ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — The state’s budget is now almost a month late, the latest budget in over ten years. An additional extender was signed by the Governor on Monday to keep state employees paid, and state operations funded. When exactly will lawmakers reach a final budget agreement?
At a press conference on Tuesday, Governor Hochul said the end could be near, with the possibility of a budget deal as early as this week. Two issues still on the table are re-issuing zombi charter schools and the states plan to crack down on illegal cannabis stores, which Hochul said is critically important considering the states efforts to create a legal industry, “This is not easy to do, but when you set up these businesses to fail already because of illegal competition, we have to take some dramatic steps now.”
Hochul said this could mean giving enforcement tools to the Office of Cannabis Management as well as Tax and Finance to have the authority to search those shops resulting in a fine, and possibly a shut down. “And we put out a bill a couple weeks ago to address this, I’m optimistic I can use this window that we have at the budget to ensure this happens,” she said.
The Governor’s budget proposal included a Housing Compact Plan; creating 800,000 new homes over the next decade, that plan has since been nixed. She said conversations to address housing will continue during the legislative session. And when it comes to bail, lawmakers say an agreement has been made, but the details are forthcoming. “Nothing’s really over til it’s over, and that’s why it’d be premature to announce the details now… I’m satisfied with where we are today,” she said.
And “As the cost of living goes up, so does the minimum wage” – that’s what the Governor said in her budget presentation back in February. Her plan? Pegging minimum wage to inflation, but some said that wasn’t enough. There’s been discussion about raising minimum wage to $17 an hour in the coming years and then pegging to inflation, which she gestured in support of. “I put out the talking points, I put out what I’m looking for and then we come to consensus, I support raising the minimum wage along the lines of what we’re talking about,” she said. NEWS10 will keep you updated when a finalized budget agreement is made.