2018-2019 Final State Budget

Protections from the Janus Decision

The budget agreement addresses and codifies several important issues to protect a public employee’s right to join a union, and union member rights in the public sector once they have joined a union.

  • Requires public employers to provide the names, locations and contact numbers of all new hires and rehires to the employee organization within 30 days of employment.

  • Requires public employers to provide time during work hours within 30 days of the above notification for the employee organization to meet with all new hires, without loss of employee leave time.

  • Codifies that individuals may sign dues authorization cards via means allowed by state technology law, allowing emails and other electronic means to be accepted.

  • Requires employers to begin dues deduction within 30 days of receiving a member’s dues authorization card and requires remittance of the dues to the union within 30 days of making the deduction.

  • Codifies that members who have left service and return within a one-year period will automatically have their membership reinstated and a member who is placed on voluntary or involuntary leave will automatically have membership reinstated upon return to the payroll.

  • Codifies that the withdrawal process from the union may be determined by the dues authorization card.

  • Codifies that the union can offer benefits and services that are above and beyond a negotiated agreement to its members only. To protect due paying members from free-riders, the language codifies that the union’s obligation to represent non-members is limited to the negotiation and enforcement of the contract. The union is not required to represent non-members in various disciplinary processes when the non-member is authorized to get their own representation.

Taxes and Revenue

  • The agreement decouples the state tax law from the federal tax law to allow individuals who use the standard deduction at the federal level to itemize deductions at the state level. This was previously not allowed.

  • Union Member Dues Deduction Protected - The decoupling will mean that the enhanced New York tax deduction for union dues passed in 2017 and effective this year, will continue to be available for union members that itemize deductions on their state tax returns.

  • The agreement includes a new payroll tax on employee earnings of more than $40,000 annually that employers may opt into. The payroll tax is at the sole option of the employer and the tax cannot be passed onto the employee. The employee would then be eligible for an income tax credit against the tax imposed.

  • The agreement authorizes the state, local governments and school districts to establish charitable gift funds to allow tax deductible contributions to fund various public health care and education services as an alternative to state and property taxes. This proposal is designed to offset the federal cap on SALT deductibility.  

  • Extends the musical and theatrical tax credit for 4 years.    

Design-Build

  • The legislature rejected a proposal by the Governor to expand and extend current design-build authorization for the state. The agreement authorizes the New York City Housing Authority and the New York City Departments of Transportation and Design & Construction to utilize design-build as well as for two specific New York City projects (Rikers Island and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.) The NYCHA and NYC projects all include PLA requirements and protection for public employees that could potentially be impacted by design-build contracting.

Sexual Harassment Reform

The budget agreement includes several reforms to improve prevention, investigation and response to sexual harassment in the workplace. The agreement includes the following:

  • Requires every bid made to the state or any public department or agency where competitive bidding is required for work, services or goods to include a statement by the bidder confirming they have a written policy addressing sexual harassment prevention and annual sexual harassment training to all its employees.

  • Prohibits mandatory ‘arbitration clauses’ and ‘prohibiting clauses’ in contracts that would limit the ability of an individual to obtain remedies or other legal action related to unlawful discriminatory practices of sexual harassment. The language exempts collective bargaining agreements.

  • Requires employees of all public employers to be responsible for their proportionate share of personal liability of judgements made against the employer related to sexual harassment and reimburse the employer for monetary damages.

  • Prevents non-disclosure agreements from prohibiting an employee from disclosing any facts or circumstances with regard to sexual harassment claims or actions unless it is the claimant’s preference that the agreement contain that provision.

  • Amends the Labor Law to create a model sexual harassment policy that defines and describes sexual harassment in the workplace, includes standard complaint forms, procedures for timely investigation that ensures due process, informs employee of their rights, clearly states sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct and states that retaliation against employees who make a complaint is unlawful.

  • Requires all employers to adopt the sexual harassment model policy or one that exceeds the minimum standards.

  • Makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice and establishes an employer may be held liable to a non-employee who is a contractor, subcontractor, vendor consultant or other person employed by such entities if they are sexually harassed at the worksite and the employer fails to take appropriate action.   

Health Care

  • The Medicaid Global Spending Cap is increased by 5.2 percent to $19.5 billion.

  • Provides $50 million for safety net hospitals that serve primarily Medicaid or uninsured patients.

  • The legislature rejected the Executive Budget proposal to authorize retail health clinics to provide basic health care services in pharmacies, grocery stores and other retail establishments.

  • The legislature rejected the Executive Budget proposal to create para-medicine practices and expand the scope of emergency medical technicians to provide health care services.

Education / Higher Education

  • The agreement includes $92 million in funding for SUNY hospitals through the federal Care Restructuring Enhancement Pilot Program.

  • The agreement includes an $859 million increase in state school aid funding over last year with a $618 million increase in foundation aid.

  • The agreement includes operating aid of $729 million for SUNY and $547 million for CUNY.

  • Phase-in of the Excelsior Scholarship Program will continue and families earning up to $110,000 annually will be eligible.

Transportation Issues

  • The agreement requires a New York State and New York City split of $418 million each to fund the Subway Action Plan, to be paid on a schedule outlined in the law. The statute clarifies neither the state nor city share can be used to supplant or reduce any other commitment by the state or city to the MTA.

  • The agreement includes a surcharge of $2.75 per ride for all for-hire vehicles including Uber/Lyft, Black cars and livery as well as $2.50 for yellow cabs and 75 cents on for-hire pool, vehicles. The surcharge revenue is to be kept in an account by the NYC comptroller, and transferred to one of 3 funds each year as follows: the first $300 million to subway action plan; the next $50 million to outer borough transportation account; and, anything over goes to the NYC transportation assistance fund. The agreement includes lockbox language to prohibit the commingling this revenue with any other state or city funds. The revenue may be used for MTA operations/capital and debt service.

  • The budget agreement includes a one-year extension of an existing law that allows testing of autonomous vehicles and leaves the requirement of state police oversight of the testing in place. A plan covering law enforcement and first responders interacting with autonomous vehicles during emergency situations and traffic enforcement is also included. The legislature rejected the proposal to repeal a section of law that generally requires an operator to have a hand on the wheel while operating a motor vehicle.  

State Employee Issues

  • The agreement rejects the proposals to cap Medicare Part B reimbursement for NYSHIP enrollees and end the state’s reimbursement on additional Medicare premiums for higher income retirees.

  • The agreement rejects the proposal to close the Ella McQueen intake center in OCFS.

New York State Secure Choice Savings Program

  • The Governor and Legislature agreed to a voluntary retirement savings fund to be jointly administered by the Comptroller and the Department of Taxation and Finance. The program will be operated by the NY Secure Choice Savings Program Board, with various appointments that include investment experts, and employer and employee representatives. The program will be an option for employers that have not offered another type of retirement plan to their workers and it will operate like a Roth IRA and in accordance with Roth IRA contribution limits (currently $5,500 annual max). The program will allow individuals to contribute through payroll deduction and will offer numerous investment options. Contributions are not pre-tax but withdrawal of contributions can occur at any time tax and penalty free while withdrawal of earnings would be tax and penalty free at age 59 1/2.    

Labor Programs

  • Workforce Development Institute (WDI) was fully funded at $4 million for operations, $3 million for manufacturing initiatives and several items for pre-apprenticeship programs and the logging program.

  • Child Care Facilitated Enrollment funding was approved at last year’s levels as follows: Through WDI, $500,000 each Onondaga/Erie counties, $2.185 million for Monroe County and $2.549 million for the Capital Region/Oneida County. Through CWE New York City received $500,000 & $4.754 million.

  • The agreement includes an additional $136 million in child care funding with $80 million for compliance with health and safety requirements, $17 million for low-income family subsidies and the remainder for rate increases for providers.

  • Cornel ILR was fully funded with the Worker Institute receiving $300,000, the Union Leadership and Domestic Violence Programs at $150,000 each and an appropriation for operations and expenses of $50,000.

  • The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies was funded at nearly $3 million.

  • The agreement includes $175 million in workforce development regional efforts for short-term workforce needs, expanding apprenticeships and addressing long-term needs of expanding industries.

Miscellaneous

  • The agreement includes new reporting, financial disclosure and identification requirements for election related paid advertising and independent expenditures on digital and internet platforms and methods.   

  • The agreement establishes a compensation committee to evaluate and make recommendations about a pay raise for legislators, statewide elected officials and top-level appointments by January 1, 2019.

  • A separate bill passed along with the budget will require individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses to surrender their firearms and firearm licenses.