New York State 2021-2022 Budget Summary

Revenue 

The final agreement raises over $4 billion annually in new revenue by creating two new tax brackets for  those making over $5 million and $25 million respectively (this will generate $3.3 billion annually when  fully implemented) and also an increase in the corporate franchise tax rate. The new tax brackets will  expire in 2027. The budget includes additional revenue from several job-creating initiatives including the  legalization of adult-use cannabis, mobile sports betting and language to pave the way for three new  downstate casinos. The bill also continues phase-in of the middle-class income tax cuts that were  enacted several years ago but were to be delayed in the initial budget proposal.  

Combined with over $12 billion in direct federal assistance to the state and additional federal assistance  for local governments, transportation and child care, the final budget offsets the vast majority of  spending cuts that had been proposed earlier in the year and will ensure vital public services and  programs remain operational. The overall spending plan is increased by 10% over last year’s budget and  in total surpasses $200 billion for the first time. 

Job Creation 

Renewable Energy Labor Standards: 

Prevailing Rate/PLA for Construction; Labor Peace for Operations and Maintenance; and Buy  American/Buy New York for Supply Chain 

This legislation establishes labor standards for renewable energy system construction, operation,  maintenance, and supply chain. As explained further below, this legislation includes prevailing rate, PLA,  labor peace, Buy American and Buy New York provisions.  

Construction 

This bill builds on the recent success of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council and  its affiliates in strengthening the definition of “public work” under Article 8 of the Labor Law. Pursuant  to this legislation, renewable energy systems greater than five megawatts that involve procurement of  renewable energy credits (RECs) will be covered by prevailing wage requirements and includes PLA  provisions. The bill also includes MWBE contracting goals and objectives and diversity hiring reporting  requirements.  

Operations and Maintenance  

The legislation further requires owners of renewable energy systems greater than five megawatts that  involve procurement of RECs to enter into and maintain labor peace agreements as ongoing conditions  of their REC agreements with public entities. 

Supply Chain  

This bill also requires REC agreements for renewable energy systems of greater than five megawatts  include a clause requiring use of structural steel and iron components that are manufactured in the  United States with exceptions for impossibility and unreasonable costs. The legislation further creates a  discretionary preference for equipment and supplies procured from businesses located in New York  State.  

Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act - MRTA 

The MRTA allows adults aged 21 and over to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and establishes parameters to grow their own product. The law also expunges records of people with past violations and  automatically overturns current convictions. This law has already taken effect.  

Key Labor Provisions for the Medical and Adult-Use Programs: 

This law establishes a new retail cannabis industry that is expected to create 30,000 to 60,000 jobs and  generate $350 million of annual state revenue once fully implemented. Retail sales are expected to  begin sometime in 2022. 

The law will allow registered organizations (ROs) for medical marijuana that are currently subject to  labor peace agreements (LPAs) to participate in the adult-use program. Non-RO applicants for adult-use  licenses to cultivate, process, distribute and retail will also be required to enter into LPAs. Moving  forward, all ROs and other adult-use applicants will be required to participate in an LPA as a condition of  license renewal. Consideration of whether the applicant has entered into an agreement with a bona-fide  building and construction trades organization for construction work on licensed facilities is included. 

“Legal Activity” Protections for Workers 

Employers may not refuse to hire, employ or license, or to discharge from employment or otherwise discriminate against an individual in compensation, promotion or terms, conditions or privileges of  employment based on such individual's off premises, off duty use of cannabis in accordance with state  law. There are exceptions if the employer's actions are required by federal or state law, or other state or  federal governmental mandate; if the employee manifests specific articulable symptoms of impairment  at work; or if the employer's actions would require such employer to commit any act that would cause  the employer to be in violation of federal law or would result in the loss of a federal contract or federal funding. 

Casinos and Mobile Sports Betting 

Language that paves the way to develop three new downstate casinos was included in the budget.  Further legislation will be needed to finalize authorization of downstate casinos and the NYS AFL-CIO is  working with affiliates to support their development. Additionally, mobile sports betting, which is  anticipated to generate $500 million of annual state revenue, was approved in this budget. 

New Wadsworth Lab Funding 

$750 million was appropriated to fund the construction of the new, consolidated Wadsworth Lab in Albany. 

Environmental Bond Act  

Authorization for the state to issue $3 billion in bonds for environmental and climate mitigation projects  is included in the budget and will need to be approved by the voters on election day in 2022.  

Health Care 

Over $500 million in Medicaid and other cuts to the health care system were restored.  Minimum Spending in Direct Care Staff and Services by Nursing Homes 

This provision requires the Department of Health to establish regulations that will require nursing homes to spend at least 70% of their revenue on direct resident care with 40% of that amount dedicated  to resident-facing staff. The new requirement is to take effect January 1, 2022. This also requires  facilities that are not in compliance with the staffing standards or that have revenue 5%, or more,  greater than their total operating expenses to make additional contributions to the nursing home quality  pool fund. 

Education 

The final agreement includes a $1.4 billion increase in foundation aid for school districts and a three year phased-in commitment to fully-fund the state’s obligation to provide a sound basic education. 

The agreement restores proposed cuts to SUNY and CUNY, increases aid to community colleges and  eliminates the TAP gap over a four-year period. 

State and Local Services 

Funding to restore state employee salary increases that were delayed due to the pandemic was included in the budget. The proposed closure of the Rockland Psychiatric Center was rejected.  

Cuts in General local aid funding (Assistance and Incentives for Municipalities) were fully restored, and  local transportation assistance was increased. 

New York City Early Retirement Incentive 

Language that allows NYC to opt into providing a retirement incentive was included. The language will  allow NYC to offer up to 3 years of additional retirement credit based on longevity for workers that have  been targeted for layoff. The bill also allows an option for providing any worker the ability to retire  without penalty at age 55 if they have 25 years of service.  

Labor Issues 

Broadband Access Improvements 

Language to map out access to broadband and high-speed internet was included. The purpose of which  is to identify areas that are underserved or have no access at all, as well as to gauge reliability of service.  Provisions to assist low-income families with the cost of accessing high-speed internet was also  included. 

Child Care Facilitated Enrollment  

Funding for the child care facilitated enrollment program, which benefits union families across the state, was increased to $50 million over the next two years. This is up from recent annual appropriations of  approximately $9 million. Specific increases to meet budget shortfalls in New York City, the Capital  Region and Onondaga County were approved. These amounts are in addition to the normal  appropriations for New York City, the Capital Region, and Erie, Monroe and Onondaga counties. 

Cannabis Workforce Initiative 

New funding of $250,000 for a NYS AFL-CIO-supported plan was included. This program was developed  in conjunction with the RWDSU, WDI and Cornell ILR. This program will assist communities  disadvantaged by past cannabis enforcement to transition into good jobs and new economic opportunities created by the Adult-Use Cannabis law. 

Entertainment Workers COBRA Subsidy 

Funding for this program was increased to over $2 million for this year to assist workers in the  entertainment industry, who have not worked during the pandemic with paying their COBRA costs to  maintain health insurance. 

Workforce Development Institute 

Funding for WDI was maintained at $4 million for operations and a $2.5 million appropriation was included for various pre-apprenticeship programs across the state. 

Cornell ILR 

Funding for the following programs were included: Union Leadership program, $150,000; Domestic  Violence Program, $150,000; Worker Institute, $300,000 and the Prison Re-entry Program, $50,000. 

Race Disparity Study for Screenwriters and Directors 

The budget includes a $500,000 appropriation to study race and gender disparities in employment of  screenwriters and directors in the television and movie industry. This study is to determine the efficacy  of potential state funding or tax credits to improve diversity in this field.  

Excluded Worker Fund  

This budget establishes a $2.1 billion excluded worker fund administered by the Department of Labor to  provide financial assistance to New York residents who have suffered a loss of work-related earnings  and do not meet the eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance or other relief such as that  available via the CARES Act or the American Rescue Plan Act. The benefit period is from March 27, 2020  to April 1, 2021. The maximum benefit is $15,600 minus income tax. Workers who earned more than  $26,208 from work during the past year are not eligible.