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Legislative Bulletin: Lawmakers Reach Final Budget Agreement

Lawmakers Reach Final Budget Agreement

Early Monday morning, following a series of lengthy and at times tense negotiations, Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders reached an agreement on a $175.5 billion budget for SFY 2019-20. The bills have since been passed by the legislature and delivered to Governor Cuomo, who’s action is due by Friday, April 12th.

The plan, effective for the period April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020, reflects the ninth consecutive year of 2 percent or less growth in overall spending.  

LeadingAge New York released a comprehensive overview of the final 2019-20 State Budget yesterday afternoon, summarizing areas that affect multiple long term care, post-acute care, and senior service lines. Highlights of the agreement are also outlined in Governor Cuomo’s April 1st press release.

This year’s executive proposal and 30-day amendments posed several significant threats to the long-term care system. Over the last three months, LeadingAge New York worked to advance key objectives, secure revisions to some budget proposals, and successfully oppose other proposals that would have adversely affected members and the individuals they serve. Our success would not have been possible without your continued participation in advocacy efforts. Thank you for using your voice!

 

Spring into Action! Connect with lawmakers over April recess

While we can indulge in a brief sigh of relief that the budget is behind us, our work for the 2019 legislative session is far from over. Session typically concludes in late June, and over the next three months, lawmakers will be taking up new (and old) initiatives and zeroing in on some of the issues that were not addressed in the final spending plan.

With the completion of the budget, it is time to re-focus and make the legislature aware of our post-budget issues. LeadingAge New York priority legislation such as the CCRC Revitalization Act and the Role of the Nurse in ACF bill bear new potential allies, thanks to the change of power in the Senate. Conversely, issues such as safe staffing ratios and prevailing wage will continue to be a potent topic of discussion in Albany. We will also begin working on medication technician legislation, eliminating or modifying the e-prescribing mandate and keeping a close watch on potential legislation limiting security deposits, fees and charges for rental agreements.

We need your continued advocacy to support good policies and oppose those which may negatively affect seniors and long term care providers.  The April recess is a two-week long break from session, during which most legislators continue their work in the district. This is a valuable opportunity to thank them for their support during the budget process, voice concerns about proposals not addressed in the final agreement and educate them on our other priority issues.

From April 15th through April 26th, the legislators are in your neighborhood, and we encourage you to connect with them to the best of your ability. At this point in the process, it may be difficult to get a formal meeting, but many legislators are likely hosting fundraisers or other events that are open to the public. Find your legislators’ contact information here and give them a call to find out how you can connect over April recess.

 

Connecting with Congress

The congressional April recess is also quickly approaching and is a great time to connect with your federal representatives. With New York well represented in the House, it is important that lawmakers understand our federal issues. At this point in the process, it may be difficult to schedule a formal gathering, but it is always worthwhile to reach out to the congressional district office and request a meeting for this month or further down the road. The House Session Calendar and the Senate Session Calendar are great tools for planning an in-district meetings with lawmakers. 

There are big issues up for debate at the federal level such as HUD funding and the CNA training lockout. Click here to contact your lawmakers now and ask for their support!

 

Join Us for the Senior Housing NOW Rally in D.C.!

Please join LeadingAge and other housing advocates like you on Capitol Hill to rally around one simple goal: expand and preserve affordable housing for older adults. The Senior Housing NOW Rally will take place on Wednesday, May 8th from 1-2pm and will feature several speakers on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol Grounds. LeadingAge has provided a Senior Housing NOW FAQ sheet as well as a link to register.

The trip to Washington also poses a great opportunity to schedule meetings with your representatives. When constituents show up to rally and advocate for the issues that matter most, congress takes notice. We hope that you will be able to join us on May 8th!

 

Continue to Advocate for Prevailing Wage Exemptions

LeadingAge New York was pleased to see that prevailing wage was not included in the final budget. While this is a victory, it is clear that the initiative still has strong support among the legislature and it will be a top priority when they return to session on Monday. We need to keep the pressure on our legislators and make the negative consequences of prevailing wage clear.

The legislation,  A.1261(Bronson)/S.1947(Ramos),  would impose public works “prevailing wage” requirements on most types of private sector projects receiving any level of financial support from state or local entities, including bond issuances, grants, tax abatements and other government assistance. Prevailing wage requirements could increase labor costs by 25 percent or more, thereby increasing overall construction project costs by 15-20 percent for many types of projects that would be affected by this expanded wage mandate.

Even when “the state or public entities” provide relatively small amounts of financial support – such as being able to offer a lower interest rate or lower fees on a borrowing – this legislation would deem the project a public work and make it subject to prevailing wages. With no additional funding provided for in this legislation, the cost of this 15-20 percent “construction tax” would ultimately need to be passed on to seniors and their families.

LeadingAge New York has worked hard over the past few weeks to seek exemptions to the prevailing wage provisions for our members. Legislators appeared supportive of exempting hospitals, nursing homes and affordable housing during budget discussion. If this post-budget legislation passes we need to be sure that all providers are exempted, including senior housing, assisted living and CCRCs. We are very pleased that our advocacy kept the proposal out of the budget but our work is not done. We need your help to ensure that there are exemptions for nursing homes, affordable housing, CCRCs, ACF/AL and non-profit senior housing. Click here for our most recent memo of opposition. 

If you are planning or building a capital project using state or local financial programs, we strongly encourage you to reach out to your legislators to inform them of the potential impact!

Tell your Legislators:

  • Non-profit providers cannot afford prevailing wage requirements that will increase the costs of construction. [Share the impact this proposal would have on your development plans]. Renovations and capital projects are vital in ensuring quality care and homes for New York’s seniors.
  • Please oppose prevailing wage provisions for non-profit senior housing, ACF/AL, CCRCs as well as nursing homes and affordable housing.
  • Our budget-specific memo of opposition can be found here.
  • Click here for legislator contact information

 

Ami Schnauber, aschnauber@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8854

Sarah Daly, sdaly@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8845