|1. Budget HighlightsProperty Tax Relief
Property tax relief is on the way to New Yorkers with the Homeowner Tax Rebate Credit that was created in the state budget which low- and middle-income households, as well as senior households, will be eligible for. Under this program, the basic STAR exemption and credit beneficiaries with incomes below $250,000 and all Enhanced STAR recipients will be eligible for the rebate. This will be a percentage of the homeowner’s existing STAR benefits and is estimated to be an average tax cut of $970. Credits will be an advance on Tax Year 2022 income tax returns and will be directly sent to eligible homeowners beginning in Fall 2022.
To read more about the various tax relief initiatives included in the budget: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-fy-2023-budget-investments-deliver-tax-relief-new-yorkers
Gas Tax Holiday
In response to higher-than-usual gas prices, we approved a 7-month gas tax “holiday” beginning June 1st and ending on December 31st. Each gallon of gas will be 16 cents less during this period which will save New Yorkers over $585M. Broome County also recently passed a cap on County gas taxes at $3 per gallon from June 1st through December 1st. Any gas station or wholesaler who is found to be abusing this “holiday” will face civil penalties up to $1,000 and will be ordered to pay restitution to customers under NYS price gouging laws.
We approved a new five-year, $32.8B DOT Capital Plan to support major infrastructure improvements statewide. This is a $9.4B (40.2%) increase over the previous five-year plan. Under the capital plan, direct support for local roads and bridges will increase to more than $6.1B, an increase of nearly $2.5B (69%). This includes the new Operation Pave our Potholes initiative as well as doubling the funding available through the existing BRIDGE NY program, a program which provides funding to rehabilitate and replace bridges and culverts. As a member of the Assembly Committee on Transportation, I worked hard to make sure that this infusion of federal dollars will be spent wisely.
To read more about the State’s infrastructure investments: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-record-328-billion-transportation-infrastructure-part-fy-2023-budget
After years of state and local advocacy, childcare is finally being recognized as a necessity. We will be investing $7B over the next four years, which more than doubles previous funding for childcare subsidies. Included in these funds is $901M to help nearly 15,000 providers cover their increasing operating costs, including wages, rent or mortgages, utilities, supplies, and training. This funding will also cap family co-pay contributions to no more than 10% of their annual income and provide grants to new and existing providers in childcare deserts statewide to expand their capacity. NYS is also increasing the income eligibility threshold for childcare support to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($83,250 for a family of four). This will extend eligibility for subsidies to more than half of young children in NYS.
To read more about these critical childcare investments: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-historic-investment-child-care-part-fy-2023-budget
We provided historic investments for our K-12 education system with $31.2B going to local school districts. The budget also includes $21.3B in Foundation Aid, which is an increase of $1.5B from last year. It also includes $1.1B for Universal Pre-K to help an additional 17,500 children attend. Additionally, a total of $100M of matching funds over the next two years has been designated to address student well-being and learning loss in response to the pandemic.
To read more about education funding in the budget: https://nyassembly.gov/Press/?sec=story&story=101550
Agriculture and Food
As the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, one of my responsibilities during this budget was to ensure that our Ag producers have the resources and support they need to be successful. Included in the final budget was over $11M for the Farm to School program; a program that connects local schools with local farms. We also extended the Nourish NY program that helps farmers reroute surplus agricultural products to underserved populations through our network of food banks. The Environmental Protection Fund also supported Farmland Protection and Climate Resilient Farming; two areas I have championed.