Sign up For DC 37 News


Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

State Budget:

Union wins in health care funding, CUNY


In this year’s State budget, in addition to securing a major win with the Early Retirement Incentive, the Union scored key victories on two major issues — health care and education.

After intensive lobbying, the State Senate and Assembly stopped Governor Cuomo’s proposed cuts to both. The final $212 billion budget restores funding for essential public health care and public education.

The proposed cuts would have severely impacted the city’s public health care system, which already is reeling from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. If implemented, the cuts would have directly impacted communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

Thanks in part to an additional $12.6 billion in federal aid from the American Rescue Act, the State stopped the proposed cuts, adding $420 million to the Essential Plan, which allows low-income New Yorkers who make too much or are undocumented to qualify for Medicaid. The budget also stopped a proposal to pull NYC Health + Hospitals out of the Indigent Care Pool, which covers costs of patients unable to pay.

In the budget, there is $1 billion in new capital funding for CUNY and SUNY, which restores $75 million in proposed cuts.

The budget increases aid to student programs and financial aid assistance, including funding for Pell grants and raises the maximum allowed for the Tuition Assistance Program by $500 to $5,665.

According to CUNY’s analysis of the budget, $1.5 million in funds were restored to the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, and $250,000 for the Pipeline Program at the city university’s Graduate Center, as well several million in funds to other CUNY colleges and programs.

The State budget also includes provisions extending financial aid limits for students unable to complete school because of the pandemic.

Finally, the budget contains an important revenue enhancement. After years of resisting pressure from Albany lawmakers, the Governor agreed to raising the personal income tax rate for anyone who makes more than $1 million per year, a step forward in providing tax equity for all New Yorkers.