C4C BLOG: The State of New York Kids: Governor Cuomo Releases New York State FY 2015 Budget
On Tuesday, January 21, Governor Cuomo released his FY 2015 State Budget. The $137.2 billion plan keeps growth in state spending below two percent for the fourth year in a row and this is the first year the State has not seen a deficit since 2008. A surplus is a first in a while.
The Campaign for Children is excited to see proposed investments in New York children and families with budget dollars going to support programs like Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) statewide, afterschool programs and increases for child care.
Governor Cuomo is pledging $1.5 billion over five years to fund UPK, but the Campaign for Children is afraid that this will not be enough to cover all four-year-olds citywide. New York City has proposed creating a dedicated funding stream to finance the effort. Some of those funds would come through an increase to the City income tax for individuals earning $500,000 a year or more to help pay for the City’s program. C4C supports the Mayor’s proposal and his quest to obtain Home Rule approval from the State to implement the tax.
The Governor is also pledging $720 million over five years to support the expansion of after-school programs for middle school students. C4C is also afraid this proposed funding will also not be enough and is another reason why it supports New York City’s tax plan. Stay tuned to the next C4C blog where we will dive into a comparison of the two plans for UPK.
One program that we have blogged about previously is Summer Youth Employment. In NYC, SYEP provides youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with summer employment and educational experiences that capitalize on their individual strengths, develop their skills and competencies, and connect them to positive adult role models. SYEP Provides six weeks of entry-level work experience in a variety of jobs at community-based organizations, government agencies and private sector businesses. SYEP is a great opportunity for young people to get into the workforce. With the statewide increase in the minimum wage the amount of funding to the SYEP program would need to be adjusted to be able to service youth at the same volume it did in FY 2014. But, this increase was not made in the recent budget proposal. This means less students will have the opportunity to participate in the program and receive valuable skills and job training.
Another funding decrease was seen in the Advantage After-School program. Advantage After- School provides quality youth development opportunities to school-age children and youth for three hours directly after-school. Funding was reduced by $500,000.
To end on a positive note, the Governor is proposing to increase the State’s investment in child care by increasing the Child Care Block Grant by $21 million. Child care subsidies are over $80 million less today than in 2010-2011, when New York benefitted from stimulus funds. The proposed increase is a great start at getting back to previous funding levels and hope the investments continue.
The Campaign for Children will continue to monitor this as the Legislature debates the Governor’s proposals. To see the budget proposal in its entirety, clickhere. For a snapshot of the child and youth related proposals, the Citizens Committee for Children has put together a summary. You can view it here.
VISIT THE C4C BLOG at http://campaign4children.wordpress.com/