On January 13, 2016 Governor Cuomo gave his 2016 State of the State and Executive Budget Address where he discussed the proposed fiscal 2017 budget and its impact on New York State. While his address touched upon various agencies and industries, we’ve outlined below some of his major nonprofit proposals.
School aid continues to be the largest State-supported program, comprising 29% of the general fund budget. The Governor’s proposed budget calls for a total $2.1 billion increase (for a total spending limit of approximately $24 billion) in education aid over the next two years, with a $991 million increase in fiscal 2017. Included in the education proposals are:
- A complete restoration of the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) by fiscal 2018, including a $189 million commitment during fiscal 2017.
- A $22 million investment to expand high quality half-day and full-day prekindergarten programs to three year olds in the highest need school districts. This builds upon the first investment in this program made in fiscal 2016.
- $75 million to continue the turn-around efforts in failing schools and $25 million for other high-needs school districts without a failing or persistently failing school. These funds can be used for community school coordinators, before and after school mentoring services, summer learning activities, health and dental care referrals, and other strategies to maximize student achievement.
- $27 million in increased funding to charter schools so they can continue to innovate, recruit high-quality teachers and staff, and provide a strong educational option for student and families.
The governor’s proposed actions for the mental hygiene agencies include enhancing community mental health services, improving State operated inpatient services, investing in behavioral health providers systems to help avoid more costly inpatient services, enhancing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, improving the investigatory process for abuse and neglect complaints, placing cost controls on state agency operations, and maximizing payments from third parties. The governor’s proposed budget allocates a total of $8.2 billion in fiscal 2017 to implement the following changes aimed at accomplishing these goals:
- $120 million to be spent on new service opportunities for individuals currently living at home or residential schools. Services will be based on OPWDD’s person-centered processes, which include individualized needs assessment. This level of funding will support up to 6,000 new or expanded opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.
- During fiscal 2017 OPWDD will receive $15 million to support the development of affordable housing, which will ensure the availability of safe and accessible residential opportunities for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
- $15 million to expand START (Systematic Therapeutic Assessment, Respite and Treatment) programs. START is a crisis and prevention response model focused on ensuring effective treatment and reducing dependency on higher levels of service. It was initially implemented in 2014 in two geographic regions.
- $24 million to continue to transition individuals from developmental centers and intermediate care facilities to more integrated, community based support systems.
- Invest $16 million to expand community services based on regional needs.
- Provide $50 million to continue residential projects, including 1,200 units expected to open during fiscal 2017.
- A total of $141 million (a $6 million increase) will be allocated to combatting the growing heroin and opiate epidemic. These funds will help support prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.
- $7 million in new Medicaid rate enhancements to stabilize providers as they transition to managed care, including providers that operate free standing inpatient alcohol rehabilitation, residential rehabilitation for youth, and residential detox and outpatient services.
Mahnaz Cavalluzzi, CPA
Mahnaz has been a member of Cerini & Associates’ audit and consulting practice area for over 8 years where she focuses on serving nonprofit organizations, education, and healthcare clientele. Mahnaz has experience in financial statement audits, financial statement reviews, tax return preparation, cost report filing, and other consulting. Mahnaz brings her expertise, diversified background, and helpful approach to all of her engagements.