ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — It’s the latest budget in 13 years. The 2023 budget is now 20 days past its April 1 deadline. On Thursday, Hochul signed the third budget extender to keep state operations funded and state workers paid until Monday. Lawmakers are struggling to come to an agreement on housing.
“I hope, we’re at the beginning of the end. This has been the most policy-laden budget that we’ve… that I’ve ever had to deal with,” said Senate Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Governor Hochul’s budget proposal includes creating 800,000 new homes over the next ten years, an annual growth of one percent housing in upstate, and a three percent in downstate. The initiative would override local zoning laws which come with some pushback from municipalities and lawmakers, like Senator George Borrello. “It’s going to try to shoehorn hundreds of thousands of new units into very small areas, essentially it’s going to take areas like Long Island that don’t have the basic infrastructure, law enforcement, and just other public services to in some cases quadruple or more some of the housing units,” said Borrello.
There’s also been discussion about providing possible incentives. Governor Hochul cleared up some of the confusion in a statement saying in part: “We have not yet come to a final agreement, but it remains clear that merely providing incentives will not make the meaningful change that New Yorkers deserve. I will continue to discuss other elements of the plan and policy changes that will increase supply and make housing more affordable.”
Stewart-Cousins said the state does need more housing, an affordability component and tenant protections, “I think those things have always been the driving force around how we proceed with housing.” And in terms of tenant protections, for years advocates have been pushing for Good Cause Eviction, a bill that would make it illegal for landlords to evict tenants unless they violated the lease agreement. It would also cap how much rent can be raised each year, but it’s unclear if that will be included in the budget.