AlLBANY — State lawmakers will provide $40 million in state money to ensure New Yorkers are ready for next year’s census, sources told the Daily News Wednesday.
The funds, to be included in the state budget, will go towards education and outreach targeting immigrants and low-income residents to make sure they are aware of the how the Census works and the consequences of an undercount.
Immigration advocates have pushed Gov. Cuomo to use state money for community-based Census outreach as both the Assembly and Senate included the funds in their one-house budgets.
“Considering that New York could lose billions in federal funding and representation in Congress from a census undercount, reports that state leaders will include $40 million in the budget to ensure a full and fair count would be the deal of the decade," said Steve Choi, the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition and facilitator of the New York Counts 2020 coalition. "We will keep fighting until the final budget is passed but thank the Assembly and Senate for stepping up to fill the void after the Governor did not include any funds in his proposed spending plan. We are glad to see New York is on the verge of backing up its pro-immigrant rhetoric with concrete action.”
One source close to the talks told The News that legislative leaders and Cuomo came to an agreement earlier Wednesday as they discussed details of the budget, which is due at the end of the month.
Last year, Cuomo and legislative leaders set up a 16-member Complete Count Commission to prepare the state for the 2020 count. However, the governor did not include any funding for outreach in his budget proposal. Aides in recent months have repeatedly said, without offering specifics, that funds would be made available.
The proposal for $40 million originated with the labor-backed Fiscal Policy Institute, which released a report in October focusing on communities where there are “hard to count” people who may be wary of the process or just ignore the census altogether.
Mayor de Blasio said earlier this year that the city would allocate $4.3 million towards a similar public awareness campaign dubbed “Get Counted NYC."