NYS Budget approved with new taxes and critical investments

Lawmakers in Albany have given approval to a $175.5 billion state budget that will now go to Governor Cuomo for his signature.

Items on the agenda for the 100 member LI Lobby Coalition that made it in the budget included:

* $500 million in clean water infrastructure. 

* Internet fairness to help brick and mortar stores in our local downtowns.

* Restoration of AIM funding for our local Town’s and Villages.

* Funding for Foreclosure prevention.

* Funding for the Pre-K initiative. 

* Investments in affordable housing.

* Modest increases funding for buses.

* Investments in Pedestrian Safety 

* A 4th year of funding for the NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative which has brought $10 million grants to Westbury, Hicksville and Central Islip to date. 

“We are happy to see nearly ten items on the agenda of the LI Lobby Coalition funded in this year’s budget. This commitment to Long Island’s Main Streets, local communities and region’s infrastructure helps bring back some resources to LI from Albany,” said Eric Alexander, Director Vision Long Island, Co-Chair LI Lobby Coalition

Of importance to many Long Islanbers included a permanent 2% property tax cap and a boost to public education spending. The budget included a statewide single-use plastic bag ban similar to the one already in place for Suffolk County. This will go into effect beginning March 1st, 2020. 
Meanwhile one very controversial policy saw congestion pricing go into effect in Manhattan for the area south of 61st street.

Beginning then, Vehicles travelling in Manhattan’s congestion pricing district will be charged a toll. The MTA will create a review board that will determine toll amounts depending on time of day and what exemptions will be applicable. 80% of the funds collected will be used to upgrade the city’s transit system. This comes at the same time as MTA reforms that will include independent auditing and efficiency reviews as well as a reorganization plan. 

Roughly 10% of the congestion pricing revenue will be invested in the LIRR. It is unclear at press time how much of the revenue generated is projected to be tolled from Long Islanders.

Other issues include increased healthcare spending, a codification of the Affordable Healthcare Act into state law, public campaign financing, limousine regulations, paid time off for voting, prison closings, and a funding for financial aid for students brought to the country illegally as children.

You can read more here.