July 1, 2020
NYS Council members,
In the wake of recent primary elections around the country that resulted in some key losses for Republicans coupled with a significant increase in new COVID-19 cases in states around the country, lawmakers in Washington are now discussing (in earnest) the contours of a new stimulus bill deal. This is hopeful news.
Here in New York this week we were required to deliver bad news to our members regarding an approximate 20% reduction (the state is calling it a ‘withhold’) of funds in Q3 State Aid Letters going to the counties. We also told members that the state is framing this action as a ‘cash management’ strategy and state agency leads are hoping these funds will be restored upon receipt of federal assistance. But at the end of the day, providers will still feel this budget action as a cut and there is no guarantee that the counties will be made whole, so we do not plan to mince words in our advocacy going forward.
It is important to note that the budget action being taken this week does not rise to the level of a ‘formal budget amendment’ that would require the Governor to give notice to members of the NYS legislature of his intention to amend the budget and then give lawmakers 10 days to make a counter-proposal (language that was included in the recently enacted state budget).
We are currently moving forward with advocacy designed to: 1) inform lawmakers of what is happening and compel them to speak out against this budget action to include countering the Governor’s proposal with ideas for raising revenue for the state, and 2) follow this initial advocacy with statewide media stories that depict the damage that will occur as result of this new budget action while we simultaneously and very publicly implore lawmakers in Washington to immediately deliver federal assistance to New York State.
I know many of you will be unavailable tomorrow morning for our weekly NYS Council Provider Support Call so we will cancel the meeting tomorrow morning and send you a calendar invite for a combined Provider Support Call and Policy Update call early next week.
Having said this, I’ll be working for the remainder of the week so if you want to talk this over please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience. I’m at 518 461-8200 whenever you need me.