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Initial State Budget Assessment

Initial State Budget Assessment Sent on behalf of President Spence:
PEF Members, As you may know, the proposed NYS Executive budget was released late yesterday. In a continued effort to provide information as quickly as possible, please see our initial budget assessment. The PEF legislative, research and contract departments continue to analyze and you will receive a full report as soon as possible.

Note: This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of the problems that may exist within the proposed Executive Budget. It is simply a list of the major concerns of which we are currently aware.

These Executive Budget proposals include:

Public Protection and General Government—Part W

OITS Term Appointments
This bill would authorize up to 300 Information Technology (IT) term appointments for up to 60 months without initial Civil Service examination.  Appointments can be extended for an additional 36 months, pending certification of promotional lists.

The proposal circumvents Civil Service Law and prevents promotional opportunities.

Public Protection and General Government—Part Z

Freeze on Medicare Part B Reimbursement
This bill would amend section 167-a of the Civil Service Law to provide that, effective April 1, 2017, State reimbursement to eligible retirees and their dependents for the Medicare Part B standard premium shall be not exceed $134 per month.  While this represents an increase for some, the language provides that any future increases would be subject to negotiations in the state budget, meaning they are far less likely to happen.

Public Protection and General Government—Part AA

End Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA) Reimbursement
Effective January 1, 2018, the State would stop the automatic reimbursement of the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA) for Medicare premiums incurred on or after January 1, 2018 for higher income State retirees. Higher-income retirees currently receive a greater subsidy for New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) than the amounts received by lower and middle-income retirees. Impacted retirees stand to lose anywhere from $642 to $3,535 per year.

Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation—Part R

Design-Build Expansion
This bill would expand the provisions of current law to enable the Dormitory Authority, the Urban Development Corporation, the Office of General Services, the Department of Health and the Olympic Regional Development Authority to award a contract to a single entity for both the design and construction (design-build) aspects of a project. The types of capital projects for which design-build contracts can be used would be amended to also included buildings and appurtenant structures.  In addition, the $10 million dollar minimum cost of a design-build project is only included for OGS and DOH.

Design-build allows for privatization of public work that has been traditionally performed by state employees. Important capital projects should be performed by state workers since they focus on the safety and well being of our taxpayers instead of corporate profits.

Health and Mental Hygiene—Part W and S.7500/A.9500 P. 475

Voluntary Jail-based Restoration to Competency Programs
This proposal would amend Section 730.10 of the Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) to authorize the establishment of jail-based restoration to competency programs, for felony defendants pending judicial hearings, within locally-operated jails and State prisons operated by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), subject to the facility’s consent.

The proposal calls for the creation of residential mental health units within local jails and state correctional facilities.  Correctional facilities are not the appropriate locations to rehabilitate individuals requiring mental health services.  State mental health facilities or other well-equipped hospitals or centers are where these individuals should be restored to competency.

Good Government and Ethics Reform—Part G

Comprehensive FOIL Reform
This bill would comprehensively reform the State’s Freedom of Information Law.  One of the proposed changes would require that the terms of a collective bargaining agreement be made available to the public at the same time it is sent to union members for ratification.

SUNY Hospitals Funding
The Governor has proposed removing the State subsidy for SUNY Hospitals and replacing it with $78.6 million in capital funding.

This is problematic as it will leave our SUNY Hospitals dramatically underfunded.