March 8, 2021
Last month we sent an earlier version of the document (attached) to all members for use during your meetings with local lawmakers and other decision-makers. Attached please find a slightly updated NYS Council Budget Priorities document that should help you advocate for the priorities at the top of your list as budget negotiations here in Albany take on increased momentum.
Where We Are Today:
- As of today, the chairs of the various legislative committees have forwarded their ‘Chair Letter’ to their leader, identifying their top priorities within the areas for which they have responsibility.
- Last week legislative leaders agreed on a ‘revenue’ figure – the amount the state anticipates collecting in tax revenues in the coming budget year that will fund the base budget AND (perhaps) provide something of a cushion of available resources lawmakers can spend on their budget priorities that may have been cut or underfunded in the executive budget proposal.
- This week committee chairs will be briefing their majority conferences on the budget priorities by sector that will be included in their one-house budget bills. One house budget bills, while aspirational, often depict the negotiating positions of the Assembly and Senate Majorities and (sometimes) the minority parties will put out their own positions/priorities as well.
Now is the time to get on the phone and speak with your local lawmakers about the priorities discussed in our document. Please use it as a ‘cheat sheet’ as you continue your discussions, and share it if you think it would be helpful to do so. In all of your conversations, please remind your lawmakers that there will be new resources coming in to New York as result of several recent COVID Relief bills that include new funds appropriated through SAMHSA for NYS. There are two federal block grants that assist OASAS and OMH with resources to enhance mental health and substance use disorder programs and services Lawmakers should be vigilant and stay informed regarding any/all block grant increases meant for our (NY) systems of care. We must all work to ensure these funds stay within the systems of care for which they are meant, and that they are not used to supplant state funding.
Any questions? Please reach out to me at 518 461-8200 at your convenience.