More Boats on the Water after Tolls Waived

Contact:

Steven Gosset | Steven.Gosset@nypa.gov | (914) 390-8192 

RECREATIONAL VESSEL TRAFFIC ON NEW YORK STATE CANALS INCREASED 3.4 PERCENT IN 2018

More Boats on the Water after Tolls Waived on System for Second Consecutive Year; Hire Boats Show Big Increase

ALBANY—The New York State Canal Corporation today announced that motorized pleasure boat traffic on the state Canal System increased 3.4 percent over last year as more boaters took advantage of tolls being waived on the system for the second consecutive year.

Motorized pleasure boats—the most-common vessels on the canals—were recorded traveling through Canal System locks and lift bridges 71,463 times during the 2018 navigation season that began May 15 and ended Oct. 10, compared to 68,928 lockings in 2017. Lockings are up 9 percent compared to the same period in 2016, the last year tolls were imposed, when 65,281 recreational vessels locked through.

 “We are thrilled that more people are experiencing New York’s canals and all they have to offer,” said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corporation director. “With 524 miles of waterways to explore, our Canal System provides unparalleled recreational opportunities and is becoming a magnet for tourism.”

The figures account for each time a boat goes through a lock or under a lift bridge, not the actual number of boats. If a boat travels through several locks, it would be counted as locking through each time. The numbers also do not account for boaters who only travel locally and do not go through a lock. A large percentage of boating traffic falls into this category.

New York waived tolls for recreational vessels in 2017 to celebrate the Erie Canal bicentennial and did so again this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the Barge Canal, now known as the New York State Canal System. It includes the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca canals.

A decision on tolls for 2019 will be made by the end of the year. In the past, the Canal Corporation has charged $25-$100 for a season pass; the exact amount depends on the size of the vessel.

The Canal System also saw a 21 percent increase in hire boats leased by private companies for three to seven nights, so vacationers can leisurely explore the canal corridor. A hire boat on display this year at the new Exposition Center at the Great New York State Fair drew thousands of visitors.

“There is no better way to spend free time than boating in upstate New York, and some of the best boating is on the historic New York State Canal System,” said Gabe Capobianchi, Empire State Marine Trades Association president.

“It’s great to see recreational use of the system on the rise and it’s an indication that more people are discovering the joys of boating and the wonderful resource that the Canal System is to New York State.”

Link to Website

The Hudson River Comprehensive Restoration Plan

The Hudson River Comprehensive Restoration Plan

Hudson RiverNet
News from the Hudson River Estuary Program

The Hudson River Comprehensive Restoration Plan for the Hudson River estuary was completed in August by a group of more than 30 organizations in consultation with state and federal agencies. The plan details the current conditions of the Hudson River estuary, identifies potential restoration sites, and recognizes the needs that must be addressed in the coming decades to restore the river and prepare for future conditions

New York State Gears Up to Host Fifth Annual Invasive Species Awareness Week

New York State Gears Up to Host Fifth Annual Invasive Species Awareness Week

The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture & Markets are encouraging partners to get involved in raising public awareness about invasive species during Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) from July 8-14. ISAW is an annual campaign to provide New Yorkers with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to protect the State's lands and waters from the negative impacts of invasive pests. This year's theme is "What YOU can do to help stop the spread.

2018-19 Executive & Legislative Budget Proposals

On Friday, March 30, 2018, Governor Cuomo announced a final agreement on the 2018-19 State
Budget. The final agreement was $168.3 billion in state spending for the coming fiscal year in an
agreement that includes disparate issues such as reforming the state’s sexual harassment policies
fee on ride hailing vehicles and yellow cabs in Manhattan to help fund mass transit, opioid
stewardship program and education funding.
This was an EARLY budget due to a self-imposed deadline of being completed by the weekend,
when most, if not all lawmakers had hoped to leave the Capitol to observe Passover and Easter.
The state’s fiscal year begins April 1.
Some specifics include:
 State Operating Funds spending is $100.1 billion - for the eighth consecutive year,
holding growth to 2 percent (State Operating Funds exclude Federal funds and capital).
 All Funds spending $168.3 billion for FY 2019.
 Protects New Yorkers from negative federal tax implications with new state tax code.
 Continues the phase-in of the $4.2 billion Middle Class Tax Cut to deliver relief to six
million New Yorkers - saving households $250 on average and $700 annually when fully
effective.
 Increases Education Aid by approximately $1 billion (3.9 percent), to a record total of
$26.7 billion for the 2018-19 school year and a 36 percent increase since 2012.
 Requires school districts to provide information on how they allocate funding to schools
in order to increase transparency.
 $25 million to expand prekindergarten and after school programs.
 Implements the nation's most aggressive program to combat sexual harassment.
 Extends the storage timeline for forensic rape kits from 30 days to 20 years.
 Institutes landmark protections to ensure New York's elections remain free from outside
influence and cyberattacks.
 Provides historic new $250 million investment to NYCHA to deliver quality living
conditions to tenants and implements new oversight measures by statute and executive
order.
 Includes design/build legislation to expedite the construction of new jails to replace the
Rikers Island Jail Complex, the reconstruction of the BQE and NYCHA projects.
 Provides $7.6 billion in State support for higher education in New York - an increase of
$1.5 billion or 25 percent since FY 2012.
 Invests $118 million to continue the successful Excelsior Scholarship.
 Includes $1.2 billion for strategic programs to make college more affordable and
encourage the best and brightest students to build their future in New York.
 Establishes a first-in- the-nation opioid stewardship payment on manufacturers and
distributors of opioids to fund the fight against the opioid epidemic.
 Fully funds the Subway Action Plan - provides that New York City will fund half of $836
million plan in order to make immediate repairs to improve subway performance and
maintenance.

 Enacts $2.75 surcharge on for-hire vehicles south of 96th Street in Manhattan to help
ease congestion and establish long-term funding stream for New York City public
transportation.
 Expands the current New York City Bus Camera program, expands the time of day such
camera program may operate and directs the installation of at least 50 new traffic
monitoring cameras to enforce bus lane violations that impede mass transit service and
create congestion.

State Response to Federal Tax Changes

Expands Charitable Contributions to Benefit New Yorkers
The FY 2019 Budget creates two new state-operated Charitable Contribution Funds to accept
donations for the purposes of improving health care and education in New York. Taxpayers who
itemize deductions may claim these charitable contributions as deductions on their Federal and
State tax returns. Any taxpayer making a donation may also claim a State tax credit equal to 85
percent of the donation amount for the tax year after the donation is made. In addition, the
legislation authorizes school districts and other local governments to create charitable funds.
Donations to these funds would provide a reduction in local property taxes (via a local credit)
equal to a percentage of the donation.
Creates Alternative Employer Compensation Expense Program
. Under the FY 2019 Budget employers would be able to opt-in to a new ECEP structure.
Employers that opt-in would be subject to a 5 percent tax on all annual payroll expenses in
excess of $40,000 per employee, phased in over three years beginning on January 1, 2019. The
progressive personal income tax system would remain in place, and a new tax credit
corresponding in value to the ECEP would cut the personal income tax on wages and ensure that
State filers subject to the ECEP would not experience a decline in take-home pay.
Decouples from Federal Tax Code
The FY 2019 Budget decouples the state tax code from the federal tax code, where necessary, to
avoid more than $1.5 billion in State tax increases brought solely by increases in federal taxes.
Continue the Phase-In of the Middle Class Tax Cut
The Budget supports the phase-in of the middle class tax cuts. In 2018, average savings will total
$250 and, when fully effective, six million New Yorkers will save an average of $700 annually.
Once fully phased in, the new rates will be the lowest in more than 70 years - dropping from 6.45
to 5.5 percent for incomes ranging from $40,000 - $150,000 and 6.65 to 6 percent for incomes
ranging from $150,000 - $300,000. The new lower tax rates will save middle class New Yorkers
$4.2 billion, annually, by 2025.
Grow County-Wide Shared Services Initiative to Deliver Savings for Taxpayers
New York State will build on progress to reduce local property taxes for millions of New
Yorkers and take the next step forward to provide local governments with new tools to put
money back in the pockets of middle-class families. The FY 2019 Budget includes $225 million

to fund the State's match of savings from shared services actions included in property tax savings
plans. The Budget also continues the county-wide shared services panels for another three years
and amends a statutory hurdle that prevented localities from sharing some specific services.
Create a Voluntary Retirement Savings Program
The Budget authorizes the New York State Secure Choice Savings Program - a voluntary-
enrollment payroll deduction IRA for employees of private employers that do not already offer
retirement savings plans. This program will give millions of New Yorkers who currently have no
access to an employer-provided retirement plan the opportunity to save for retirement, all while
alleviating the burdens on participating New York employers of creating and sponsoring a
retirement plan on their own. Participation is voluntary for businesses and employees.
Continue the Local Property Tax Relief Credit
The Property Tax Credit, enacted in 2015, will provide an average reduction of $380 in local
property taxes to 2.6 million homeowners this year alone. By 2019, the program will provide an
additional $1.3 billion in property tax relief and an average credit of $530.

Economic Development

Establish $175 Million Workforce Initiative
The FY 2019 Budget establishes a new approach for workforce investments that would support
strategic regional efforts to meet businesses' short-term workforce needs, improve regional talent
pipelines, expand apprenticeships, and address the long-term needs of expanding
industries—with a particular focus on emerging fields with growing demand for jobs like clean
energy and technology. Funds will also support efforts to improve the economic security of
women, youth, and other populations that face significant barriers to career advancement.
Regional Economic Development Councils
In 2011, the State established 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) to
develop long-term regional strategic economic development plans. The Budget includes core
capital and tax-credit funding that will be combined with a wide range of existing agency
programs for an eighth round of REDC awards totaling $750 million.
Next Round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant
communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise
families. The FY 2019 Budget provides $100 million for the Downtown Revitalization Program
Round III.

Reauthorize MWBE Program legislation and expand the MWBE program to all State-funded
contracts
The Enacted Budget extends the MWBE Program, which is due to expire this year, for one year.

Election Security
Increase Transparency of Online Political Advertisements
The FY 2019 Budget expands New York State's definition of political communication to include
paid internet and digital advertisements, requires digital platforms to maintain a file of all
political advertisements purchased by a person or group for publication on the platform and
requires online platforms confirm that foreign individuals and entities are not purchasing
political advertisements in order to influence the American electorate.
Election Infrastructure to Defend Against Cyberattacks
The FY 2019 Budget includes $5 million to implement a four-pronged strategy to further
strengthen cyber protections for New York's election infrastructure: create an Election Support
Center, develop an Election Cyber Security Toolkit, provide cyber risk vulnerability assessments
for State and County Boards of Elections, and require County Boards of Elections to report data
breaches to State authorities.

Education

The FY 2019 Budget reflects the state's strong commitment to education equity through a $1
billion annual increase in Education Aid - 3.9 percent growth - to a record total of $26.7 billion
for the 2018-19 school year and a 36 percent increase since 2012.
Require Transparency in Education Spending
New York State spends more money per pupil than any state in the nation, and the FY 2019
Budget includes new provisions to require funding transparency. Under the budget agreement,
for the 2018-19 school year, 76 large school districts that receive significant state aid shall report
school level funding allocation data to the public, SED and DOB.
Expand Community Schools
The FY 2019 Budget increases funding for community schools by $50 million, to a total of $200
million. This increased funding is targeted to districts with struggling schools and/or districts
experiencing significant growth in homeless pupils or English language learners. In addition, the
Budget increases the minimum community schools funding amount from $10,000 to $75,000.
Promote the First 1,000 Days of Life
The Budget supports the development of a new initiative to expand access to services and
improve health outcomes for young children covered by Medicaid and their families. Studies
show that the basic structure of the brain is developed within the first 1,000 days of life.
Expand Access to Prekindergarten
The Budget includes an additional $15 million investment in prekindergarten to expand high-
quality half-day and full-day prekindergarten instruction for 3,000 three- and four-year- old
children.

Continue the Empire State After School Program
The FY 2019 Budget provides $10 million to fund a second round of Empire State After School
awards. These funds will provide an additional 6,250 students with public after school care in
high-need communities across the State. Funding will be targeted to districts with high rates of
childhood homelessness.
Grow Early College High Schools
To build upon the success of the existing programs, the Budget commits an additional $9 million
to create 15 new early college high school programs. This expansion will target communities
with low graduation or college access rates, and will align new schools with in-demand
industries.

Housing
Targeted Assistance for the Elderly and Disabled Veterans
The final budget creates two housing programs that are designed to assist the elderly and
disabled veterans with home repairs or modifications to help them stay in their homes and
improve safety and health conditions. These programs will be funded by the state and
administered by not-for- profits, cities, towns and villages (if they chose to participate).

Labor
Expand the New York Youth Jobs Program
The enacted budget expands the New York Youth Jobs program that encourages businesses to
hire unemployed, disadvantaged youth, ages 16 to 24, with a focus on the following cities and
towns: Albany, Buffalo, New York, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse, Mount Vernon, New
Rochelle, Utica, White Plains, Yonkers, Brookhaven and Hempstead.
The enacted budget increases the credit amounts by 50 percent, from $500 to $750 per month for
up to the first six months, and from $2,000 to $3,000 for each employee who is employed for
additional time periods after six months with a maximum full time hire credit of $7,500.
Extend the Hire a Vet Tax Credit for two years
The enacted budget extends by two years the tax credits provided for hiring veterans, through tax
year 2020.
Pay Raise Compensation Committee for State Officials
The Budget establishes a compensation committee to evaluate and make compensation
recommendations for members of the State Legislature, statewide elected officials, and various
state commissioners.
The committee consists of the Chief Judge of the State of New York, the Comptroller of the
State of New York, the Chairman of the State University of New York Board of Trustees, the

Comptroller for the City of New York, and the Chairman of the City University of New York
Board of Trustees.
The process - the committee must meet within the state and must hold at least one hearing at
which the public will be afforded an opportunity to provide comments. The committee shall
submit a report by December 10, 2018 to the Governor and the Legislature of its findings and
recommendations.
Any findings and recommendations in the report must be adopted by a majority vote of the
committee. Each member of the committee shall report their vote and describe their reasoning
for their determination. The committee determination shall be in effect on January 1, 2019,
unless subsequent State law supersedes such determination.

Public Health

Expanding Control Substance List
The enacted budget includes the addition of different chemical compositions to the state's
controlled substances list. Some of these compounds are already listed on the federal schedule of
controlled substances but are only banned in certain New York State counties. This action
ensures manufactures and sellers in all New York's counties are subject to the same criminal
penalties.
Establishment of an Opioid Stewardship Act
The enacted budget created a $100 million Opioid Stewardship Fund that pharmaceutical
manufacturers and wholesalers would pay into under language in the budget bill pertaining to
health and mental hygiene.
The payments are calculated from a revenue-based formula to one based on the amount of
morphine milligram equivalents. Sales of buprenorphine, methadone or morphine opioids
typically used in medication-assisted treatment or palliative care are exempt.
Payers would be prohibited from passing on the cost to the end user, or risk a $1,000 per day
fine. The fund is dedicated to programs operated or authorized by the Office of Alcoholism and
Substance Abuse Services, or to help support the prescription drug monitoring program.
Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Ombudsman
The enacted budget includes the establishment of an office of the independent substance use
disorder and mental health ombudsman program that will be operated or selected by the office of
alcoholism and substance abuse services, in consultation with the office of mental health for the
purpose of assisting individuals with a substance use disorder and/or mental illness to ensure that
they receive appropriate health insurance coverage.
The ombudsman will identify, investigate, refer and resolve complaints that are made by, or on
behalf of, consumers relative to health insurance coverage and access to initial and continuing
substance use disorder care and mental health care; accept, investigate, refer and help to resolve

complaints that are made by treatment providers relative to health insurance coverage of and
reimbursement for initial or continuing substance use disorder and mental health care; accept,
investigate, refer and help to resolve complaints that are made by or on behalf of consumers or
by providers relative to network adequacy for access to and continuing substance use disorder
and mental health care.

Veterans
Expand Programs for Incarcerated Veterans
The enacted budget expands programs currently available to incarcerated veterans and offers the
programs in Maximum Security Facilities for the first time. DOCCS will hire additional
Licensed Master Social Workers, as well as a coordinator, and purchase a new professionally
designed veteran specific curriculum that will broaden the scope of issues addressed, including
conflict reduction and posttraumatic stress disorder and other relevant topics.
Counsel Access for Veterans through Law School Partnerships
In 2017, New York State’s Justice for Heroes grants were established, awarding $50,000 to each
of five law schools offering innovative proposals to address veterans’ unmet legal needs. The
funding allows law schools to provide free legal assistance to veterans and their family members
in practice areas, including foreclosure prevention and other consumer protection matters, family
law assistance, discharge upgrade cases, and complex appeals regarding VA benefits. This
budget proposal will continue the Justice

Workplace Harassment

The Budget includes nation-leading, multi-pronged legislation to combat sexual harassment in
the workplace:
 Require all state contractors to submit an affirmation that they have a sexual harassment
policy and that they have trained all of their employees.
 Prohibit employers from using a mandatory arbitration provision in an employment
contract in relation to sexual harassment.
 Require officers and employees of the state or of any public entity to reimburse the state
for any state or public payment made upon a judgement of intentional wrongdoing related
to sexual harassment.
 Ensure that nondisclosure agreements can only be used when the condition of
confidentiality is the explicit preference of the victim
 Establish a model sexual harassment policy, in consultation with the Department of
Labor and Division of Human Rights, for employers to adopt or use to establish a similar
policy that meets or exceeds the minimum standards of the model policy

 Amend the law to protect contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants or others
providing services in the workplace from sexual harassment in the workplace