Ulster County’s cuts to nonprofit funding likely to be seen elsewhere in New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at press conference.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at press conference. Mike Groll / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Legislators in Ulster County have pushed forward a plan that would eliminate government funding for four nonprofits and reduce spending to many other organizations the county contracts with, according to the Daily Freeman

The cuts hit a wide range of organizations, including a museum, a mental health services nonprofit and an arts center – and amid major budget shortfalls at the state and local level, it is likely to be a trend replicated statewide. 

New York state government has already stopped approving any new nonprofit contracts and delayed payment for existing contractors in the face of a multibillion-dollar budget gap. The state’s financial crunch has further hurt cities and towns that are already struggling, like the 12 cities hampered by the governor’s budget office withholding of $74 million in local aid. 

Funding for nonprofits has also been threatened in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio initially proposed about $400 million in budget cuts in April, which included the elimination of many summer youth programs that have threatened programming offered by many local organizations. But with the city’s budget deadline looming this week, the City Council and mayor are negotiating terms that could lessen the severity of those cuts. City Council leadership has supported a plan to defund the NYPD by $1 billion, which could be reallocated toward social services and youth programs. Still, the bad news is likely to keep coming for many nonprofits. Discretionary funding given to council members to allocate to local nonprofits, for example, may also be at risk of cuts.

Much of New York’s financial problems can also be attributed to a dearth of federal aid given to offset much of expenses. But Senate Republicans have resisted pushing forward any proposals that would ease states’ burdens – putting New York’s financial future in jeopardy.