Financial Issues Loom as a New Legislative Session Begins

January 8, 2020 at 9:05 am Leave a comment

Good morning!

This is actually one of my favorite days of the year. It is a cross between the first day of school and the first day of spring training for Met fans. So many possibilities, so much hope… so much room for disappointment.

The Governor gives his annual State of the State address today, and given the amount of information that has already been leaked about the presentation, it’s fair to say that financial empowerment is going to be a prominent theme in 2020. Most notably, it appears that Governor Cuomo is going to propose funding the state level CDFI fund. To put this in perspective, more than a decade ago, the legislature enacted a legal framework for a state-level fund to aid in community development financial institutions. Significantly, several credit unions in New York State are CDFIs, but the designation is not limited to traditional financial institutions.

Ever since the framework was created, however, the fund has been nothing more than an outline as it has never actually received funding. Frankly, I have never understood why this is the case, since I’ve never met anyone who opposes the idea. Now, it appears that the Governor’s high level of support at the start of the budget season may actually bring about some action, with $25 million being committed to the fund over a five year period. It is a start.

The Governor’s initiative is part of an effort to “increase access to safe, affordable bank accounts and small-dollar loans in underserved low-income communities across the State.”

Again, this is opening day. We won’t know until the press release gets translated into legislative proposals precisely what will be undertaken or its impact on credit unions.

Meet the New Boss

This is always the time of year when committee memberships get shifted around. One change worth noting is the announcement that Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti of the Westchester area will be the new Banks Chair. He replaces Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, who has sponsored our municipal deposit legislation in the past. We will of course be reaching out to Assemblyman Zebrowski to discuss the Association’s priorities.

…Speaking of new bosses, Central New York Assemblyman Will Barclay has been named the new leader of the Assembly Republican Conference. The position has waned in recent years as the Assembly is comprised of just 42 Republicans, giving the Assembly Democrats the ability to override vetoes without Republican support. Still, the Minority Leader has a high-profile bully pulpit. In addition, Republicans can delay passage of bills by forcing debate on proposed legislation. In the past, the Assemblyman has been a sharp critic of credit unions.

Entry filed under: Advocacy, New York State, Political. Tags: , , , , , .

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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., Senior Vice President, General Counsel, New York Credit Union Association.

The views Henry expresses are Henry’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Association. In addition, although Henry strives to give his readers useful and accurate information on a broad range of subjects, many of which involve legal disputes, his views are not a substitute for legal advise from retained counsel.

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