Monday, January 23, 2017

This week in Albany

This Week in Albany

Week ending January 20, 2017

Trump Takes Office
Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on Friday, while Mike Pence became the 48th Vice President.
President Trump’s speech focused on the promises he made during the campaign, including his promise that America will get better for everyone.
Executive Budget Released
Governor Cuomo released his $152.3 billion State budget proposal this week.
Major proposals in the budget include:
  • Governor Cuomo has reintroduced a proposal that would increase health insurance costs for future state retirees. Under the proposed plan, State contributions to the costs of health insurance premiums for retirees would be reduced for state employees that retiree on or after October 1, 2017. The proposal would create a tiered system of State contributions based on years of service and pay grade. CSEA fought to defeat this proposal last year and will do the same this year.
  • The Governor’s budget ignores the needs of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). The proposed budget fails to invest in needed services, including CSEA’s care pilot programs, and puts even more stress on a workforce that already works the most overtime out of any state agency.
  • The budget also continues to reduce services in the Office of Mental Health by calling for the closure of an additional 140 beds across the state. There are currently no details as to where these beds will be taken down.
  • The Governor has proposed a local government consolidation scheme that would require every County Executive or County Manager outside of New York City to prepare a plan for consolidating and eliminating services, which will be put to voters in the November 2017 election. CSEA will continue to oppose the Governor’s attempts to force the consolidation of local government services.
  • Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding for local governments will be held flat, as it has been since 2011-12.
  • The Executive Budget would extend the Millionaire’s Tax for an additional three years, but would raise the income threshold to $2,155,350 from the current $2 million. The proposal would keep in place the “middle class” tax cuts agreed to in the 2016-17 budget.
CSEA President Danny Donohue’s statement on the budget proposal can be read here.

CSEA will be testifying at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Workforce Development on Wednesday, January 25. That testimony, along with an in-depth summary, will be made available on the Legislative & Political Action Department’s website next week. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
Depew Dissolution Vote
This week, voters in the Erie County Village of Depew voted against the dissolution of their village by nearly a three to one margin. Similar efforts in the Villages of Medina and Brockport have also been defeated in Western New York in recent years.
Time and again voters have shown that they value the services provided by their local governments and have rejected dissolution and consolidation efforts.
2017 School Property Tax Cap Announced
State Comptroller DiNapoli announced that the property tax cap for school districts will be 1.26% for the next school year. While this is a slight increase from last year, the tax cap continues to hurt the ability of local governments to provide the services that are demanded by the public.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Local 828 Donates to Area Veterans

For the second year the generosity of our Local came through with the delivery of shoes, socks, scarves, gloves, candy and more for the Rochester Veterans Transition Center (RVTC).  These items will be used as stocking stuffers to give out to Veterans who have been down on their luck and need a helping hand.  This year we engaged the retirees who are part of a knitting circle who worked tirelessly to make sure the Veterans were taken care of…a special thank you to Cris Zaffuto for leading the charge.    The RVTC is a federally funded program that provides necessary life-saving services for Veterans in the Rochester and Monroe County area.
Louis, Angela and Kathy - Photos by Bess Watts
Gifts were overflowing
Kathy, Angela and Bess 
Big props go to Local 828 Women's Committee Chair Angela Muscianese for her organizing efforts and to Kathy Begemann & Local President Bess Watts for their assistance in delivering the gifts and provisions.  A special shout out to the Public Defenders Office for going above and beyond with their donations.  

The generosity of CSEA members (and retirees) never ceases to amaze. And a big THANK YOU to all our generous units for making this effort a huge success!   
Angela-Chair of the Local Women's Committee

Saturday, December 10, 2016

This week in Albany

This Week in Albany

Week ending December 9, 2016

Economic Development
This week, Governor Cuomo announced over $700 million in “economic development” funding that will be distributed as part of the annual Regional Economic Development Council process.
While the State continues to spend billions on programs with a questionable return on investment, CSEA will continue to fight to ensure that New York properly funds the services that our communities depend on.
At a Glance
The State Senate and Assembly have been discussing the possibility of holding a special session next week to address a number of issues, including possibly the first pay raise for legislators since 1999. Governor Cuomo has publicly released a list of reforms he would like to see taken up if the legislature does hold a special session, but no session has been officially called yet.
Federal Update
Congress has been working to reach an agreement on a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until April 28. The bill generally maintains current government funding, with additions including $872 million for healthcare measures and $170 million to deal with water contamination issues.
At the time of this writing, the bill had passed the House but faced a potential roadb
lock in the Senate. Several Senate Democrats have said that they will not vote for the bill unless it contains a longer-term extension of healthcare and retirement benefits for miners whose benefit fund is running out of money.
Current funding for the government expires on Saturday.
In other federal news, President-elect Donald Trump announced Andrew Puzder as his choice for secretary of Labor. Puzder, who is the CEO of a fast-food company that includes Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., has a long record of opposing provisions to help workers. Puzder is skeptical of raising the minimum wage, opposes the Obama administration’s efforts to expand eligibility for overtime pay, has criticized paid sick leave policies, and supports increased automation in his industry.
Constitutional Convention Poll
Please take a moment of your time to answer our quick poll regarding a state constitutional convention.
Click here to take the poll. It will only take a minute.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Student Loan Debt Relief Clinic

ATTENTION Rochester, NY/Monroe County residents: There will be a Student Loan Debt Relief Clinic on Saturday, December 10 in the Kate Gleason Auditorium of the Central Library - 9:30 -- 12. It is open to the public and free.   Please click on the link below for Registration Information. or contact
Mildred Garcia at 518-257-1411 or