NYS FY19-20 Budget Flat-Funds Library Aid, Rolls-back Library Construction Aid

This year’s NYS Budget process came to completion around 7am on Monday Morning (April 1, 2019), with the Governor & Lt. Governor getting a resolution passed which would provide them each with a pay raise.

This year’s process was the most difficult, opaque, and contentious in recent memory. Concerns over budget shortfalls and the inaccuracy of future revenue projections cast an increasingly long shadow over negotiations, and the legislature wasn’t able to hold together on many of their priorities. This is a “Governor’s budget” and I have no doubt that will be the theme as the product is dissected in the coming days.

Despite this complex political atmosphere and several setbacks along the way, your sustained and effective advocacy efforts secured the following hard-won victories:

State Library Aid: $96.6M
As you know, Governor Cuomo proposed a $5M cut in Library Aid in this year’s Executive Budget. The FY2019-20 enacted budget rejected this proposed cut – total State Library Aid will be $96.6M.

State Public Library Construction Aid: $14M
The Governor proposed a $20M cut in capital funding – from $34M back to $14M. Despite the efforts of thousands of library advocates, this cut was the first time in the Governor’s last nine proposed cuts we were unable to repel - these funds were not reinstated in the final product. Language in the Assembly’s one-house budget that would have amended the program to provide for a 90/10 matching category as well as making the program permanent in law was not included.

2020 Census Efforts
The budget includes $20m 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. We will have more information on this as it becomes available.

Targeted Aid
The budget includes $15m in targeted aid to school districts, public libraries, and not-for-profit institutions, divided equally between the Senate, Assembly, and Governor. NYLA will disseminate information on how to apply for this aid in the coming weeks.

Midyear 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 $500m. This language is not in the budget.

Governor Cuomo’s January 2019 Executive Budget cut New York’s core library aid programs, and marked his ninth consecutive budget in which he proposed to defund the State Library Aid program. We worked together successfully to not only turn back each of the Governor’s proposed cuts, but to achieve record funding for library programs in New York State.

Despite reversing the Governor’s cut to the State Library Aid program, his $20m cut to the Public Library Construction Aid program was left in place – one of many programs that succumbed to the Governor’s crass, zero-sum political gamesmanship.

This year was a disappointment. And if you’re like me, you’re feeling something beyond disappointment – frustration, and anger. It has been extremely difficult to harness those emotions walking the Capitol’s hallways since Monday morning.

The budget process is long, grinding, and difficult. Without our partners in the legislature, we would have lost tens of millions in funding during the Cuomo years. They have fought for us before, and we need them to fight for us in the future. Please click this link to send a note of appreciation to our partners in the legislature for their efforts on our behalf.

Click HERE to send your message!

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