Nine days into the start of a new state fiscal year, New York State has a budget. After working through the weekend of April 1st and 2nd, the Governor and Legislature agreed to a budget extender that would have covered state fiscal operations through the end of May. While the Governor appeared content to delay the full budget for two months, the Legislature went to work the following Monday and began passing regular budget bills midweek. (See the attached table)
Among the first of the bills to be passed was the Education, Labor and Family Assistance (ELFA) Article VII bill which, among other things allocates funds from “off budget” sources including what are known as the excess reserves of the SONYMA Mortgage Insurance Fund (MIF). The ELFA provides $22.960 million to fund the Rural Rental Assistance Program, an amount thought to be sufficient to cover all existing contracts. ELFA Article VII also provides funding from the MIF to support the Rural and Neighborhood Preservation Programs at the levels recommended by Governor Cuomo in the executive budget. RPC is funded at $3.539 million, a cut of $200,000 from last year’s funding levels. Unless NYSHCR intervenes administratively, the budget is expected to result in reduction in annual RPC contracts of about $3,400. The ELFA Article VII fails to provide the increase that Rural Advocates had called for the NYS Rural Housing Coalition providing just $150K for the Coalition’s important training and TA programs.
The Legislature also included $1 million for the Mobile and Manufactured Home Replacement Program in the ELFA Article VII which will supplement another $13 million over five years to come from the capital programs bill discussed below.
In a departure from long standing policy of using the Mortgage Insurance Funds only to support related housing programs, the final agreement resulted in $12.5 million of MIF funding to go to “municipal relief” for the City of Albany.
A Capital Projects Bill was agreed to late last week and was voted on by the Senate over the weekend. The bill finally resulted in an agreement on spending details for a Governor Cuomo’s $2 billion plus housing capital plan. After almost two years of back and forth, the agreement on the five year plan will cover the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 fiscal years and looks very much like what the Governor had proposed as an MOU in September of 2016. In their one house budget resolution, the Assembly had proposed a fairly dramatic overhaul of the plan in order to provide the New York City Housing Authority with a $400 million increase over the $100 million in the Cuomo proposal. The final plan provided NYCHA with an allocation of $200 million by reducing the allocations of funding for new construction, rehab and preservation of multi family housing through the Housing Trust Fund. Advocates were pleased to see that the final agreement also provided language detailing process, reporting and other administrative details for how this massive investment was to be managed. In the fall of 2016 Rural Advocates had formally called for the inclusion of such details in the final agreement, and although the executive budget did not address the issue, the final agreement did.
The Capital Projects budget held other programs of interest to Rural Advocates at the levels proposed by Governor Cuomo. Traditional Access to Home is funded at $1 million; HOPE/RESTORE is scheduled to receive $1.4 million and the NY Main Street program is again provided with $4.2 million. The Affordable Housing Corporation is funded at $26 million.
The $10 million that Rural Advocates and other had called for to support to continued mortgage foreclosure services was not included in the budget as an agreement had been reached for the Attorney General to continue to operate foreclosure prevention services using settlement funds on hand through March of 2018. Additional funding will be needed to cover the 2018/2019 State fiscal years.
Watch for more details of the state budget as well as information on federal budget issues at the Rural Advocates blog https://ruraladvocates.wordpress.com/