On April 3, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced the passage of the FY2021 New York State Enacted Budget. The budget includes $177 billion in total funding, down $1 billion from the governor’s original proposal. The budget will likely face significant alterations if revenues fall below projections. A likely scenario since the budget contains broad authority for the director of the budget to develop a plan for up to $10 billion in additional cuts due to economic hardships created by COVID-19. COVID-19 impacted the budget in other ways as many priority issues were left out of the budget such as the legalization of adult-use marijuana and protection for gig economy workers. Full details of the budget are available here.
For those who operate commercial vehicles in the New York City metro area, a key budget provision you need to be aware of is increased penalties for commercial vehicles on New York State Parkways and over-height vehicles in New York City. As we know, due to reliance on GPS (even commercial) as well as drivers unfamiliar with local roads and laws, bridge strikes as well as commercial vehicles on parkways have been increasing. The new budget expands the number of fine structure categories for commercial vehicles that access New York State parkways based on vehicle weight. Current law provides for a fine structure for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of no more than 26,000 pounds and a higher fine structure for vehicles with a GVWR of over 26,000 pounds. The enacted language adjusts the fine structure into three tiers as follows:
- Commercial motor vehicles with a GVWR of fewer than 10,000 pounds. (No change in fine structure)
- First offense: up to $250
- A second offense within 18 months: up to $500
- Third offense within 18 months: up to $750
- Commercial motor vehicles with a GVWR of between 10,000 pounds and 26,000 pounds:
- First offense: up to $350
- A second offense within 18 months: up to $700
- Third offense within 18 months: up to $1,000
- Commercial motor vehicles with a GVWR over 26,000 pounds:
- First offense: up to $750 (previously $350)
- A second offense within 18 months: up to $1,500 (previously $700)
- Third offense within 18 months: up to $2,000 (previously $1,000)
New fine structure for operating vehicles that are over height in all five boroughs of New York City:
- First offense: up to $1,000
- Second offense: up to $2,000
- Provides for the ability to suspend the vehicle registration for a period of up to one year. This is consistent with other provisions related to violating size and weight requirements within New York City.
The new fines go into effect on October 1, 2020. Also, after October 1, 2020, every employer is required to provide its employees with sick leave. Depending on the size of the employer and their net income, that leave may be paid or unpaid. The minimum requirements are:
- Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of unpaid sick leave each year.
- Employers with 5-99 employees and employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave each year.
- Employers with 100 or more employees will provide at least 7 days of paid sick leave each year.
Meanwhile, New York City is preparing for billions in lost revenue with massive budget cuts. The City is slashing $1.3 billion across the board but more is expected to be cut when Mayor de Blasio releases his budget proposal on April 23. The currently announced cuts include:
- $46 million from Fair Fares
- $124 million from summer youth employment programs
- $264 million from the Department of Education
- $256 million from health and social services
- $24 million from the Department of Transportation
- $80 million from Department of Sanitation ($58 million is due to a surplus)
In addition to budget cuts, the City will need to raise revenue. Typically, they do that with excessive tickets, fines, and fees. Given the devastation brought on by COVID-19 that cannot be allowed in 2020 and 2021!