New York lawmakers are set to approve a $163 billion state budget. Here is a breakdown of some of the key items included — and important ones omitted:
Pathway to free public college tuition
A combination of state tuition assistance and federal aid to help students from families with incomes less than $125,000 annually to attend state college “tuition free.” Requires the colleges themselves to cover some costs, and doesn’t cover room, board and fees.
SUNY tuition hikes
Increased by $200 a year for 3 years. Currently, $6,470.
Tax break for New York City real estate developers.
Revival of oft-criticized program. Developers must set aside certain numbers of affordable units.
Extended for two more years to bring in more than $2 billion a year; a surcharge on New Yorkers who earn over $1 million a year.
About $2.5 billion to help homeowners, including those on Long Island, fix aging septic systems at up to half the cost and pay for other projects statewide, such as replacing pipes.
Raising the age of criminal responsibility
Diverts the vast majority of 16- and 17-year-old nonviolent offenders to family or youth courts, rather than adult criminal courts.
New York Racing Association privatization.
Returns the organization [which runs horse racing at Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga] to private control; under state oversight since 2012 because of financial problems.
Film production tax credits
Extended until 2022. Costs $420 million per year — largest state incentive in U.S.
Ride-hailing services such as Lyft, Uber
Authorized throughout the state. Counties with 100,000 or more residents can opt out.
Regional economic development councils
Another $750 million for regional projects with input from local political, business and higher education leaders. Effectiveness has been debated.
Union dues deduction
Allows members of public and private-sector unions to deduct their dues from state income taxes. Major benefit for organized labor.
Raid of State University of New York foundation funds
Won’t be used to help pay for tuition-aid increase.
Countywide referendum on “shared services”
Counties and municipalities will have to put together plans on ways to share costs and services, such as snow plowing, to save money. Public hearings mandated. Importantly, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal to force local governments to hold a referendum on the plans was eliminated.
Extension of “mayoral control” of New York City schools
Expires June 30. Will have to be addressed in second half of legislative session.
There are no provisions to eliminate loopholes on corporate contributions that played a role in a slew of recent scandals.
Collection of sales taxes for online purchases
Legislators rejected Cuomo proposal to collect taxes on internet transactions.