BUDGET UPDATE: Tuesday, 12:30PM, April 4, 2017
Statement from PEF President Wayne Spence:
Yesterday, April 3, 2017, the Legislature voted on and passed budget extender bills (S.5491/A.7067 and S.5492/A.7068). Passage of these bills ensures the continued functioning of state government and related services until May 31, 2017. As the name suggests, the bills extend the life of items that were passed as part of the 2016-2017 State Budget. In simple terms, action taken on these bills represents only 16 percent of a complete budget.
While our analysis is ongoing, (the bills combined are almost 2,000 pages) it appears as though none of PEF’s budget priorities (items that we had successfully removed by one or both houses of the Legislature) are included in this legislation.
There are two items of concern that we have identified that were not part of the 2016-2017 State budget, but were included in the Governor’s 2017-2018 extender budget proposals. The first issue of concern relates to the reduction of one-hundred OMH beds and the second authorizes direct support staff at OPWDD to perform nurse-like functions so long as they are performed “under the supervision, training and periodic inspection of a registered professional nurse.” While it is positive news that the most problematic aspects of the Governor’s Budget are missing, there are items, like protecting the WNYCPC, we would have liked to have seen in the extender legislation.
Moving forward, PEF legislative staff will be revisiting the issues that we have been fighting throughout the budget process (design build, workers’ compensation reform, OITS term appointments and DOCCS changes, to name a few) in the days and weeks ahead. I would like to thank all of the PEF leaders and members who took time out of their busy schedules to call their Legislators and write budget fightback letters.
As always, we will remain vigilant as the budget continues to evolve and we will continue to fight for and advance PEF’s priorities.