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New York begins the week without a state budget

The New York Capitol Building in Albany
Hans Pennink
The New York Capitol building in Albany

New York begins the week without a state budget. The spending plan was due this past Friday, but Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Legislature failed to come to an agreement.

With paychecks for 62,000 state employees due on Wednesday, there’s talk of the Senate and Assembly passing a short term spending extender to meet the state Comptroller’s deadline of 4 p.m. Monday in order to process payroll.

The biggest sticking point remains Governor Hochul’s proposed changes to the 2019 criminal justice reforms that ended cash bail for most crimes. Hochul wants to make some gun related crimes once again eligible for bail, and amend changes to the state’s discovery laws that permit defendants to see, in a timely manner, any evidence against them in order to prepare their defense. The governor also wants to make it easier to mandate that mentally ill New Yorkers be hospitalized or receive outpatient treatments.

Legislative leaders who championed the bail reform laws as a way to treat Black and Brown New Yorkers more equitably in the criminal justice system, have been reluctant to make changes.

Hochul, speaking virtually to the Federation of Italian American Organizations of Brooklyn, where she received the "Woman of the Year" award, alluded to the budget standoff.

“We have been really working so hard for a budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers, but I am putting a special emphasis on protecting New Yorkers,” Hochul said. “And that is one of the reasons why we are a little bit overdue on the budget timetable.”

Hochul, who has not answered questions on the budget talks, promised that she would have an announcement on a budget agreement “soon.”

Other items that continue to be debated include requiring the home health care workers be paid one-and-a-half times the minimum wage, enacting universal child care, suspending taxes on gasoline and allowing restaurants to offer alcoholic drinks along with takeout food.

The Senate and Assembly, after taking a long weekend off, planned to hold private party conference meetings to discuss all of the outstanding issues, then return to the Capitol for session mid-afternoon Monday.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.