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New York Assembly Speaker Says Budget Talks Will Continue As 'Normal'

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
Karen DeWitt
New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he expects state budget negotiations to continue as “normal,” despite his decision to authorize an impeachment inquiry of Governor Andrew Cuomo over allegations from multiple women of sexual harassment, and a nursing home scandal.

Heastie said he will announce later in the week the Assembly’s choice of an outside law firm to aid the Judiciary Committee in carrying out the impeachment probe. But he said he expects budget talks between the legislature and the governor to go on as planned.

“People still elected us to do our jobs,” said Heastie who said the “biggest thing” right now is settling on a budget. “It still has to be done no matter what is occurring here in the Capitol.”

The Assembly and the state Senate are proposing $7 billion dollars in new taxes on the wealthy, including several new, higher income tax brackets, a capital gains surcharge and a higher inheritance tax on large estates.

Heastie said the Legislature’s unity on the proposal sends a “clear message” to the governor, who supports a much smaller tax increase on the rich.

Cuomo backs one temporary higher income tax bracket for New Yorkers making over $5 million dollars a year.

Both houses hold a supermajority, which would enable them to potentially override a governor’s veto if there’s disagreement over a plan.

Heastie said he has not spoken to Cuomo since his house’s decision to begin the impeachment probe. But he said the two did exchange text messages about the new categories of vaccine eligibility that open up this week.

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.