Listed below is the exact language in the budget that defers the Human Services COLA. Many of us are supportive of the Governor’s social justice agenda especially when it comes to the impact for the mental health community: Parity, Mental Health Education, Reinvestment, and Bail Reform will be life changing for many individuals. However, the elimination in the budget of the COLA is incredibly impactful to the not for profit agencies, that have been without funding increases for years. Many of these individuals are the engineers of the social justice train. Without them, vulnerable people would be in the community without a safety net, support or the possibility of recovery.
As we know, words are cheap but actions are not. I know that the entire human services community speaks with one voice in decrying the elimination of the COLA. We intend on creating a lot of activities (as already reflected this week by the behavioral health advocates press conference Monday and the Strong Non Profit Bake Sale on Tuesday) designed to add the human service COLA before the end of budget season. Please stay tuned as we continue our advocacy strategy.
We heard that thousands of you called earlier this week. That is the kind of support and action that will make this change happen.
23 Section 1. Subdivisions 3-b and 3-c of section 1 of part C of chapter
24 57 of the laws of 2006, relating to establishing a cost of living
25 adjustment for designated human services programs, as amended by section
01/13/19 230 12571-01-9
1 1 of part AA of chapter 57 of the laws of 2018, are amended to read as
3 3-b. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law, beginning
4 April 1, 2009 and ending March 31, 2016 and beginning April 1, 2017 and
5 ending March 31,  2020, the commissioners shall not include a COLA
6 for the purpose of establishing rates of payments, contracts or any
7 other form of reimbursement[, provided that the commissioners of the
8 office for people with developmental disabilities, the office of mental
9 health, and the office of alcoholism and substance abuse services shall
10 not include a COLA beginning April 1, 2017 and ending March 31, 2019].
11 3-c. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law, beginning
12 April 1,  2020 and ending March 31,  2023, the commissioners
13 shall develop the COLA under this section using the actual U.S. consumer
14 price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) published by the United
15 States department of labor, bureau of labor statistics for the twelve
16 month period ending in July of the budget year prior to such state
17 fiscal year, for the purpose of establishing rates of payments,
18 contracts or any other form of reimbursement.
19 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall be deemed to
20 have been in full force and effect on and after April 1, 2019; provided,
21 however, that the amendments to section 1 of part C of chapter 57 of the
22 laws of 2006 made by section one of this act shall not affect the repeal
23 of such section and shall be deemed repealed therewith.