On April 1st the 2015-2016 New York State Budget was adopted in the late hours of the night. It squeaked by as “on time” (even though technically it was late by a few hours) for the fifth consecutive year in a row. Many of the items announced in the State of the State and in the Governor’s budget were included, with some new additions by the Legislature that were included as part of the negotiations. Overall, the budget includes a $142B spending plan that keeps overall spending growth below 2%, and provides for a $300 million rainy day fund.
If you have been following along in the news, you know that this budget season was remarkably controversial. To name a few major issues happening just since January: a change in Assembly leadership that shook up who was actually in the room for the “three men in the room” negotiations and the Governor’s mixing of policy and budget by tacking education and ethics reforms to the passage of the budget. In many ways it is a miracle the budget was one time, and also a shame that the Legislature’s hand was forced on many issues that required significantly more debate. It is also clear that the Governor is in legacy mode focusing on huge sweeping policy changes, and will continue to invest in his priorities heavily.
So in short this year you can expect more of the same, with a few interesting tidbits. Instead of rushing to copy the Governor’s press release to send you, we’ve spent the last week carefully reading the Budget Bills to understand the impact for the range of NYATEP members and combed through the details. Some areas will see slight increases, such as community colleges and specific workforce programs that have received small carve-outs (likely by the Legislature). Others, like adult education remained flat, despite the proven need for funding (please note this year they have pulled the State Education budget out of Aid to Localities and created a new bill). All in all, there is significant room for improvement in the State’s investment in workforce development.
To help you read between the lines of the Press Release, we’ve attached a quick look chart so you can see what is in, what is out, and what is new this year. If you would like to check out the budget bills, you can do so on the NYS Department of Budget’s website: https://www.budget.ny.gov/budgetFP/enacted1516.html
To read more additional items we pulled from the budget please review detailed Analysis Overview and the chart that includes the common workforce items and some new initiatives in the Budget Quick Glance