New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his State of the State in combination with his New York State budget address. After reviewing the Executive budget and accompanying speech, we’ve detailed the workforce implications as laid out in the Governor’s vision, “Build to Lead” and the Executive Budget. The total budget is $145 billion, which is under the state’s 2% spending cap.
As we caution each year, the Legislature still needs to weigh in, so new ideas will remain just ideas until the budget and appropriations processes takes place. This also means YOU have an opportunity to influence the process by meeting and sharing your concerns about the lack of funding for workforce with your local elected officials. The ball is now in the Legislature’s court, and now that there are new players to the age old “three men in the room”, more may be up for grab than in the past.
The “workforce” good news: Early in his remarks the Governor did state the “best social program is still a job”. The Governor has proposed a series of investments in the State University of New York and City University of New York. There will continue to be investment in the expansion of economic development in upstate and downstate New York through several legacy programs and new initiatives, and infrastructure took the center stage.
Not so good news: Workforce investments are baked into the competitive processes like the Regional Economic Development Councils, or are tax credits; the Governor continues to only focus on parts of the pipeline of workforce supports, not the full system.
In reviewing the budget it is clear, that once again as it pertains to workforce – it is basically flat – in Labor, OTDA, OCFS, and NYSED; there was a small increase for summer youth employment; but similar to last year programs like displaced homemaker and career pathways will need to advocacy to the Legislature to be put back in the budget.
As you read this the most important aspect is to review this with your “workforce lense” – investments in infrastructure or tourism, could mean jobs. Expansions in research or childcare tax credits could mean increases in these job titles too.
What we’ve done works: The Governor shared that what he has done to date, has been a success (surprise!). Investments in the Regional Economic Development Councils, expansion of tourism initiatives like the Adirondack Challenge, to the Catskills, and leading the way on progressive issues like marriage equality. The Governor, based on his own recent experiences, pushed to pass Paid Family Medical Leave, and an expansion of breast cancer research. Also important to note – clean and green is back, with a hefty investment in SUNY to create training programs.
Workforce Investments (-ish):
The Governor is looking to target his investments in the highest need areas and continues to rely on tax credits as a workforce development tool.Here is what made it in, and what didn’t.
Unemployment Strikeforce: Not included in budget
Summer Youth Employment ($31 million);
Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative ($25 million) Planning grants totaling $5 million will be available in ten communities (Syracuse, Binghamton, Oneonta, Buffalo, Utica, Elmira, Jamestown, Oswego, Troy, and Albany) with high concentrations of poverty. In addition, $20 million will be available for grants to match private sector and foundation funding;
Raising the statewide minimum wage to $15. NYC by 2018 and rest of the state by 2021. (no resources included);
Homeless Services ($220 million);
CUNY/SUNY Job Linkage Program ($5 million);
Displaced Homemaker (no resources included);
Career Pathways (no resources included);
Urban Youth Jobs Tax Credit (no resources included) It’s a tax credit, so the $50 million stated is the state’s anticipated credit disbursement/decrease in tax revenue over two years;
Hire-a-Vet Tax Credit (no resources included), same as above, just $37 million;
Reform Statewide Apprenticeship Council: To include membership (up to 3 total) from New York public colleges, community college and BOCES;
Non-Custodial Earned Income Tax Credit: Proposal to extend indefinitely, as it is set to expire in 2017;
Clean Energy Workforce Opportunity Program ($15 million) Funding for SUNY to work with clean energy companies to develop a new jobs training and certification program that will make New York a leader in clean tech workforce development. The funding will be used to hire new faculty and purchase cutting-edge equipment that will be used in these new academic programs;
Apprentice SUNY/CUNY ($5 million) to increase apprenticeship programs for SUNY and CUNY students;
Note: CUNY – you owe us! The state has made a bold move in asking that the City University of New York shift its funding formula to require the City of New York to pick up 30% of the tab. This is a big deal – and will likely not be a pretty fight – or is a bargaining chip we are unaware of!
Regional Economic Development Councils ($150 million);
NYSUNY2020 and NYCUNY2020 to commercialize new technologies ($110 million);
A range of infrastructure improvements totaling well over a billion dollars (Note: Start talking to your labor unions!);
Innovation Hot-Spots ($5 million);
New York Works Economic Development Fund ($99 million) Program will provide capital grants to support projects that facilitate an employer’s ability to create new, or retain existing jobs, or fund infrastructure investments necessary to attract new businesses or to expand existing businesses.
Other ongoing Reforms
Cutting Taxes: The Governor has proposed cutting property taxes and small business taxes – welcome news for many of us – but also the flipside means less revenue coming into the State for more or new programming;
Raise the Age: New York is one of only two states in the nation that has no legal authority to treat 16- and 17-year-olds as juveniles, this movement advocates for juvenile responses to crimes committed by minor;
Pass Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform: This issue died last season, but considering all that has happened in the last year, it might be the time to pass a sweeping reform;
Paid Family Leave: Twelve weeks of paid family leave when caring for an infant or ill family member. The maximum paid benefit will grow to 50 percent of the State's Average Weekly Wage by 2021.This program will be funded entirely through a nominal payroll deduction on employees.