ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — As you may know, the state’s budget is now 10 days late, a week-long extender was issued on Monday to keep government operations running and get state employees paid on time, but the tardiness begs the questions – what’s the hold-up? Lawmakers say bail and housing continue to leave the state budget in limbo as they negotiate an agreement.
When our Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige asked Senate Majority Leader Andrea-Stewart Cousins when a finalized budget deal would be made, “I’d like to say soon, why don’t I let you figure out what that is.” Stewart Cousins said she, Speaker Heastie and the Governor are close to reaching a bail agreement. “There’s just a lot that is in this package and you know in terms of what people think, the reality, and what needs to be clarified. We continue not to want to criminalize poverty for low-level offenses,” she said. She also said the state must ensure there’s clarity about bail laws in the judicial system. “So the Governor has those objectives, we have those objectives, we wanna make sure that Justice is done,” said Stewart-Cousins.
Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay said he’s usually not a fan of including policy in the budget, but public safety is crucial, “I hope the Governor sticks to her guns and doesn’t back off on bail, what she’s proposing again is not an extreme measure and this is the time that she has some leverage to try to get it done versus trying to do it outside the budget.” Leader Barclay said the Governor could opt to include bail changes in another extender if an agreement is not made. When asked when he thought a budget deal would be reached, “This is what I would say, I’m willing to go down there, regularly scheduled session is on Monday and Tuesday, I think we ought to go down there and stay down there until the budget deal is done,” explained Barclay.
Part of the Governor’s budget proposal includes creating 800,000 additional homes over the next ten years which Senator George Borrello is not on board with. “If you want to make New York more affordable, make it more affordable so people want to build houses, the idea that we are somehow creating more housing, and still the highest and most burdensome taxes in the nation on everything isn’t going to change much in New York. In my opinion, it’s a futile attempt to spread the paint around a little bit,” he said. And his prediction on when a finalized budget agreement will be made, “I suspect that it’s going to be no sooner than the end of next week.”