New York lawmakers pass $229B budget a month late
(TNS) – New York State lawmakers on Tuesday night passed a $229 billion budget a month late, moving to lift the minimum wage, tweak bail laws and implement new pollution-fighting protocols.
The state Senate and Assembly approved the budget in lightning rounds of votes and debates five days after Gov. Hochul and lawmakers finally reached a budget deal.
The budget, which is headed next to the governor’s desk, passed the Assembly shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday, after clearing the Senate earlier.
Democrats control both the Senate and the Assembly, but still found themselves squabbling over finer policy points in the budget negotiations.
The budget was initially due April 1. Lawmakers authorized stopgap measures to keep the state government humming during protracted negotiations over housing, bail and education.
By the close of weeks of haggling, Hochul withdrew an ambitious plan to increase the state’s housing stock, and came up short in a push to dramatically lift the state’s cap on charter schools.
But the Democratic governor pledged to return to the issue of housing — perhaps the state’s most pressing — through executive action, and to redouble her efforts to sell lawmakers on her plan.
She said in a statement last week that the budget would make New York “more affordable, more livable and safer.”
The budget that lawmakers agreed on would push the minimum wage in New York City from $15 to $17, and then tie future increases to inflation. It would give judges more discretion to set bail for defendants charged with serious crimes.
And it would ban fossil fuel systems in new buildings, a climate initiative whose approval came over sharp Republican criticism.
Also packed into the budget legislation were measures giving law enforcement more power to curb illegal pot shops, delivering more money to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and approving the opening of 14 so-called zombie charter schools in New York City.
“This State Budget targets our greatest areas of need to lift the burden and generate future prosperity,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Westchester Democrat, tweeted Tuesday night.
“I know it came later than we anticipated,” she added, “but there is some serendipity that the 2023-2024 budget is passing at the beginning of May — a month dedicated to the struggle and advancement of workers.”
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