Governor’s Budget Proposal Leaves Nursing Home Residents, Struggling Utility Customers, Caregivers by Wayside
ALBANY, N.Y. – AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement in response to Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2022-23 Executive Budget proposal:
“With the pandemic still on the move, the oldest and most vulnerable among us need protection – with nursing home residents at the front of the line. But the Governor’s budget proposal does nothing to strengthen the badly underfunded independent watchdog for nursing home residents, the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP).
“AARP New York and other organizations will urge state lawmakers to add $20 million to the final budget due April 1 for the LTCOP program – as we had called on the Governor to do – as well as $1 billion from federal American Recovery Act money to help make struggling utility customers whole.
“The executive budget leaves more than a million New Yorkers who’ve fallen behind on their utility bills no way out and no hope by failing to extend the moratorium on power shutoffs – as proposed by Senate Energy Committee Chair Kevin Parker (S7668) – until a policy can be developed.
“Despite nearly a quarter of New York voters 50 and over skipping prescriptions mainly due to cost, the Governor proposed little action in her budget to cut prescription drug costs. We will urge state legislators to include in the final budget a minor change in a State-run program to drive more federal Medicare funding and help over 100,000 seniors afford their medications.
“The Governor’s budget proposal missed a great opportunity to begin addressing the home care shortage in New York. Older New Yorkers want to stay in their homes as long as possible, and family caregivers need support to help them do so, but that’s impossible without adequately-paid aides to provide home care services. Legislation to increase home care aides’ pay sponsored by Senate Aging Committee Chair Rachel May and Assembly Health Committee Chair Dick Gottfried (S5374A/A6329A) should be included in the final state budget.
“These are critical issues for New York’s growing 50-plus population, and AARP New York is disappointed that in this rare year when funding is available the Governor did not prioritize older New Yorkers. That includes no tax credit for family caregivers, who spend over $7,200 on average out of their own pockets every year to provide unpaid care valued at over $31 billion annually across New York (as detailed in legislation sponsored by Senator May and Assembly Aging Committee Chair Ron Kim (S620/A6932), despite a raft of other proposed tax credits.
“We do again thank the Governor for positive proposals to support New York’s 50-plus, including:
- A proposed Master Plan for Aging;
- Expanding safe, regulated ‘in-law apartments’ – including $85 million in her budget proposal for development of such accessory dwelling units;
- $2.9 million to combat social isolation by connecting more older New Yorkers with friends, family, and other supports;
- A program to expand elder abuse and financial exploitation prevention programs in up to 10 counties;
- $150 million to build out IT infrastructure and telehealth capabilities, and;
- $50 million of new annual funding to support the Nourish NY program.
“We look forward to working with her and the Legislature on a final state budget that adequately addresses the needs of the fastest-growing segment of New York’s population: the 50-plus.”
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.