The New York State Budget was finalized on time with mixed results for libraries despite an impressive showing by library advocates to make our case.
The legislature rejected the Governor's proposed cut to library aid, holding the line at the funding level we have been at for some time: $96.6 million. In unfortunate news, the legislature followed the Governor's lead and carried through on a cut to State Aid for Library Construction, slashing that budget line by $20 million (60%).
The New York Library Association has noted that this cut to the Construction Aid program was the first time in the Governor's last nine proposed cuts we were unable to repel. Language in the Assembly's one-house budget that would have amended the State Aid for Library Construction program to provide for a 90/10 matching category, as well as
making a reduced match option in the program permanent in law, were not included.
In other budget news:
2020 Census Efforts
The budget includes $20 million for complete count efforts, with efforts by "public libraries" noted in the appropriation language. These funds will be administered by the Empire State Development Corporation. The New York Library Association has promised to provide more information on this as it becomes available.
The budget includes $15 million targeted aid to school districts, public libraries, and not-for-profit institutions, divided equally between the Senate, Assembly, and Governor. Informal requests for these funds from your legislators are encouraged as there is no formal request form or application. Details on this action have been provided to member library directors in the April DA packet.
Mid-year Budget Adjustments
The Governor's Executive Budget proposed vesting unilateral authority to make midyear budget adjustments in the Executive, up to 3% if revenue shortfalls exceeded $500 million. This language is not in the final budget.
(above) Assemblymember Did Barrett met with MHLS Executive Director, Rebekkah Smith Aldrich and more than a dozen MHLS advocates on February 27th to talk about the importance of funding NYS libraries.
We would like to thank our regional advocates, statewide allies and the New York Library Association
for their leadership in this year's budget advocacy work. The budget outcome this year makes it clear: we have work to do! In the coming year we will be looking for help throughout our system to make new connections with our more recently elected state legislators and providing help to educate more advocates and ambassadors in our region. Stay tuned!