sepulveda noted that the delay in finalizing a state budget has also put pressure on school districts to put together their own spending plans, not knowing what funding will be coming from Albany.
 
“We can now get on with the business of giving our children the education they deserve,” said Sepulveda.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Chair of the Housing Committee Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz also announced that the Legislature approved allocations for the $2.5 billion affordable and supportive housing funds appropriated in this year and last year’s budget agreements. Last year, $150 million of this funding was released for supportive housing initiatives. The agreement outlines the schedule for the remaining four years through 2021.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie then announced that the SFY 2017-18 Budget agreement includes funding that will help ensure direct care workers are paid fair, competitive wages so that New Yorkers can continue to receive the critical care and services they need.

“Direct care workers perform demanding jobs and often work long hours providing care for individuals with developmental disabilities and those struggling with mental health or substance use disorders,” said Speaker Heastie. “This budget will ensure that these professionals are fairly compensated for the essential care that they provide. I would like to thank Assemblymember Aileen Gunther and all of my Assembly colleagues, as well as former Assemblymember Harvey Weisenberg, for their tireless advocacy and commitment to securing the highest quality care for those who need it most.”

The state’s approved spending plan provides $160 million over two years to support two 3.25 percent wage increases (a total of 6.5 percent over two years) for direct support professionals. Under the proposal, on January 1, 2018, direct care and direct support staff will receive a 3.25 percent pay increase. Direct care, direct support staff, and clinical staff will receive another 3.25 percent increase on April 1, 2018 to ensure that these critical workers receive wages above the minimum wage.

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