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2018-19 NYS Executive Budget proposals at first glance

Capitol-building-frontBy SHERRY HALBROOK

PEF is reviewing the governor’s 2018-19 Executive Budget for the state, which was presented January 16.

The Executive Budget is a proposal that forms the starting point for negotiations between the governor and leaders of both houses of the state Legislature. A final budget plan must be passed by both the Assembly and Senate, and signed by the governor. The current, 2017-18 state budget expires March 31.

PEF already has identified provisions of significance to its members. The major provisions are listed below, and additional information is provided here.

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• 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 may be extended for an additional 36 months, pending certification of promotional lists.

This proposal would circumvent Civil Service Law and prevent 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, 2018, state reimbursement to eligible retirees and their dependents for the Medicare Part B standard premium shall 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 for Medicare premiums incurred on or after January 1, 2018, for higher income state retirees. Higher income retirees currently receive a greater subsidy for participating in the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) than the amounts received by lower and middle-income retirees.

Affected retirees stand to lose 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 state 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 may be used would be amended to also include buildings and appurtenant structures. In addition, the $10 million minimum cost of a design-build project is only included for the state Office of General Services and the state Health Department.

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 on 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 state 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 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 would leave the SUNY hospitals dramatically underfunded. 

As PEF’s review of the budget proposals continues, watch the PEF website for further updates.

The union will testify at several of the state Legislature’s budget hearings in late January and in February. That information will be reported on the PEF website and on its social media sites.

Table of Contents – February 2018

 

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