In consultation with our colleagues at NYAPRS and in reviewing the Governor’s Executive Budget briefing book, this is our ‘top of the trees’ look at the proposed budget.
Earlier today the Governor made a strong case as to why New York should receive $15 billion from the federal government for COVID related costs as well as a proposed plan to eliminate the SALT tax. He referenced that the budget will have two different contexts. One in which New York receives $6 billion in federal support (which he said would be a disaster to New York) and one in which New York received the full $15 billion which would make the budget whole and restore proposed cuts while continuing expansion of various projects.
We will begin to shortly know how the federal discussion will play out. The Governor has threatened to sue the federal government if we do not receive the full $15 billion in funding.
The budget narrative has come out but the Article VII bills that clarify and amends existing state law, have not yet come out. We will get a better sense of the budget after the bills are proposed which will likely happen later today.
Regarding the mental health budget in the budget narrative, what we do know is:
- The 20% withholds for non-residential service that have been taken from counties and providers since July 1 would convert into a a permanent 5% cut on April 1. The caveat being that if there is full funding of $15 billion from the Feds then there will be no permanent cut. The question remains what happens to the 20% withholds that have occurred since July 1. Do they become permanent or will they be restored? We are still seeking clarification on that important question.
- As announced in the State of the State, the Governor’s budget includes a section dedicated to maximizing the movement to telehealth in health care including behavioral health. The proposal would continue the telephonic delivery of care and make it easier for clinicians and individuals to access telehealth as well as allow for establishment of interstate licensure and allow Peers and CASACS to help deliver care through telehealth in OASAS settings.
- $20 million of unspent housing funding from last year is included for housing in this year’s budget. As you can recall, the Bring it Home Campaign last year led the way for an additional $20 million in the budget to help pay for supporting existing residential programs. This year’s funding will be utilized to begin to make the payments to housing providers for this increase.
Minimum Wage Increase
- Funding was included in the Executive budget to leverage $38.5 million to support minimum wage increases in OMH, OASAS and OPWDD staff at non-profits. This is a long time priority for MHANYS but we still need clarification on exactly what ‘leverage’ means in this situation
- Crisis Stabilization Centers—We await the final budget language to detail how much funding has been allocated for this new initiative between John Hopkins and OMH.
Office of Addictions and Mental Health Services
- Office of Addictions and Mental Health Services (name change from Office of Behavioral Health). Still looking to see how much savings has been built into this new proposed agency.
- $9.7 million was included in the budget to transition residents of adult homes into community settings. This has long been a MHANYS priority and we will continue to support and monitor the success rate of people moving into community settings.
Rockland Children’s PC
- Convert Rockland Children’s PC into a Comprehensive Children’s Center—Do not yet know details on this initiative
There will be other initiatives in the coming days but wanted to make sure that people were informed of some of the top budget issues