The Marine Industry Revitalization Advisory Council would seek to boost an industry in need of skilled workers and water quality advocates.
"At Governor Cuomo's direction, New York is leading one of the nation's most comprehensive programs to address the threat of destructive invasive species," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "This proposed plan will help our state and local partners more effectively prevent, detect, and respond to invasive species."
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Reauthorize MWBE Program legislation and expand the MWBE program to all State-funded
The Enacted Budget extends the MWBE Program, which is due to expire this year, for one year.
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.
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
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
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
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).
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
The Budget includes nation-leading, multi-pronged legislation to combat sexual harassment in
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
It’s no surprise that the industries that produce the most goods or services and keep the economy humming often receive favorable attention from legislators in Washington. Now with the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) February announcement that the outdoor recreation industry’s 2016 annual gross output is 2 percent ($373.7 billion) of the US gross domestic product (GDP), Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) believes boaters stand to gain from the news.
By Thomas J. Prohaska | Published March 2, 2018 | Updated March 2, 2018
More water has been let out of Lake Ontario than this time last year. But local emergency management officials still expect high water levels in coming months and are preparing for flooding along the shorelines in Niagara and Orleans counties.
"It's not going up as much as it was last year, but it's still going up," Jonathan F. Schultz, Niagara County emergency management director, said of the lake's water level.
Local officials, who are keeping a close eye on the lake's water level, still seethe about last spring's flooding that wreaked so much damage along eroded shorelines. They said the International Joint Commission, which regulates the lake's water level, waited too long to react.
Niagara County Legislator John Syracuse calls last year's floods "a government-caused disaster."
The commission calls it unlikely that last spring's combination of exceptional rainfall, snowmelt and rising inflows from Lake Erie will happen again this spring.
Still, the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board is letting far more water out than in 2017 and has been more active in adjusting the flow in recent months. The board, a subsidiary of the International Joint Commission, adjusts how much water can leave the lake past the dams at Massena to flow to the St. Lawrence River and from there to the Atlantic Ocean.
The board has adjusted the outflow 33 times since Jan. 1. By comparison, the board did so only 10 times in the first two months of 2017.
On Wednesday, the flow increased to 2.38 million gallons per second, the highest rate of the year. A year ago, the late-winter peak was 1.97 million gallons per second. The board last year didn't open the spigots as wide as they are now until May 17.
This year's outflows have not increased because of last year's criticism, said Frank Bevacqua, a spokesman for the International Joint Commission.
"The levels are higher than they were last year, so the plan is trying to discharge large amounts of water," he said.
Regulating Lake Ontario's water level
Water outflows increased on more days and in higher amounts the past two months than in the same period last year.
Note: Millions of gallons of water per second allowed to flow out of Lake Ontario from Jan. 20 to Feb. 28 in 2017 and 2018
The Buffalo News » Source: International Joint Commission-St. Lawrence River Board
REGULATING LAKE ONTARIO'S WATER LEVEL
Waters are a little higher than they were last year at this time.
The lake is two inches higher than it was in late February 2017, and it's a foot above the long-term average for this time of year, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers figures. The Corps forecasts Lake Ontario waters will rise two more inches in the next month, based on precipitation levels.
Ice conditions in the St. Lawrence are more conducive this year to allowing faster flows out of the lake, with the water running under stable surface ice, Bevacqua said. Last year, there was a risk of major ice jamming if the lake had emptied faster, he said.
But the water flowing into the lake last week, from precipitation and through the Niagara River and other streams, exceeded the managed outflows by 270,000 gallons every second, the IJC's website reported.
As of Jan. 1, the lake was 3.7 feet lower than its peak at the end of May, the fastest drop ever recorded. But it started to rise again because of rain and snow in January, causing the IJC to order the fastest outflows ever for the season.
"While Lake Ontario remains well above average, historically, winter water levels have not provided an accurate indicator of the peak later in spring," the IJC said in a recent news release. "Hydrologic conditions have a much greater influence, and while impossible to predict, it is unlikely that last spring's combination of exceptional rainfall, snowmelt and rapidly rising inflows from Lake Erie will all repeat themselves and lead to extremely high water levels again this year. Nonetheless, extreme conditions may occur in any given year, and when they do, the risk of extreme water levels cannot be substantially reduced through regulation of outflows."
Also, the agency balances problems on the New York shore with conditions in and around Montreal.
Last year, there was significant flooding in low-lying neighborhoods in and around Montreal, and right now, Lake St. Louis, near Montreal, is near capacity, Bevacqua said. Water levels in Montreal Harbor are above average, too.
"At some point in the future, it's guaranteed there will be another flood," Bevacqua said.
He didn't make a prediction about this year.
Schultz, the emergency management director in Niagara County, is preparing for the worst. The county already has stockpiled about 6,000 filled sandbags in the Newfane Highway Department garage, ready to be stacked where needed.
The county can draw on state stockpiles of equipment, ranging from pumps to sandbag-filling machines, stored in Hamburg or in Monroe County. Equipment can be on the scene in Niagara County within 12 hours of a request, Schultz said.
Orleans County Legislator Lynne M. Johnson blames the International Joint Commission's water-level control policy for Lake Ontario, called Plan 2014, for last year's flooding.
"With the lake levels being as they are, we're looking ahead to another devastating spring and summer because of Plan 2014," Johnson said.
The commission blamed the weather.
"Last year, we had record rainfall in May, the second-highest ever in April," said Bevacqua, the commission spokesman.
There would have been flooding even under the old water-level policy, he said.
Lakeshore counties declared states of emergency last spring. Piers became submerged at Wilson and Olcott harbors.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo followed up with a state disaster declaration and mobilized state agencies to speed up permits for property owners to make repairs and install new protective structures in the lake.
But local officials were bitter last spring about what they saw as bureaucratic dawdling that led to months of high water and hundreds of water-damaged properties from Youngstown to Oswego.
“It takes five to seven days to drop our level one inch. It’s too late,” Niagara County Legislator David E. Godfrey said at the April 20 news conference to announce the county's state of emergency.
"They should have done it sooner," said Anthony W. McKenna, an Olcott resident and professional engineer who once served on a study committee for the IJC. Eventually, outflows were raised to 2.75 million gallons a second on June 14, and that figure wasn't changed until Aug. 8.
"Since its inception, I have warned that Plan 2014 would have devastating impacts on our shoreline property owners. This past year confirms my concerns and makes clear that we need to get rid of Plan 2014 and implement a permanent solution for shoreline residents and business owners," Rep. Chris Collins said.
The U.S. and Canada each have three IJC seats. The American side has two members appointed by President Barack Obama - Lana Pollack of Michigan and Rich Moy of Montana - and one vacancy.
Collins and county lawmakers want President Trump to clean house at the commission because of Plan 2014 and the floods of 2017.
Collins said he is working with the Trump administration to bring in three new commissioners because of what he called "the failure in leadership of the IJC."