Infrastructure, Jobs & Eviction Help Highlight Westchester’s NYS 2022 Priorites

White Plains, NY — County Executive George Latimer and the Board of Legislators on Friday will deliver the 2022 Westchester County Joint State Legislative Package to Westchester’s representatives in the State Senate and Assembly.  The package is a list of state actions that the County Executive and the Board are asking lawmakers in Albany to approve to help County residents and taxpayers. The package will be delivered at a 1 p.m. Legislation Committee meeting with Westchester’s State representatives.

This year's requests include measures that will expand job opportunities for Westchester residents, ensure that tenants facing eviction have access to legal representation, expand access to child care, increase help for domestic violence survivors, and bring in more state and federal money for essential infrastructure improvements in Westchester.

Among the package's top priorities are:

  • Support the Passage of a Statewide Right to Counsel Bill
    • Develop and fund program providing right to counsel for evictions on a statewide basis
  • Support the Expansion of Downstate Casino Licenses
    • MGM’s request for Empire City Casino to become a fully licensed casino would generate significant revenue for Westchester County. It will also be a significant vehicle for job creation.
  • Support the Governor's Executive Budget Increase for the Income Threshold for Child Care Subsidy Programs
    • The current State threshold for families seeking support through the Child Care Subsidy Program is 200% of the federal poverty level. The cost of living and median income in Westchester exempt many needy families from this support. In her Executive Budget, Governor Hochul increased this threshold to 300% of the federal poverty level. Westchester supports this move.
  • Urge Governor Hochul to Set Aside Emergency Funding to Address Cuts to New York’s Essential Victims’ Services
    • FY21 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding is $140M less than FY18. Cuts of 10-15% have been proposed for FY22-23. We urge Governor Hochul to use emergency funding processes to dedicate a portion of the state’s surplus to address these cuts or ARPA funding to maintain services at current levels for next two-year cycle
  • Request Funding for Federal Infrastructure Projects
    • Following federal approval of the Build Back Better Infrastructure Plan, Westchester County requests support in delivering infrastructure improvements for its residents. 
      • Glen Island Bridge Replacement: $58M
      • Central Park Avenue: $19M
      • Boston Post Road Bridge over Playland Parkway: $10.15M
      • Lake Isle Dam Repairs: $58M

County Executive George Latimer said, “Government best serves the people we are elected to represent when we work in unison to advocate and make progress for our community as a whole. This joint legislative package is our County level of government working together with our State level of government to enact positive change. We look forward to working with our Sate representatives to see this legislation come to fruition.”

Board Chairwoman Catherine Borgia (D-Briarcliff Manor, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill) said, "The items in our state wish list are things that all of us in County government agree are important.  From increasing the income threshold for child care subsidy programs to support for the right to counsel in eviction cases, these are items that will provide for the essential needs of the people of Westchester. We are also joining to urge the Governor to set aside emergency funding for services for domestic violence survivors and others, to make up for substantial cuts over the last two funding cycles under the federal Victims of Crime Act. I'm proud that we have a strong working relationship with our state legislative delegation and Governor Hochul, and look forward to working with them to advance these important priorities."

Majority Leader Christopher Johnson (D-Yonkers) said, "From the expansion of downstate casino licenses, to support for right to counsel legislation in eviction cases, to increasing the income eligibility limits for rent exemption programs for seniors and people with disabilities, the priorities in this package will strengthen our communities by providing help for people who need it. "

Legislation Committee Chair Colin Smith (D-Cortlandt, Peekskill,Yorktown) said, "I thank my colleagues on the Board and the County Executive and his staff for their diligent, cooperative work in putting together this list of the County’s priorities. I'm particularly gratified to share our support for changes recommended by our Police Reform & Reimagining Task Force to create more and more diverse hiring opportunities for County public safety personnel. I’m also pleased we’re supporting enhanced protections for corrections officers who are sexually touched or assaulted on the job, as well as protection for children under 18 – ensuring that they consult with an attorney before they can be subjected to interrogation by law enforcement.”

Read the full 2022 Westchester County Joint State Legislative Package here: