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Statewide COVID-19 positivity rate is 6.18%

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For Immediate Release: 1/21/2021

GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO

GOVERNOR CUOMO UPDATES NEW YORKERS ON STATE’S PROGRESS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

9,055 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

1,560 Patients in the ICU; 1,011 Intubated

Statewide Positivity Rate is 6.18%

174 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state’s progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 is continuing to spread across the state, and the footrace continues between our ability to quickly distribute the vaccine—hampered only by supply—and the virus’ new strains and new cases,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our large network of distribution sites is ready, willing and able to get more vaccines to New Yorkers, faster—all we need is the supply. In the meantime, New Yorkers who aren’t yet eligible should stay vigilant as we get through the winter, washing their hands, wearing masks and socially distancing. The extent of community spread is a function of our actions, and we can slow it down. Our citizens have already been brave and resilient through the enormous hardship that we’ve faced over the last year, saving countless lives. Now we need to get through to the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Today’s data is summarized briefly below:

·        Test Results Reported – 224,569

·        Total Positive – 13,886

·        Percent Positive – 6.18%

·        Patient Hospitalization – 9,055 (-218)

·        Patients Newly Admitted – 1,000

·        Hospital Counties – 57

·        Number ICU – 1,560 (-61)

·        Number ICU with Intubation – 1,011 (-33)

·        Total Discharges – 118,889 (+1,007)

·        Deaths – 174

·        Total Deaths – 33,594

The regional hospital bed capacity and occupancy numbers, including the number of hospitalizations as a percent of the region’s population, is as follows:

Region

COVID Patients Currently in Hospital in Region

COVID Patients as Percent of Region Population

Percent of Hospital Beds Available Within 7 Days Under Surge Plan

Capital Region

540

0.05%

25%

Central New York

309

0.04%

29%

Finger Lakes

727

0.06%

33%

Long Island

1,645

0.06%

28%

Mid-Hudson

1,076

0.05%

40%

Mohawk Valley

266

0.05%

26%

New York City

3,669

0.04%

31%

North Country

104

0.02%

50%

Southern Tier

241

0.04%

42%

Western New York

478

0.03%

32%

Statewide

9,055

0.05%

32%

The regional ICU bed capacity and occupancy numbers are as follows:

Region

Total ICU Beds in Region

Total Occupied ICU Beds in Region

Percent of ICU Beds Available in Region (7-day Avg)

Capital Region

260

213

19%

Central New York

262

194

29%

Finger Lakes

397

314

22%

Long Island

859

672

21%

Mid-Hudson

684

431

36%

Mohawk Valley

131

104

24%

New York City

2,545

2,010

23%

North Country

65

43

32%

Southern Tier

125

84

36%

Western New York

545

331

38%

Statewide

5,873

4,396

26%

Each region’s 7-day average percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:

REGION

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

Capital Region

7.16%

7.08%

6.91%

Central New York

5.80%

5.77%

5.77%

Finger Lakes

6.62%

6.47%

6.41%

Long Island

7.68%

7.47%

7.39%

Mid-Hudson

7.13%

7.00%

6.98%

Mohawk Valley

7.85%

7.70%

7.54%

New York City

5.66%

5.70%

5.73%

North Country

7.49%

7.13%

7.09%

Southern Tier

3.73%

3.57%

3.51%

Western New York

6.55%

6.45%

6.20%

Statewide

6.34%

6.27%

6.23%

Each New York City borough’s 7-day average percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:

BOROUGH

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

Bronx

7.17%

6.90%

7.10%

Brooklyn

5.69%

5.80%

5.75%

Manhattan

3.37%

3.36%

3.50%

Queens

6.04%

6.48%

6.15%

Staten Island

5.98%

6.11%

5.95%

Of the 1,285,337 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

County

Total Positive

New Positive

Albany

16,788

267

Allegany

2,394

19

Broome

11,467

212

Cattaraugus

3,462

35

Cayuga

4,558

84

Chautauqua

5,742

82

Chemung

5,689

46

Chenango

1,821

26

Clinton

2,264

55

Columbia

2,578

54

Cortland

2,696

28

Delaware

1,044

15

Dutchess

17,182

219

Erie

53,064

591

Essex

997

9

Franklin

1,202

38

Fulton

2,190

50

Genesee

3,752

63

Greene

2,097

19

Hamilton

150

3

Herkimer

3,743

61

Jefferson

3,331

59

Lewis

1,558

18

Livingston

2,767

30

Madison

3,209

36

Monroe

45,002

371

Montgomery

2,298

33

Nassau

117,371

1,306

Niagara

12,410

181

NYC

542,799

5,198

Oneida

17,167

191

Onondaga

28,226

278

Ontario

4,815

45

Orange

29,406

328

Orleans

1,968

23

Oswego

5,012

51

Otsego

1,779

41

Putnam

6,670

94

Rensselaer

7,112

147

Rockland

32,407

270

Saratoga

9,527

152

Schenectady

8,869

99

Schoharie

926

12

Schuyler

730

6

Seneca

1,263

24

St. Lawrence

3,753

68

Steuben

4,680

48

Suffolk

131,309

1,505

Sullivan

3,923

36

Tioga

2,268

40

Tompkins

2,752

45

Ulster

7,901

79

Warren

2,163

44

Washington

1,574

32

Wayne

3,773

51

Westchester

86,646

923

Wyoming

2,248

36

Yates

845

10

Yesterday, 174 New Yorkers died due to COVID-19 in New York State, bringing the total to 33,594. A geographic breakdown is as follows, by county of residence:

Deaths by County of Residence

County

New Deaths

Albany

2

Bronx

7

Broome

3

Cayuga

3

Chautauqua

2

Chemung

1

Columbia

1

Delaware

2

Dutchess

2

Erie

10

Fulton

1

Genesee

1

Greene

1

Herkimer

5

Jefferson

1

Kings

21

Manhattan

5

Monroe

11

Montgomery

2

Nassau

8

Niagara

3

Oneida

6

Onondaga

2

Ontario

1

Orleans

2

Oswego

2

Queens

20

Rensselaer

1

Richmond

7

Rockland

3

Saratoga

1

Schenectady

6

Seneca

1

Suffolk

18

Tompkins

1

Ulster

2

Washington

1

Wayne

2

Westchester

5

Yates

1

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Cuomo outlines 2022 Executive Budget

On Tuesday, January 19, Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined two possible paths for the New York’s 2022 state budget: one that is dependent on $15 billion in federal aid and a “painful” one in which the federal dollars aren’t realized.

Highlights of the FY 2022 Executive Budget, assuming $15 billion in federal aid:

  • $306 Billion Infrastructure Plan – Largest in Nation
  • $29 Billion in Private and Public Green Economy Investments
  • $1.3 Billion Rent Relief Program, $20 Billion to Create or Preserve 100,000 Affordable Homes, $128 Million for Homeless Housing & Assistance
  •  $15 Cap on Broadband for Low-Income Families, $150 Million to Address Food Insecurity, $10 million for Liberty Defense Fund
  •  $130 Million Pandemic Recovery & Restoration Program Supporting Highly-Impacted Small Businesses, Restaurant, Arts & Entertainment Industries
  •  $40 Million Infectious Disease Resiliency Commercialization Fund to Fast-track Innovations & Address Emerging Health Threats – Establish Public Health Corp

 FY 2022 Executive Budget Briefing Book Available Here

The Governor’s press release follows: 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today outlined the FY 2022 Executive Budget to reimagine, rebuild and renew New York in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor presented two budget options, depending on the level of funding the federal government provides to New York following the devastating economic impact of Washington’s failed COVID-19 response. The first option would support New York State’s ongoing war against the pandemic and aggressive post-COVID reconstruction plan. The second option – absent $15 billion in federal funding – would cause pain for New Yorkers by forcing the state to raise revenue, cut expenses and borrow.

The Governor also reiterated his call on federal partners to repeal the harmful State and Local Tax policy – or SALT cap- that cost New Yorkers over $30 billion over the last three years and amounted to the first double taxation in history. The average cost of SALT cap to New York households is $2,600 per home.

If the federal government provides New York with the $15 billion fair share, the State will be able to:

Advance a $306 billion infrastructure plan – the largest in the nation – and $29 billion in green economy investments.

Enact a $1.3 billion rent relief program, fund $20 billion program to create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes, and provide $128 million for homeless housing and assistance.

Institute a $15 cap on broadband for low-income families, provide $150 million to address food insecurity, and continue the $10 million investment in the Liberty Defense Fund to provide free legal consultations and screenings to help undocumented New Yorkers.

Create a $130 million Pandemic Recovery and Restoration Program to support small businesses as well as restaurant, arts and entertainment industries that were hurt by COVID.

Establish a $40 million Infectious Disease Resiliency Commercialization Fund to fast-track innovations and address emerging health threats.

Create a public health corps that will assist in supporting COVID-19 vaccination operations, establishing a best-in-the-nation emergency response public health capacity.

“The story of COVID has many chapters – we launched the battle last year and now we must not only finish it, but begin an aggressive post-COVID reconstruction,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are in a different time and a different world than just one year ago and we shouldn’t be surprised that this budget will look different. We have a plan in place, a strength that we have not had before and I believe our future is bright, but Washington must act fairly if we are to emerge on the other side of this crisis. Despite the federal irresponsibility, which allowed COVID to ambush our state, New Yorkers are ready to begin rebuilding, but for that to happen, we need SALT repealed and $15 billion in rightfully deserved federal aid – and we need it now. After years of federal hostility, I believe the stars are lined up for that to change – we just need to do it. We built the greatest state once before and I know that we will do it again.”

Fiscal Highlights of the FY 2022 Executive Budget, assuming $15 billion in federal aid:

·         State Operating Funds spending is $103.4 billion

·         All Funds spending $192.9 billion for FY 2022

·         Provides $31.7 billion in School Aid

·         Provides $7.5 billion in State support for higher education in New York

 

2022 REIMAGINE | REBUILD | RENEW ENACTED BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS 

Defeating COVID and Strengthening Health Care Delivery

Telehealth:  The COVID -19 pandemic has transformed the healthcare delivery system, as methods for accessing care have expanded.  Accordingly, the State is advancing a comprehensive package of telehealth reforms that will lower costs, enhance care for vulnerable populations, and increase access to telehealth services by:

·    Increasing Access to Services through Comprehensive Regulatory Reform by permitting telephonic delivery of care, permitting interstate licensure, allowing certain unlicensed staff (e.g. Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor trainees) to deliver substance use disorder services via telehealth, expanding covered telehealth providers, eliminating obsolete location requirements, expanding reimbursement for patient monitoring, integrating telehealth into the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY), requiring telehealth in commercial insurance and expanding access to mental health and addiction services.

Promoting Innovative Technologies and Approaches by increasing training and education opportunities, establishing a pilot program to facilitate telehealth for vulnerable populations, requiring insurers to offer e-Triage and Virtual Emergency Department, and allowing insurers to satisfy contractual care management requirements by utilizing emerging telehealth solutions that enhance care management efforts and integrated multi-disciplinary teams.

Expanding Nation-Leading COVID-19 Diagnostic Capacity:  The Executive Budget will continue to support the expansion of the State’s world-leading testing program, currently able to perform over 200,000 COVID-19 tests on a daily basis to identify disease and mitigate community spread.  This will include leveraging the research expertise of Wadsworth laboratories, which was the first public laboratory in the United States to have a non-Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 test approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The State will also continue to operate a network of 22 regionally located drive-through and walk-in testing locations available to all New Yorkers completely free of charge, and will establish a network of rapid testing locations by partnering with testing companies to allow business and entertainment centers to safely re-open.

Launch a New York State Infectious Diseases Resiliency Commercialization Fund:  As part of Governor Cuomo’s Life Science Initiative, Empire State Development will create a new $40 million New York State Infectious Diseases Resiliency Commercialization Fund led by Empire State Development and advised by the New York State Department of Health and other private experts to capitalize on New York’s substantial research and development assets and expertise in life sciences, biotechnology and biodefense.  The fund will focus on accelerating the growth of companies to fast track the development of innovations that address emerging infectious diseases, public health threats and support economic growth.

Continue COVID Response and Implementation of Vaccine Distribution:  The Executive Budget will support the implementation of a statewide COVID-19 vaccination program that will be available to all New Yorkers within the year, ensuring a fair and equitable distribution to vulnerable and underserved communities within all regions of the state.  The vaccine program will cover nearly 20 million residents at no cost, driving New York towards becoming the nation’s first COVID-safe state and accelerating the State’s re-opening effort.

Create the New York Public Health Corps: The New York Public Health Corps will assist in supporting COVID-19 vaccination operations and establishing a best-in-the-nation emergency response public health capacity that lasts beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. These fellows will include students in undergraduate and graduate public health programs, nursing schools and medical and pharmaceutical schools, recent graduates, retired medical professionals, volunteer first responders, and other New Yorkers who will receive an intensive public health training curriculum developed by Cornell University. After the COVID vaccination program is completed, New York will build on this Public Health Corps model by continuing to recruit and train public health professionals to be available and prepared to serve the State in any future crisis

Assist Workers in Getting Vaccinated: To protect workers and those returning to work, improve public health, and help the State’s economic recovery, public and private employers would be required to provide four hours of paid leave for up to two COVID-19 vaccinations for each employee.

 

$100 million to Eliminate Co-Payments for Low-Income New Yorkers: The COVID-19 pandemic showcased the persistent, staggering healthcare disparities in this country and in New York State. Blacks, Latinos, Asians and poor communities paid the highest price for COVID-19. Higher rates of underlying conditions were a major driver of these disparities. Increasing access to affordable healthcare will help address these disparities and help ensure that New York emerges from the pandemic stronger and more equitable.

Through New York’s successful health insurance exchange, the New York State of Health, low-income families qualify for the state’s Essential Plan for free or with a maximum premium of $20 a month per person. However, families and individuals still struggle with the expense. To make coverage more affordable for low-income New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo will eliminate these monthly premiums for over 400,000 New Yorkers, saving families nearly $100 million per year in premiums and enrolling 100,000 New Yorkers who are currently uninsured.

Additionally, the Executive Budget calls for a $420 million investment in rates of payments to Essential Plan providers. This rate change will enhance provider reimbursement, which will promote and support access to vital health care services. Further, the Budget establishes a $200 million Essential Plan quality pool to promote high quality of care, strengthen provider networks, incentivize providers based on performance, and ensure provider access for all Essential Plan members.

Create the New Office of Addiction and Mental Health Services. In a continuation of previous efforts to coordinate and align services for individuals with addiction and mental illness, the Executive Budget integrates the Office of Addiction Services and Supports and the Office of Mental Health to create a new agency: the Office of Addiction and Mental Health Services.

 

Integrated Licensing: The Executive Budget authorizes the Department of Health, Office of Addiction Services and Supports, and the Office of Mental Health to establish a single, integrated license for outpatient mental health, addiction, and physical health services.

 

Jumpstarting New York’s Economic Recovery

 

Enact the Pandemic Recovery and Restart Program: In order to help jumpstart New York’s economy, New York will establish three new tax credits and expand another totaling $130 million to help smaller businesses in the accommodation, arts and entertainment, restaurant and musical and theatrical production industries to recover from the pandemic and bring back jobs to New York.

•      Small Business Return-To-Work Tax Credit: This provides up to $50 million in tax credits to support small businesses in highly impacted sectors in the hiring of additional workers through 2021.

•      Restaurant Return-To-Work Tax Credit: This tax credit provides up to $50 million in tax credits to support restaurants hard hit by the pandemic through 2021.

•      Extend and Enhance the Musical and Theatrical Production Credit for Four Years: This tax credit provides up to $25 million in tax credits for the jump start of the industry and the support of tourism activity in the City. In order to support musical and theatrical productions that occur in the State but outside of New York City, the Budget extends this credit for four years through 2025 and doubles it to $8 million.

 

Educate and Train Workers for In-Demand Jobs: Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State has connected an unprecedented number of workers to jobs, and New York’s colleges and universities have served a vital role in this effort. Workforce development must be flexible and respond nimbly to a rapidly changing environment and the COVID-related recession has magnified the need for flexibility.

Along with an unprecedented increase in unemployment, the pandemic has caused a massive shift in the type of jobs available and in who is looking for work. The Executive Budget includes several initiatives under which New York’s colleges and universities will help rebuild New York’s economy by educating and training workers for in-demand jobs:

·        Pathways Pledge: In partnership with Governor Cuomo’s Reimagine New York Commission, New York is launching a Pathways Pledge among New York’s leading employers, both public and private, to create more inclusive workforces and provide more workforce development opportunities.

·        SUNY’s Free Online Training Center: Governor Cuomo will expand SUNY’s free Online Training Center so New Yorkers can enroll in additional employment certification programs for quality jobs in high-demand growing industries like health care and advanced manufacturing.  The Training Center will give more New Yorkers in every region of the state — from rural communities to urban centers — another opportunity to receive free job training certifications and then automatically be admitted to any one of SUNY’s 30 community colleges for future career advancements.

·        SUNY Stony Brook Offshore Wind Institute: New York’s accelerated renewable energy development program is creating thousands of well-paying jobs. In order to make sure New Yorkers benefit from these opportunities, the State is investing $20 million in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute based at SUNY Stony Brook and Farmingdale State College. In 2021, NYSERDA and SUNY will issue the first solicitations for advanced technology training partners, leveraging our SUNY and CUNY system to train the first phase of an estimated 2,500 workers beginning in summer of 2021.

·        Priority Access for Nurses in SUNY and CUNY Programs: In 2017, Governor Cuomo signed into law “BSN in 10” to enhance the quality of patient care and elevate the nursing profession. It requires all nurses who complete an Associate Degree in New York State to complete a Baccalaureate of Science Degree in Nursing within 10 years to maintain licensure by the State. Beginning in Fall 2021, SUNY and CUNY will implement priority admission to nursing programs so the 40,000 nurses and nursing candidates in need of completing their baccalaureate credentials can receive a quality and affordable education within the state.

 

Advance the Economic Recovery through Workforce Development. The Executive Budget enacts a COVID-19 Recovery Workforce Initiative, which invests $50 million for training in high-growth industries, employer-driven training for low-income workers, and funding for small businesses to re-train and hire furloughed, laid-off, or new employees. The investments will provide durable skills that lead to high-quality jobs and support the growth of small businesses recovering from COVID-19 impacts.

 

Mobile Sports Betting: The Executive Budget will authorize a mobile sports wagering market. Legalization will provide more than $500 million in much needed revenue for the State to help rebuild from COVID-19 in the short-term and grow what could be the largest sports wagering market in the U.S. into a profitable industry long-term.

 

Legalization of Adult-Use Cannabis: The Executive Budget legalizes cannabis for adult use. Legalization will not only ensure public health and safety, but provide an opportunity for the State to generate more than $300 million in tax revenue. Beginning in FY 2023 revenues shall be first distributed to the Cannabis Social Equity Fund in the amount of $100 million over four years and $50 million annually thereafter.  These monies will be used to support individuals and communities that have been the most harmed by decades of cannabis prohibition.

 

Support the Unemployed and Protect Workers: Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Department of Labor has paid out more than $61 billion in benefits to over 4 million New Yorkers – nearly 29 typical years’ worth of benefits. The Executive Budget and administrative actions advance a package of reforms to the unemployment system, including upgrades to modernize technology, allowing work search activities to be performed via video conference and online, and creating a centralized virtual portal for workers to file wage, discrimination, retaliation, and other workplace violation claims. In addition, DOL will implement immediate regulatory changes to allow for partial unemployment benefits, based on the number of hours actually worked over the course of a week to incentivize unemployed New Yorkers to assume a part-time job as they search for full-time work. Legislation submitted with the Budget will make permanent new benefit calculations for partial unemployment insurance made possible by technological improvements.

 

Continued Investment in Tourism: The COVID-19 pandemic caused a precipitous drop in travel, hitting New York’s tourism industry particularly hard. As New York State advances its scientific-based reopening efforts, the Budget includes additional funding to attract visitors from around the world and boost the tourism economy. The program includes a ninth round of $15 million in competitive funding through the Market NY initiative to support marketing projects that promote regional attractions.

  

Another Round of Regional Economic Development Councils: The Executive Budget includes core capital and tax-credit funding that will be combined with a wide range of existing agency programs for REDC awards totaling $750 million and will target assistance to impacted industries and allow for job creating and retention.

 

Expand Opportunities for New York’s MWBE Program: Governor Cuomo has been a champion of the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE). In 2014, he set the utilization goal in State contracting at 30 percent to ensure all New Yorkers have the opportunity to take part in New York State’s growing economy. New York State now has the highest MWBE contract participation in the nation. In fact, state contract spending with MWBE firms has grown from less than $100 million in 2010 to $3.14 billion as MWBE in FY 2020. To build upon this success, the Empire State Development Corporation, in partnership with the Reimagine New York Commission, will launch the “Entrepreneurship Navigator” to provide customized services and streamlined access to start-up programs to help incubate minority and women entrepreneurs in the technology and innovation sector.

New York Works Economic Development Fund. A sixth round of investment equaling $220 million for the New York Works Economic Development Fund will provide additional statewide capital grants to support projects that facilitate the creation of new jobs or retain existing jobs, or fund infrastructure investments necessary to attract new businesses or expand existing businesses in support of economic recovery

Downtown Revitalization: The pandemic has kept New Yorkers at home to save lives, disrupting the flow of commerce in the downtown communities across the State.  These areas need support now more than ever. To that end, the FY 2022 Budget provides $100 million for another round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which has been transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families.

Transportation and Infrastructure

$306 Billion Infrastructure Plan: New York’s $306 billion infrastructure plan includes the Governor’s $206 billion 2020-24 plan and his $100 billion 2015-2019 plan. It grows this year from $275 billion with the inclusion of new, key elements of the Midtown West Redevelopment of New York City, Belmont Station Redevelopment and $1.5 billion in new capital.

 

Transformational Midtown West Macro Development:

 

·        Empire Station Complex. As part of the Transformational Midtown West Development and with the completion of the Moynihan Train Hall, the State will turn to the existing Penn Station, launching a comprehensive $16 billion project to expand and reconstruct the existing station. The fully renovated Penn Station, including the iconic new Long Island Rail Road entrance on 7th Avenue that opened on December 31, 2020, will comprise a widened and completely reconstructed 33rd Street LIRR concourse and an expanded and completely transformed station. Additionally, at least eight new tracks will be constructed south of the existing Penn Station to add capacity, cut down on delays, and improve operations. This will be a signature transportation project creating nearly 60,000 direct jobs and involving the federal government, Empire State Development, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New Jersey Transit, and Amtrak.  New York State stands ready to work with New Jersey Transit and the Federal government to share in this historic investment for the future of the region.

 

·        High Line Extension to Moynihan Station. As part of the Transformational Midtown West Development, the Budget includes funding to support the Governor’s proposal to extend the High Line in Manhattan to give pedestrians seamless access to the elevated pathway from the recently opened Moynihan Train Hall. As part of a public-private partnership, Brookfield Property Group will partner with Empire State Development, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Friends of the High Line to build an L-shaped connection from the 10th Avenue terminus of the High Line to Brookfield’s Manhattan West public space.

 

First-in-the-Nation Affordable Internet for All Low-Income Families: When the COVID-19 virus first came to New York and then quickly began to spread throughout our communities, students and adults alike had to adapt to remote learning and remote work to keep each other safe. Immediately, it became clear that universal broadband was a prerequisite for success in a remote world. Currently, a basic high-speed internet plan costs, on average, more than $50 a month. The Executive Budget includes first-in-the-nation legislation requiring internet service providers to offer an affordable $15 per month high speed internet plan to all low-income households. The State will also require providers to advertise this plan to ensure programs reach underserved populations across the State. To further bridge the gap, the State will partner with Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation to launch a new hardship fund to pay for internet subscriptions for our most in need students who cannot afford $15 per month during this crisis.

After nearly $500 million dollars invested to expand broadband internet to 98 percent of the state, New York will also lead the nation in making broadband affordable. Without affordable broadband, people are not only disconnected, they are disenfranchised. The Reimagine New York Commission reported to the Governor that high-quality, affordable broadband must be available to everyone and in New York we will make sure it is.

 

DOT Capital Plan: The Executive Budget provides $5.8 billion for the second year of a record $11.9 billion, 2-Year DOT Capital Plan that will facilitate the improvement of highways, bridges, rail, aviation infrastructure, non-MTA transit, and DOT facilities.  Compared to the final two years of the last DOT Capital Plan, this is an increase of $3.0 billion, or 33 percent.

Strengthening Local Highways and Bridges: The Executive Budget continues Governor Cuomo’s record commitment to funding local highway and bridge projects. Funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and the Marchiselli program is maintained at last year’s level of $477.8 million. The Budget also continues $100 million in highway aid through the PAVE NY program, and $100 million to fund local bridge projects from the BRIDGE NY program. These programs are further improving conditions on State and local roads and bridges.

Supporting Parks and DEC Capital Projects: The Executive Budget allocates $110 million in New York Works capital funding for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation. This funding will aid the ongoing transformation of the State’s flagship parks, and support critical infrastructure projects. The Executive Budget also includes $75 million for the Department of Environmental Conservation to address a variety of capital needs to improve access to State lands, rehabilitate campgrounds.

 

Clean Water Infrastructure Investment: The Executive Budget adds a $500 million appropriation to support clean water, raising the State’s total investment to $4 billion and continuing to fulfill the Governor’s $5 billion clean water commitment.

Reimagine the Erie Canal: Building on the findings of the Reimagine the Canal Task Force, the New York Power Authority Board, which now oversees the Canal Corporation as a subsidiary, will invest $300 million over the next five years to integrate the Empire State Trail and Erie Canal into a new “Empire Line” system that will stimulate tourism and economic development, address environmental challenges unknown a century ago, and create an asset that will improve the quality of life in communities along the 360-mile spine of the Erie Canal.

Olympic Regional Development Authority Capital Improvements: The Executive Budget includes $105 million in new capital funding for Olympic Regional Development Authority, including $92.5 million for a strategic upgrade and modernization plan to support improvements to the Olympic facilities and ski resorts with a focus on preparing for the 2023 World University Games, $10 million for critical maintenance and energy efficiency upgrades, and $2.5 million appropriated from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation budget as part of the New York Works initiative.

 

Making New York a Leader in the Green Energy Economy

Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York will embark on an ambitious Green Energy program that will spur more than $29 billion in public and private investment across the state and create 12,400 megawatts of green energy – enough to power 6 million homes. These investments will not only shift the state to a carbon neutral economy, fulfilling the goals of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, but also spur the COVID economic recovery. Projects include:

·     Largest Offshore Wind Program in the Nation. The state will contract with Equinor Wind US LLC for the development of two new offshore wind farms more than 20 miles off the shore of Long Island, in what is the largest procurement of renewable energy by a state in U.S. history. Upon completion, the two offshore wind farms will yield a combined 2,490 megawatts of carbon-free energy, bring another $8.9 billion in investment.

·    Global Wind Energy Manufacturing Powerhouse. New York has secured commitments from companies to manufacture wind turbine components within the state and build the nation’s largest offshore wind program. Plans to make New York State a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse include upgrades to create five dedicated port facilities. These projects include: the nation’s first offshore wind tower-manufacturing facility to be built in the Port of Albany;  facilities at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal; greater activity at Port Jefferson and Port of Montauk Harbor in Long Island. Together, the projects will leverage almost $3 of private funding for every $1 of public funding, for a combined $644 million investment in these port facilities.  

 

·    Construct New York’s Green Energy Transmission Superhighway. New York State will construct a new green energy superhighway of 250 miles. The $2 billion project will create opportunities to maximize the use of renewable energy for the parts of the state that still rely on polluting fossil-fuel plants. Construction has already started on the New York Power Authority’s 86-mile Smart Path project from Massena to Croghan, and construction will soon start on several key projects in Western New York, Mid-Hudson, and the Capital Region.

·    Public-Private Partnership to Build Nearly 100 Renewable Energy Projects: Over the past five years, the State has contracted for the construction of 68 new large-scale renewable energy facilities including solar farms, onshore wind farms, and three offshore wind farms that are among the largest in the nation. These investments in renewable energy have brought economic activity to 34 counties, will add 6,100 megawatts of clean energy capacity to the state’s infrastructure, and generate investment of more than $12 billion.

 

To build on this progress, New York will contract for another 24 large-scale renewable energy generation projects in 2021, to bring the State’s total clean energy build-out to nearly 100 projects. The 23 solar farms and one hydroelectric facility will be the most cost-efficient clean energy construction to date in New York, producing more than 2,200 megawatts of clean power, generating more than $2.9 billion of investment and creating 3,400 jobs in 16 counties Upstate.

Support Electric Buses. The Executive Budget also provides non-MTA transit systems with another $20 million of capital aid, for the second installment of a $100 million five-year program to support transit agencies’ transition to electric buses. Under this program, five of the largest upstate and suburban transit authorities will electrify 25 percent of their fleets by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035.

Addressing Systemic Injustices

Streamlining and Enhancing Work to Address Domestic and Gender-Based Violence: Throughout the pandemic, there has been a stark increase in instances of domestic and gender-based violence, not only in New York, but throughout the nation. To address this, the Governor will build off past progress and implement new initiatives to stamp out this despicable behavior, including:

·    Establishing a Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Label As part of the Executive Budget, the Governor will be establishing a domestic violence misdemeanor ensuring these crimes will be added to a list of those disqualifying an individual from owning a firearm.

·    The Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence: New York is proud to be the only State with an executive-level agency dedicated to the issue of domestic violence. The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence will transform into the Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence aimed at bringing together multiple efforts to address gender-based violence and create the first agency addressing gender-based violence in the nation. The new office will encourage collaboration among agencies and service providers, eliminate redundant processes, and simplify survivor interactions with the State.

 

·    Require Abusers to Pay Survivor Housing Costs: The Executive Budget includes legislation allowing courts to require abusers to pay for damages to housing units, moving expenses and other housing costs when related to a domestic violence incident.

Facilitating the Creation of Statewide Childcare Options: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how a lack of access to affordable childcare can disrupt low-income families and force caregivers, primarily women, to choose between putting food on the table and caring for their children. While affordability serves as a barrier to families securing child care, there is also a lack of general accessibility of child care programs, as well as insufficient high quality provider capacity across the state which can inhibit families from accessing child care.

 

To make child care more affordable and equitable for our most vulnerable children and their parents, the Executive Budget includes efforts to:

·         Strengthen Child Care Programs: The Executive Budget maintains $832 million for child care subsidies through the New York State Child Care Block Grant. These funds serve approximately 169,000 children, ages 0-13, from approximately 101,000 low-income families. Including child-focused tax credits and pre-kindergarten programs, support for families with child care-aged children totals nearly $2.8 billion.

·         Enact Employer Child Care Credits: The Budget enhances the Excelsior Jobs Program and Employer Provided Child Care Credit, providing meaningful incentives to employers to help them provide much needed childcare to their employees. The Excelsior Jobs Program is enhanced to allow for an expanded five percent Investment Tax Credit component and a credit for six percent of ongoing net childcare expenditures provided by the credit recipient. The Employer Provided Child Care Credit is also enhanced by doubling the current credit percentages to 50 percent of qualified child care expenditures and 20 percent of qualified child care resource and referral expenditures while increasing the per taxpayer cap from $150,000 to $500,000.

·        Improve Child Care Affordability. The Executive Budget invests $40 million to ensure that no low-income New York family receiving a subsidy pays more than 20 percent of their income above the poverty level for child care co-pays, reducing the burden on approximately 32,000 working families. It also invests $6 million for start-up grants to create programs in child care deserts and wage supports for programs located in existing deserts identified through the Regional Economic Development Councils.

 

Strengthen Hiring Standards for Police Officers: The Executive Budget includes legislation requiring all law enforcement agencies to comply with background check standards that include a criminal history check, a mental health exam, prior employer disclosure, review of the police registry for permanent decertification, and disclosure of previous misconduct.

Require Accreditation of Departments for Background Checks: The Executive Budget includes legislation requiring law enforcement agencies to become accredited for the purpose of standardizing background checks to ensure that only those most qualified can serve as a law enforcement officer.

Establish Decertification Standards for Police Officers: The Executive Budget includes legislation to create a more robust accountability mechanism to ensure no bad actors may serve as police officers by clearly defining conduct that results in permanent decertification, mandating reporting of misconduct, and requiring information sharing of serious misconduct by officers.

Fund Body Worn Cameras: The Executive Budget includes funding to support recently passed legislation requiring all State Police Officers on patrol to wear body cameras.

Liberty Defense Fund: This year, Governor Cuomo will continue to support the Liberty Defense Project to keep fighting for immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families. The Executive Budget authorizes $10 million for the Liberty Defense Fund to provide free legal consultations and screenings to help undocumented New Yorkers.

 

Support Raise the Age Implementation: The Executive Budget includes a $250 million appropriation to support continued implementation of the Raise the Age initiative.

Ensure Human Rights Protections for all New Yorkers: The Executive Budget supports the expansion of the Equal Rights Amendment in the State Constitution to permanently codify rights that reflect New York’s commitment to equality. Legislation submitted with the Budget also adds citizenship and immigration status as protected classes under the Human Rights Law, and extends anti-discrimination provisions to for-profit schools to better protect against discrimination, harassment, and bullying in such institutions.

Tackling Food Insecurities: The Budget includes $150 million to tackle food insecurity, and adds $25 million to Nourish New York for a total $60 million investment. This critical program helps people who are food insecure to access the nourishment that they need, while providing a market for farmers to sell their products.

Education

$31.7 Billion in Support to School Districts:  The Executive Budget provides $31.7 Billion in funding for school districts through School Aid, STAR, and extraordinary federal funds, to support operational costs of school districts that educate 2.6 million students statewide. Approximately 70 percent of these funds are targeted to high-need school districts.

Allocate $4.3 Billion in Federal Supplemental Funds: Given the extraordinary strain that the pandemic as places on school districts, educators and students, the Executive Budget allocates funds to schools to support ongoing operational and pandemic-related costs.

Authorize Aid for Pandemic-Related School District Transportation Costs:  Under the Executive Budget, school districts will be reimbursed school districts for the cost of delivering school meals and instructional materials during pandemic-related school closures in spring 2020.

Consolidate $3.7 Billion in Expense-Based Aids:  The Executive Budget establishes a block grant program from existing expense-based aids so that future funding increases can be allocated more progressively through Foundation Aid.

 

Ensure Fair and Safe Housing

Affordable and Homeless Housing Capital Plan: The Executive Budget continues the $20 billion, comprehensive five-year investment to create or preserve over 100,000 units of affordable housing and create 6,000 new units of supportive housing. The State is well on track toward meeting affordable housing goals and has already exceeded the supportive housing. To date, New York has financed the new construction and preservation of more than 66,500 affordable housing units and more than 7,000 units of supportive housing units that provide stability for some of the state’s most vulnerable populations, including veterans, victims of domestic violence, frail or disabled senior citizens, young adults aging out of foster care, and New Yorkers identified as homeless with special needs, conditions, or other life challenges. With this success, the Governor has continued the State’s commitment to supportive housing. The goal is now to create 20,000 units over 15 years, and the Budget includes $250 million in additional capital funding to continue making progress in FY 2022.

 

Support New Homeless Housing: The Executive Budget continues $128 million for the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, a level achieved when funding for the program was doubled in FY 2021. This investment will create more housing for individuals and families who are homeless and unable to secure adequate housing without special assistance.

 

Protect Renters: The Executive Budget advances the emergency rental assistance program supported by Federal funds. The program will support households in rental arrears that have experienced financial hardship, are at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and that earn less than eighty percent of area median income. The program would prioritize the unemployed and those with the lowest incomes. The proposal ensures access to undocumented New Yorkers and may include the creation of a hardship fund. In addition to using the $800 million provided directly to the State the program would be structured to enable coordinated efforts between the State and the local governments that opted to receive funds directly – leveraging the full $1.3 billion directed to New York and other resources, gaining efficiencies, and preventing fraud.

Improve Office of Mental Health Housing Services: The Budget continues the $20 million investment from FY 2021 to support existing residential programs, a part of the cumulative increase of $70 million annually since FY 2015. In addition, $60 million in capital funding will preserve community-based housing that allows people to live in the most integrated setting possible.

Higher Education

The Executive Budget provides $7.5 billion in funding for higher education in New York, not including tuition – a $1.5 billion increase since FY 2012.

Preserving Support for Students Most In Need: The Executive Budget ensures access to an affordable college education in the face of economic challenges caused by the pandemic by preserving student financial aid and opportunity programs for our neediest students. The FY 2022 Executive Budget maintains full support for over $1 billion in HESC financial aid programs, including TAP and the Excelsior Scholarship, as well as over $200 million in funding for higher education opportunity programs and training centers. The Budget extends financial aid award duration limits for those students who, because of the pandemic, were unable to maintain satisfactory academic progress due to illness, course closure, or other special circumstances.

 

Extend a Predictable Funding Plan for SUNY and CUNY. In 2011, the Governor enacted a plan for predictable tuition increases for CUNY and SUNY, putting an end to surprise increases in student’s bills. The Executive Budget extends this predictable funding plan for CUNY and SUNY that will continue to protect students from tuition spikes and provide our public colleges with additional resources to invest in college affordability and student success. This plan limits increases in the resident tuition rate at SUNY and CUNY to no more than $200 a year through AY 2025. The revenue generated from any tuition increase will be reinvested to support faculty, instruction, initiatives to improve student success and completion, and tuition credits for TAP-eligible students.

 

 

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CP State offering series on dating and relationships for people with disabilities

CP State is honored to host a series on navigating dating and relationships for people with disabilities. These sessions will begin on February 23  and are presented by Kathy O’Connell, Director of Radiant Abilities. Radiant Abilities provides resources and products for people with disabilities in the areas of self-esteem, relationships, and personal empowerment.

We’re able to offer these sessions for FREE through a DDPC Grant.
If you would like to participate, please contact Tim Ferguson at TFerguson@cpstate.org or 518-436-0178.

Training #1: Successful Dating and Healthy Relationships for People with Disabilities

Date: February 23, 2021

Description: This training is a look at the social and emotional challenges of dating and relationships for people with disabilities. Learn how to transform societal beliefs about disability and sexuality, how to foster self-esteem and confidence, create healthy boundaries and effectively support someone to develop successful dating and healthy relationships.

Training #2: Four Steps to Successful Dating with a Disability

Date: March 2, 2021

Description: In this training you will learn how to actually apply the principles taught in the first training to help people get the results they want. Training is very geared toward people with disabilities, although professionals and family members can learn how to support people in the following areas: increasing “dating confidence,” how to write a kick butt dating profile, how to effectively communicate with dates about a disability, and how to take the right action for dating success.

Training #3: How to Increase Self Esteem and Confidence for Dating

Date: March 9, 2021

Description: Learn why dating and relationships is really a self esteem issue, especially for people with disabilities. The basics of dating, disability, and sexuality as they relate to a person’s ability to attract others and healthy relationships. Learn how to increase “dating confidence” in people with disabilities, as well as teaching the importance of having a vision of what kind of relationship is wanted.

Training #4: Problem Solving and Finding Relationship Success

Date: March 9, 2021

Description: Learn how teaching problem solving skills for dating and relationships is essential. Explore how crucial it is to support people in maintaining confidence and empowerment in a relationship, as well as knowing when to end a relationship. Learn techniques for bringing a disability into a relationship, as well as the importance of having a support network for both dating and relationships.

About Kathy O’Connell:

Kathy O’Connell is Director of Radiant Abilities. Radiant Abilities provides resources and products for people with disabilities in the areas of self-esteem, relationships, personal empowerment, and living the life you want. Kathy has a specialized focus in helping people with disabilities with dating and relationship success. She works from the premise of a healthy self-esteem, increased confidence, and good boundaries build the foundation for success in dating, relationships, and sexuality.

Kathy created an online course for people with disabilities, Dating, Relationships and Disabilities: How to Have Confidence and Succeed. She provides individual coaching and counseling for dating and relationships. Kathy intertwines strategies and insights she learned through both her clinical practice and her personal transformation from lacking confidence related to her disability to developing a healthy sense of self in dating and relationships that led to meeting her husband.

Kathy has taught dating, relationships, and disability at the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University. She also teaches community classes in dating, relationships, and sexuality, as well as at conferences.

Kathy is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor in Syracuse, NY. She teaches insight, skill development, and empowering beliefs in dating, relationships, and sexuality. Kathy has a counseling practice in Syracuse, working primarily with people with disabilities and their families.

Kathy is the author of the self-improvement book, Firewalk: Embracing Different Abilities, how embracing disability and taking pride in it lead to living the life you want.

Cuomo acknowledges ‘COVID fatigue’ as positive rate nears 6.5%

Governor Cuomo issued a press release this morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Wednesday, January 13.

“New York is pushing forward to conduct more tests, add to hospital beds and make it easier to get the COVID-19 vaccine across the state, but we need New Yorkers to stay vigilant and take safe precautions as the virus is still spreading,” Governor Cuomo said. “Washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing are vital tools New Yorkers can use to stay safe, and local governments are bound to enforce state public health law. We’re moving through a difficult period in our history, and I know COVID fatigue has set in and New Yorkers crave normalcy, but we will get through this together and come out on the other side.”

New York COVID-19 statistics for January 13:

  • Test Results Reported: 212,589
  • Positive Test Results: 13,661
  • Statewide Positivity: 6.42%
  • Patient Hospitalization: 8,823 (-106)
  • Patients Newly Admitted: 1,120
  • Hospital Counties: 56
  • Number ICU: 1,536 (+35)
  • Number ICU with Intubation: 956 (+32)
  • Total Discharges: 112,979 (+956)
  • Deaths: 202
  • Total Deaths: 32,379

If you have any questions, please let us know. Thank you.

Cuomo outlines 7-point plan in State of the State

Governor Cuomo outlined his 2021 agenda in the State of the State Address this morning from the War Room in the State Capitol. Cuomo announced that he will be delivering three additional speeches in the coming days with additional proposals and details of the following seven-point plan, announced this morning:

  1. Defeat COVID
  2. Vaccinate New York
  3. Manage Short Term Economic Crisis
  4. Invest in the Future
  5. Transition to Green Energy
  6. Understand Long Term Effects of COVID
  7. Address Systemic Injustices

As his upcoming speeches are formally scheduled, we will let you know. At this time the Governor has not released his State of the State book, but has released highlights of his Reimagine, Rebuild, Renew Plan:

Passing the Medical Supplies Act: The United States was ill-prepared for a global pandemic when it came to our shores in 2020. At the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, New York State, along with the rest of the country, faced a severe shortage of basic Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), leaving our frontline health care professionals vulnerable to contracting the disease that we so desperately needed them to fight. To ensure that hospitals had the supplies needed to protect their patients and workers, New York was forced to compete with other countries — and even states — to secure critical products from overseas.

To promote domestic manufacturing of critical medical equipment and to reduce dependency on overseas products, Governor Cuomo is proposing that New York pass the Medical Supplies Act to prioritize buying American-made PPE and medical supplies. As the Buy American Act, made permanent last year, did for American-made structural iron and steel, this new policy will help create and retain local jobs while ensuring the health and dependability of a crucial sector for years to come.

Comprehensive Telehealth Legislation: The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the inequities in our healthcare system and showed that telehealth is a critical tool to expand access and lower costs for low-income communities, especially for behavioral health support. During the crisis, the Governor took executive action to expand access to remote care. These proposals codify and build on those successful reforms.

In partnership with the Reimagine New York Commission, the Governor will enact comprehensive telehealth reform to help New Yorkers take advantage of telehealth tools and address existing roadblocks. These reforms will address key issues like adjusting reimbursement incentives to encourage telehealth, eliminating outdated regulatory prohibitions on the delivery of telehealth, removing outdated location requirements, addressing technical unease among both patients and providers through training programs, and establishing other programs to incentivize innovative uses of telehealth.

Ensuring Social and Racial Justice for the Vaccination Effort: In order to ensure the vaccine is distributed equitably, especially in communities of color, Governor Cuomo created the New York Vaccine Equity Task Force. Chaired by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, Attorney General Letitia James, National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial, and Healthfirst President & CEO Pat Wang, the Governor’s Equity Task Force will assist in overcoming existing barriers to vaccination and increase access to vaccines in Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, rural, poor, and public housing communities, as well as other health care deserts.

To support the vaccine rollout, the Task Force was directed by the Governor to build trust and acknowledge the pervasive structural inequities that have contributed to existing health and social disparities, address language access issues, ensure protections of privacy and confidentiality, and develop outreach efforts and community engagements that are regionally placed, culturally responsive, and representative of all communities. As vaccine availability increases from the federal government, the State will establish in partnership with private entities and localities, public clinics to reach vulnerable and underserved communities.

New York State Public Health Corps: While working to make New York the first COVID-19-safe state in the nation through widespread vaccination, we must also prepare for future public health crises. To support New York’s massive effort to vaccinate nearly 20 million New Yorkers and support other public health emergency responses, Governor Cuomo is proposing the launch of the nation’s first public health corps. As part of the effort, up to 1,000 fellows will be recruited to assist with vaccination operations. These fellows will include students in undergraduate and graduate public health programs, nursing schools and medical schools, recent graduates, retired medical professionals, and laypeople who will receive an intensive public health training curriculum developed by Cornell University. Bloomberg Philanthropies, Northwell, and our Department of Health will manage and coordinate the Corps.

After the vaccination program is completed, New York will build on this Public Health Corps model by continuing to recruit and train public health professionals to staff State and county health agencies and this Corps will be available and prepared to serve the state in any future crisis.

Free Citizen Public Health Training: To empower and educate New Yorkers to be prepared for the next public health crises, the State will develop a free citizen public health training program with Cornell, offered online, to educate and certify thousands of New Yorkers to be prepared to volunteer to help their communities the next time there is a health emergency.

Fight for Overdue Federal Support to States Fighting COVID-19: New York was blindsided by the virus in early spring. Despite vast agencies tasked with monitoring health threats, and months of warning, the federal government failed to respond to — or even notice — the growing global pandemic. When they finally took notice, the federal government was solely focused on China such that they allowed 3 million travelers from Europe — where the virus was rapidly spreading —to enter New York City-area airports and others. This was an act of gross negligence by the federal government. New York State led the nation in its response. Left to fend for itself by the federal government, New Yorkers bent the curve and, with a science-based approach, re-opened much of the economy while maintaining some of the lowest infection rates in the nation.

However, even as portions of the economy have bounced back, many sectors have seen significant job losses and remain severely impacted, all contributing to New York’s significant fiscal challenges. The State is contending with a $15 billion budget gap created entirely by the pandemic. For too long, New York has been asked to unfairly subsidize the federal government. As the federal government’s number one donor, New York already leads the nation in sending more money to Washington than it gets back in return. On top of that, Washington has relentlessly abused this state, providing the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rate in the nation, starving infrastructure funding, and curtailing the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction, which raised New Yorkers’ taxes and starved New York of $30 billion over three years. After all of this, New York cannot also afford to pay the bill for the federal government’s incompetence.

Governor Cuomo will fight to ensure that the federal government takes responsibility and delivers the fair funding New York and other states are owed.

Pass a Comprehensive Adult-Use Cannabis Program: In 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to decriminalize the penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana. The legislation also put forth a process to expunge records for certain marijuana convictions. Later that year, the Governor spearheaded a multi-state summit to discuss paths towards legalization of adult-use cannabis that would ensure public health and safety, and coordinate programs regionally to minimize the cross-border movement of cannabis products.

Building on that important work, the Governor is proposing the creation of a new Office of Cannabis Management to oversee a new adult-use cannabis program, as well as the State’s existing medical and cannabinoid hemp programs. Additionally, an equitable structure for the adult-use market will be created by offering licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Cannabis legalization will create more than 60,000 new jobs, spurring $3.5 billion in economic activity and generating more than $300 million in tax revenue when fully implemented.

Enabling Online Sports Betting: The sports gambling market is evolving rapidly. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court in Murphy v. NCAA overturned a federal law prohibiting most states from authorizing sports wagering. Sports wagering is now legal online in 14 states, including the bordering states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, while it is only legal in New York at four Upstate commercial gaming facilities and Native American gaming facilities. An industry study found that nearly 20 percent of New Jersey’s sports wagering revenue comes from New York residents, costing the State millions of dollars in lost tax revenue.

Under Governor Cuomo’s proposal, the New York State Gaming Commission will issue a request for proposals to select one or more providers to offer mobile sports wagering in New York. This platform must have a partnership with at least one of the existing licensed commercial casinos. The Commission will also require any entity operating mobile wagering apps include safeguards against abuses and addiction.

Create a Rapid Testing Network as a Tool to Help Businesses Reopen: Over the past several months, Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward reopening plan has paved the way for many businesses to resume operations safely through a phased approach and in accordance with public health protocols. While this has unleashed the ingenuity and creativity of New York businesses — such as new outdoor dining spaces and delivery options — it has also created significant financial struggles for these industries.

New York has been at the forefront of developing testing capacity throughout the COVID-19 crisis and will use that experience to help support the reopening of businesses. The State will continue to scale up the availability of testing to help businesses safely reduce capacity restrictions, as well as work with testing companies to stand up a network of convenient testing sites in city centers, starting with New York City. New York will also work with local governments to cut through any red tape to set up this critical infrastructure quickly. With this new network of rapid testing locations, a customer can stop into a new rapid testing facility, get tested, and 15 minutes later be cleared for dinner or a movie. This will provide an added layer of protection and confidence as New Yorkers resume economic activity.

Facilitating Policing Reforms: This year, Governor Cuomo took swift and aggressive action to respond to community concerns and rebuild public trust in the law enforcement profession following the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, and far too many others. The Governor signed the “Say Their Name” reform agenda which repealed 50-a, banned chokeholds, prohibited race-based 911 calls, and codified his 2015 Executive Order that appointed the Attorney General as an independent prosecutor for police involved deaths of unarmed civilians. He also signed legislation creating the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office within the Attorney General’s Office to investigate complaints of misconduct filed against law enforcement agencies.

However, unrest and distrust continued to roil communities in New York and across the nation. Maintaining public safety is imperative; it is one of the essential roles of government, and communities require mutual trust and respect between police and the communities they serve. In recognition of this, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 203 creating the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative. This collaborative process requires all local governments and police forces to develop a plan to modernize their policing strategies and strengthen relationships with the communities they serve. Localities are required to engage their community and ratify a plan by April 1, 2021. Failure to complete this process will result in loss of State funding.

Facilitating the Creation of Statewide Childcare Options: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how a lack of access to affordable childcare can disrupt low-income families and force caregivers, primarily women, to choose between putting food on the table and caring for their children. While affordability serves as a barrier to families securing child care, there is also a lack of general accessibility of child care programs, as well as insufficient high quality provider capacity across the state which can inhibit families from accessing child care.

To make child care more affordable and equitable for our most vulnerable children and their parents, Governor Cuomo will invest $40 million to reduce the burden of parent subsidy copays to help approximately 32,000 working families. This will ensure that no New York family pays more than 20 percent of their income above the federal poverty level for a child care subsidy co-pay, with the rest of the cost of care being covered by the subsidy.

To ensure that all families have access to high-quality child care, New York State will invest $6 million for start-up grants to create programs in child care deserts; increase the value of the New York State Employer-Provided Child Care Credit by expanding the amount a business can claim for qualified child care expenditures to up to $500,000 per year; create a new toolkit to provide guidance and assistance to businesses looking to subsidize and facilitate access to child care for their employees; and establish permanent child care sector workgroups within the Regional Economic Development Councils REDCs to guide and inform council decisions. The Governor will also establish a new Excelsior Child Care Investment Tax Credit available to recipients of the Excelsior Tax Credit as a bonus incentive to create and provide child care services for employees and their families.

To ease administrative burdens and make it easier and less costly to provide child care services, Governor Cuomo will adopt the Child Care Availability Task Force recommendations to standardize and modernize the child care subsidy system to eliminate waste, duplication, and confusing rules for families. Specifically, the Governor will direct the Office of Children and Family Services and the Council on Children and Families to examine federal and state statutes and regulations to identify opportunities for reform and streamlining; eliminate redundant background checks that increase administrative burdens and costs for providers; and advance legislation to eliminate the requirement that individuals seeking employment at OCFS or in New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regulated programs submit a new Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment clearance form when they move to a new program.

Streamlining and Enhancing Work to Address Gender-Based Violence: Ending domestic violence and sexual assault has been at the top of New York’s agenda since Governor Cuomo first took office. Throughout his time as Governor, Governor Cuomo has signed extensive legislation relating to ensuring safety for girls, women, and all survivors of domestic trauma and abuse, including legislation in the FY 2021 budget authorizing law enforcement to remove guns from the scene of a domestic violence incident, and requiring judges to consider the effects of domestic violence while determining distribution of marital property. The Governor also signed the Enough is Enough law in July, 2015 to address sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking on college campuses.

The Governor is now proposing to take this work a step further through a comprehensive package of initiatives to combat domestic violence and gender-based violence. The package includes a proposal allowing courts to require abusers to pay for damages to housing units, moving expenses, and other housing costs related to domestic violence, as well as a proposals to create a domestic violence misdemeanor label to close the domestic violence gun-purchasing loophole to ensure abusers cannot obtain weapons who are convicted of misdemeanor assaults on a domestic partner.

Additionally, the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence will be transformed into a reimagined agency, the Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, and will be tasked with addressing the intersection of the many forms of intimate partner violence, including domestic violence and sexual violence, in a survivor-centered and comprehensive manner.

Providing Rent and Mortgage Relief for Tenants and Small Business Owners: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented economic dislocation across the United States, and New York is no exception. The financial hardships arising from business closures and resulting unemployment touch on every aspect of life but are perhaps most acutely felt by New Yorkers in danger of losing their homes or businesses because they can no longer afford to pay their mortgage or rent.

The Governor has already signed legislation placing a moratorium on residential evictions until May 1, 2021 for tenants who have endured COVID-related hardship. Taking this effort a step further, Governor Cuomo will codify his Executive Order banning fees for late and missed rent payments during the pandemic and allowing tenants to use their security deposit as immediate payment and repay the deposit over time, keeping those protections in place through May 1. The Governor will also codify his Executive Order to establish a statewide moratorium on commercial evictions until May 1 for commercial tenants who have endured COVID-related hardship.

Eliminating Health Care Premiums for Low-Income New Yorkers: The COVID-19 pandemic showcased the persistent, staggering healthcare disparities in this country and in New York State. Blacks, Latinos, Asians and poor communities paid the highest price for COVID-19. Higher rates of underlying conditions were a major driver of these disparities. Increasing access to affordable healthcare will help address these disparities and help ensure that New York emerges from the pandemic stronger and more equitable.

Through New York’s successful health insurance exchange, the New York State of Health, low-income families qualify for the state’s Essential Plan for free or with a maximum premium of $20 a month per person. However, families and individuals still struggle with the expense. To make coverage more affordable for low-income New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo will eliminate these monthly premiums for over 400,000 New Yorkers, saving families nearly $100 million per year in premiums and enrolling 100,000 New Yorkers who are currently uninsured.

Continuing New York’s Liberty Defense Project: Launched in 2017 under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the first-in-the-nation Liberty Defense Project has provided more than 45,000 vital legal services to immigrants and communities in need — particularly those who have been targeted by federal immigration enforcement tactics, including those in Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The project is administered by the Office for New Americans and runs in partnership with law firms, legal associations, advocacy organizations, colleges, universities, and bar associations across the state. The Liberty Defense Project provides free legal consultations and screenings for immigrants throughout New York, direct representation in deportation proceedings and other cases, assistance in applying for naturalization and employment authorization, and other education and support, including connection to social services and health care.

This year, Governor Cuomo will continue to support the Liberty Defense Project to keep fighting for immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families. New York’s strength, character, and pride are found in the diversity and rich culture that makes us the Empire State. We will continue to support and defend all who call New York home.

Strengthening and Expanding Access to Elections: Building from New York’s previous landmark election reforms, Governor Cuomo has put forth a transformational proposal that continues to expand access to voting and improves procedures to speed up vote counting, and add additional time for early voting. Specifically:

·        Expand Access to Early Voting: Governor Cuomo will advance legislation that extends early voting hours from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on weekends as well as on a minimum of three week days during the ten-day early voting period.

·        No-Excuse Absentee Voting for All New Yorkers: In 2019, Governor Cuomo celebrated the Legislature’s passage of a resolution beginning the process of amending the state constitution to make no-excuse absentee voting a reality in our state. In 2021, the Governor will call on the Legislature to act quickly to pass the resolution again so that the proposed amendment can go on the ballot to be ratified by the voters.

·        Allow More Time for Voters to Request Absentee Ballots: The state’s election law currently prohibits voters from requesting their absentee ballots more than 30 days prior to Election Day. Particularly in elections with large numbers of absentee voters, this timeline may make it difficult for county boards of elections to process ballot requests in a timely and efficient manner. This, in turn, provides voters with less time to receive their ballots, vote, and mail them back. Governor Cuomo will advance legislation allowing voters to request absentee ballots 45 days prior to the election, ensuring they can be mailed as soon as the ballot is finalized and approved by the Board.

·        Speed Up the Counting of Absentee Ballots: New York State’s election law does not facilitate the speedy counting of large numbers of absentee ballots – the law only requires that boards of elections meet to process and count ballots within two weeks of a general election and within eight days of a primary election. To ensure that New York State counts absentee votes quickly and efficiently after each election, Governor Cuomo will introduce legislation requiring county boards of elections to process absentee ballots as they are received and to begin counting and reporting those ballots on Election Day.

Creatively Repurposing Underutilized Commercial Space for Additional Housing: As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, New York, like states across the country, has seen an increase in telework and a reduction in travel. New York City must, and will, remain a global commercial hub, by ensuring that its central business district remains the paramount location for the world’s most innovative and successful businesses and their employees. Reduced demand for office and hotel space has created an opportunity to repurpose formerly commercial space that has far greater potential for use as housing, including affordable and supportive housing, to create dynamic, 24/7 walk-to-work neighborhoods.

Governor Cuomo will propose legislation to create a five-year period during which property owners may convert office buildings and hotels in the Manhattan central business district to residential use. Stimulating housing conversion will create thousands of good-paying jobs, increase housing affordability, and support long-term economic growth by helping New York’s employers attract and retain talent.

Ensuring Safe Shelters and Providing Sustained Care for Homeless on the Street: Governor Cuomo has been a leader in protecting and serving homeless New Yorkers throughout his entire career, and he took action during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure they received the support and care they need. In September, Governor Cuomo directed the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to issue guidance to all social services districts across the state clearly laying out the requirements for providing safe shelter conditions amidst the global COVID-19 public health emergency. OTDA will ensure strict compliance with the guidance and directive through a combination of announced and unannounced visits to the shelters. Localities that do not maintain safe and secure facilities will be held accountable.

Previously Released State of the State Proposals

Quality & Compliance Conference Jan. 12-14, 19-21

Cerebral Palsy Associations of NYS and The Arc New York present the 13th Annual Conference for Providers Serving People with Disabilities. 

This year’s conference will be held virtually January 12-14 and January 19-21.

VIEW THE FULL CONFERENCE BROCHURE AND SESSION INFO
We’d like to thank our partners for this year’s conference. Click on the images for more information.

 

                               

 

UK Variant found in Saratoga, post-holiday uptick in COVID-19 cases

Governor Cuomo held two media availabilities on Monday, Jan. 4. This morning he conducted a press briefing from the State Capitol and this afternoon he held a press call to make an announcement. Details of both can be found below.

Governor Cuomo Press Call

  • The Governor held a press call this afternoon to announce that the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7) of the virus that causes COVID has been discovered in New York. The Governor was joined on the call by:

    • Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor;
    • Robert Mujica, Budget Director;
    • Dr. Howard Zucker, NYS Department of Health Commissioner;
    • Elizabeth Garvey, Special Counsel and Senior Advisor to the Governor; and
    • Gareth Rhodes, Deputy Superintendent & Special Counsel at NYS Department of Financial Services.

  • The variant was discovered in a sample from a man in Saratoga County. The man has not traveled recently, indicating the variant is present in the community.

  • The man works at a jewelry store called N. Fox Jewelers in Saratoga Springs. Three other people have tested positive in relation to the store. The Wadsworth Lab is testing their samples to determine if it is the U.K. variant.

  • The Governor advised that anyone who visited the store between December 18th and 24th should be tested.

  • A reporter asked if the variant is resistant to the vaccine and how widespread the State believes the variant to be present in the community. Governor Cuomo said that the variant is not known to be more resistant to the vaccine or more deadly – but it is much more transmittable. He believes the variant is present in the community, but New York has advanced testing protocols so the State was able to find it quickly.

  • When asked if the variant causes different symptoms and if the variant is contributing to increasing cases in the Capital Region, Dr. Zucker said that the variant does not cause different symptoms from the original strain and that the increasing positivity rate locally and across the nation likely reflects the presence of the variant in the community.

  • In response to a question from a reporter about Western New York possibly changing color zones, Gareth Rhodes said that while the region experienced several weeks of progress, the most recent data shows a slight uptick in Erie County.

Governor Cuomo Press Briefing

  • Today’s briefing took place at the State Capitol. The Governor was joined by:

    • Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor;
    • Robert Mujica, Budget Director;
    • Dr. Jim Malatras, State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor;
    • Dr. Howard Zucker, NYS Department of Health Commissioner;
    • Elizabeth Garvey, Special Counsel and Senior Advisor to the Governor; and
    • Gareth Rhodes, Deputy Superintendent & Special Counsel at NYS Department of Financial Services.

  • COVID-19 DATA FROM 1/4:

    • Statewide Positivity Rate – 8.34%
    • Statewide Positivity Rate, Excluding Focus Zones – 7.78%
    • Positivity Rate Within Focus Zones – 9.85%
    • Current Hospitalizations – 8,251 (+288)
    • Patients Currently in ICU – 1,357 (+13)
    • Patients Currently Intubated – 843 (+28)
    • Deaths – 170
    • Total NY Pandemic Deaths – 30,648

  • REGIONAL HOSPITALIZATION AND POSITIVITY RATES:

    • Capital Region
      • 468 hospitalized
      • 9.91% positivity rate
    • Central New York
      • 400 hospitalized
      • 9.30% positivity rate
    • Finger Lakes
      • 930 hospitalized
      • 10.22% positivity rate
    • Long Island
      • 1,506 hospitalized
      • 9.31% positivity rate
    • Mid-Hudson
      • 942 hospitalized
      • 8.20% positivity rate
    • Mohawk Valley
      • 299 hospitalized
      • 10.38% positivity rate
    • New York City
      • 2,884 hospitalized
      • 6.24% positivity rate
    • North Country
      • 82 hospitalized
      • 9.02% positivity rate
    • Southern Tier
      • 209 hospitalized
      • 5.77% positivity rate
    • Western New York
      • 531 hospitalized
      • 8.43% positivity rate

 

  • POST-CHRISTMAS UPTICK: As expected, New York is experiencing an uptick in infection and hospitalization rates following the holiday season. Governor Cuomo urged New Yorkers to refrain from gathering and continue to follow safety protocols in order to avoid further shutdowns. The Finger Lakes and Mohawk Valley regions continue to sustain the highest infection rates in the State. Governor Cuomo said these communities can change this trajectory by modifying their behavior. However, if the trajectory does not change and hospital bed availability diminishes, the regions will be shut down.

 

  • HOSPITAL CAPACITY: New York continues to monitor hospital capacity closely, and currently no region has less than 30% capacity. In response to a question from a reporter, the Governor clarified that this metric is the percentage of beds that would be available within seven days to a region’s hospital system if the system uses additional resources to surge capacity under the State’s Surge & Flex plan.

 

  • VACCINE ADMINISTRATION: The vaccine is being administered under three programs in nursing homes, hospitals, and special efforts:

 

·       Nursing Homes: The nursing home program is being run by the Federal Government and has been moving slow. There are 611 facilities enrolled in the Federal program, but only 288 have completed the first dose for residents (47%). The State will begin to assist and expedite this program. With State facilitation, 234 facilities will administer the first dose for residents this week (85%). The State will expedite the remaining 15% over the next two weeks.

·       Hospitals: Vaccine administration has lagged in New York’s public hospitals. Governor Cuomo urged public officials in areas with public hospitals to step up and manage vaccinations at these sites. Hospitals statewide have only used around 46% of the total available vaccine allocation. The NYS Department of Health issued a letter yesterday indicating vaccine providers must use their inventory this week or they could receive a fine of up to $100,000. In the future, facilities will need to use their allocations within one week. If they do not, the provider may be subject to a fine and limited future allocations. If a provider is seriously deficient, they can be subject to more serious sanctions or be disqualified from future distributions.

·       In response to a question from a reporter on whether the fines for either not administering enough vaccines or for administering it to an ineligible recipient create competing principles, Governor Cuomo said that some hospitals are better than others at administering the vaccine quickly. The Governor encouraged hospitals that do not have the capacity to administer their allocation to not participate in the program so their allotment can go to another hospital that can administer the immunizations quickly.

·       Special Efforts: The State will establish drive-throughs for public distribution and recruit additional retired personnel to administer vaccines. There will be a focus on establishing sites in communities that do not have access to traditional distribution points, such as pharmacies. Governor Cuomo said that he would like to receive the vaccine, but will not until it is available to his priority group in black and brown communities.

 

  • VACCINE ELIGIBILITY: All doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff who come in contact with the public are eligible to receive the vaccine starting today. All individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines (including local health department staff), ambulatory care centers staff, home care and hospice workers, and other congregate setting staff and residents are also eligible.

  • VACCINE FRAUD: Governor Cuomo will propose legislation to enact criminal penalties for any entity which falsifies who or what they are to the State, or for any entity that does not follow the guidelines on who is eligible for the vaccine. Under a previously issued Executive Order, a provider who engages in such activity can be fined or lose their license. In response to a question from a reporter, the Governor clarified that this would not apply if a hospital made a mistake or if they were defrauded. It is for a criminal intent, meaning if they knowingly provided a vaccine to someone who was not eligible.

  • SCHOOLS: For counties with a positivity rate above 9%, schools can remain open if the testing data shows that the schools have a lower positivity rate than the surrounding community. It is up to the local school districts to decide whether to remain open. Governor Cuomo added that it is his opinion that schools should remain open if the positivity rate in the school is lower than the community, but emphasized school districts maintain local control over this decision. Previous guidance directed school districts to go to remote learning once the surrounding region hit a 9% positivity rate over a seven-day average.

  • STATE OF THE STATE: The Governor will begin to present his 2021 State of the State Address on Monday, January 11th. In response to a question from a reporter, the Governor said that this year the State of the State will be different from years past because of the challenging position the State is in.