Enact the Healthy Schools Act (A8642) Improve nutritional standards for food in our schools. Eliminate junk food and expand the school breakfast mandate. Increase funding for school meals.
Increase Funding for Emergency Food Programs. HPNAP is now funded at $28,640,000 for fiscal year 2007-2008. We support a four year effort to add an additional $7 million per year staring with fiscal year 2008-2009. More funding is also needed for nutrition programs targeting the elderly and for WIC.
Community Food Security Project. A02502 would provide grants for local projects that increase the availability of culturally acceptable, affordable, nutritionally adequate food, from local sources whenever possible; develop linkages between local farmers and communities served by the projects; and support job development, training, and entrepreneurship
Raise the welfare grant. Increase the non-shelter portion of the public assistance grant from $291 to $475 for a family of three to reflect increases in the cost of living since the last adjustment in 1990. Increase Fuel For Heating Allowances to account for inflationary increases since the last adjustments in 1987. Establishing a commission to investigate the adequacy of all public assistance allowances and to recommend mechanisms to provide for annual cost adjustments.
Other welfare and income security issues.
Raise the Earned Income Disregard for public assistance participants. All earned income should be disregarded until a family’s income is equal to the federal poverty guidelines for its family size. Above that point, 50% of income should be disregarded until families reach 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. Childless public assistance recipients should be given the same earned income disregard as households with children.
Expand Access to Education and training. New York State should allow people receiving welfare access to the full range of education and training programs they need to compete for good jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage. This includes participation in adult literacy, English for Speakers of Other Languages, and high school equivalency classes, 2 and 4-year college, and other vocational training programs.
Reform Unemployment Insurance. Increase the maximum benefit, increase benefits at the bottom of the income distribution and establish dependent allowances.
Create Living Wage Jobs for All. This includes establishing the Empire State Jobs Program, creating a publicly funded transitional jobs program, primarily for individuals transitioning from welfare to work.
Public jobs. New York State should invest at least $500 million in public jobs creation, including constructing affordable housing. The state should enact policies that target government subsidized job openings to low-income households. For example, “corporate subsidies” and public contracts should be tied to the hiring of public assistance participants and other low-income New Yorkers to fill entry-level positions.
Build NY Task Force on Construction Jobs. A task force of community-based and labor stakeholders should be established to create strategies and set policy goals to ensure that unemployed and low-income people are prepared for and can gain access to good, permanent jobs in the construction industry: especially via an improved employment and training infrastructure of outreach, pre-apprenticeship programs, accountable apprenticeship monitoring and hiring compliance protocols, and on-the-job troubleshooting to improve new worker retention. The recently approved $2.9 billion Transportation Bond Act and the $14 billion of federal transportation money to New York should include substantial increases in funding for outreach and pre-apprenticeship programs, and a minimum of 15% of labor hours for apprentices and new workers with the new construction projects.
Economic Development Accountability. New York State should ensure that corporate subsidies and tax credits result in the creation of jobs in New York State, promote the hiring of New York State residents and ensure that the jobs created are distributed throughout the state. The expiring state law governing local Industrial Development Agencies (Art. 18A General Municipal Law) should be amended to establish job performance standards; stronger reporting requirements; recoupment of subsidies from companies that fail to meet the agreed upon job creation and retention standards; and greater local control.
Improve Expedited Food Stamps. Change the time frame for issuance to the next business day after application. Improve monitoring of local DSS performance to ensure that all eligible individuals receive expedited food stamps
Universal Health Care.
Single payer health care. Universal health care system to provide quality, comprehensive health care service to all New Yorker. The most common sense solution is a single payer financing system, similar to Medicare for All. This system, used by almost all of the other industrial countries, eliminates the huge waste and paperwork of the private health insurance system. A07354
Expand enrollment in public programs like Medicaid. HANNYS supports the agenda of Medicaid Matters NY, including: ES2 endorses the positions of Medicaid Matter NY, including: Expand adult eligibility to the current SCHIP eligibility level, so we have parity across age groups and marital/parental status; Eliminate the requirement of a face-to-face interview as part of the Medicaid application process; Allow “passive” renewal on a biannual basis; Eliminate the asset test in Medicaid and FHP; Increase Medicaid reimbursement rates to a level that would halt physician rejection of Medicaid patients.
Reduce Insurance Administrative Costs and Profits. Private insurance has an extremely negative impact upon health care costs and delivery of services. As a short term step, NY should require prior approval of insurance premium increases. State laws and regulations governing care-share (hitherto called “medical loss ratio” in statute and regulations) need to be strengthened and enforced.
Ban Gifts to physicians by drug companies. Gifts by the pharmaceutical industry are distorting medical decision making and raising costs by giving preference to medicines that may be quite expensive. State legislation in Minnesota has prohibited such gifts over the value of $50. Also A7468.
Mental Health Parity. The provisions of Timothy’s Law for coverage to mental health illnesses should be expanded to the state’s FHP and CHP programs.
Expand Bulk Purchasing of Prescription drugs. New York should seek additional financial savings through expansion of the bulk purchasing on prescription drugs. In addition, the eligibility criteria for New York State's pharmaceutical assistance program (EPIC) should be expanded, to allow New Yorkers with severe disabilities who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and meet the program's income requirements to participate.
Children Environmental Health Centers: $2.05 Million in funding is needed. To stem the tide of the chronic disease epidemic in our children, New York should establish a statewide, regionalized children’s environmental health system of four to six centers of excellence.
Support Increased Resources for School-Based Health Care Centers. The Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) allocates a total of $10.5 million for SBHCs for core clinical services including primary and preventative health care, mental health services and health education and promotion. This funding should be increased by $5 million. Reimbursement should be extended to Social Work Psychotherapy; mental health services for underserved students is critical.
NYS should commit $13 billion over the next ten years to create and preserve 220,000 units of affordable housing.
NYS should establish, as part of this effort, an Affordable, Accessible Workforce Housing Trust funded at $550 million per year to build multi-family and supportive housing, rehabilitate one-to-three family homes, make accessibility adaptations in private residences and apartments, support infrastructure investments, and provide incentives to promote local affordable housing investment and accommodate people with disabilities, including senior citizens.
NYS should fully fund its commitment to develop and maintain community based supportive housing under the New York / New York III agreement, and set aside $125 million per year from the Trust to fund additional capital costs for integrated supportive housing development for homeless individuals and families, those at risk, and households that include adults or children with disabilities.
NYS should amend the Disability Rent Increase Exemption statute to increase the income limit to the same level as applies in the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program, and to accommodate all veterans with 100 percent disability ratings.
NYS should repeal the Urstadt Law of 1971 which prevents NYC from creating more stringent rent and eviction protections.
Mortgage default. Provide $10 million in state funding for foreclosure prevention/default counseling and legal services to help preserve homeownership Create a $100 million state-wide home retention loan rescue product that allows the significant number of New Yorkers who will not be eligible to benefit the federal “Keep the Dream” program to access funds to re-negotiate their mortgages,
Fiscal and Government Reform
Promote Tax Fairness. Poor New Yorkers should not pay twice as much of their income in local and state taxes as the wealthy. Nor should moderate income families pay the same tax rate as Donald Trump. We need to raise the top income tax rates for the wealthiest New Yorkers; close corporate tax loopholes, especially those that benefit multii-state companies; and reclaim the hundreds of millions in dollars in unclaimed bottle bill deposits.
Public Campaign Finance Reform. Support Clean Money Clean Election to reduce the influence of special interests.
Same Day Voter Registration. Make it easier for low-income New Yorkers and tenants to exercise their right to vote.