Assemblymember Marcos A. Crespo outlines NYS’ 2019-20 Budget
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ASSEMBLYMAN MARCOS A. CRESPO
Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo announced that
he helped pass a $175.5 billion 2019-20 state budget that
builds on the historic progress that’s already been
made this year and stays true to the Assembly Majority’s
commitment to putting families fi rst.
Here are the highlights by category:
Increasing Fairness In
Our Criminal Justice System
The 2019-20 state budget includes sweeping criminal
justice reforms to ensure New York treats all defendants
fairly and equally.
Under the legislation, a cash bail option will be retained
for sex offense misdemeanors and most violent
felony offenses, excluding felonies classifi ed as “violent”
but which do not actually have a violent component,
such as second-degree robbery or burglary.
Additionally, the legislation will require police offi
cers to issue desk appearance tickets in lieu of making
a custodial arrest for most misdemeanors and
Class E felonies. Further, the court will be required
to consider the defendant’s fi nancial resources, ability
to post bail without undue hardship and set at least
three alternative bail or bond methods.
The budget also secures: reforming the discovery
process, ensuring the right to a speedy trial and advo-
cating for fairness and equality.
The budget also works to protect immigrants from
automatic deportation by lowering the maximum sentence
for those charged with Class A misdemeanors
from 365 to 364 days. The one-day sentence reduction
avoids triggering deportation proceedings, which
happen with a sentence of one year or longer.
The 2019-20 state budget continues the Assembly’s
commitment to expanding opportunity for our youngest
New Yorkers by increasing funding for public
schools by $1 billion over last year and putting a college
degree within reach for more students.
The state budget provides a total of $27.8 billion in
education funding, an increase of $1 billion – or 3.7
percent – over last year. This includes a $618 million
increase in Foundation Aid for a total of $18.4 billion.
The budget also rejects the executive’s proposal to require
certain districts to distribute a percentage of
their Foundation Aid increase to specifi c schools and
instead requires those districts to report to the commissioner
of education on how they are prioritizing
underfunded high-need schools. Further, $30 million
of uncollected lottery winnings is earmarked for public
schools, and districts are authorized to create a reserve
fund to fi nance contributions to the New York
State Teachers’ Retirement System. And to help more
kids get started on the right foot, the spending plan
also includes a $15 million increase in funding for
grants for prekindergarten, for a total of $822 million.
The plan also rejects the executive proposal to consolidate
11 expense-based aids, including BOCES aid,
special services aid and transportation aid, and allows
them to be reimbursed at their present levels.
To ensure local school districts can adopt teacher
and principal evaluation systems best suited to their
students’ needs, the budget includes legislation removing
the mandate that state-created or administered
assessments be used for evaluations.
Opening Doors to Higher Education
The budget continues the Excelsior Scholarship,
which was established in 2017 and makes SUNY and
CUNY schools tuition-free for eligible New Yorkers.
The income eligibility threshold increases this year
to $125,000. Students who attend a private college
in New York and have a family income of less than
$125,000 this year would also be eligible for a scholarship
award of $6,000.
Strengthening Public and Community Colleges
The 2019-20 state budget also invests in SUNY and
CUNY schools, as well as community colleges across
An unexpected budget defi cit undoubtedly
posed some challenges, but we didn’t let that
stand in the way of crafting a budget that
truly delivers for New Yorkers.
Marcos A. Crespo
Continued on page 71