(NEWS10) – This week on Empire State Weekly, progress on the state budget not moving at the pace many were hoping for under the Hochul administration. Which could come into play at the polls with the June primaries upon us. One of the candidates looking to challenge Governor Hochul for her position, Congressman Tom Suozzi, says his vision for New York’s future includes utilizing the budget to address the needs of New Yorkers that are not being met, and according to him, won’t be met under the current budget plan.

We hear insight on this year’s budget process from Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group and Patrick Orecki with the Citizens Budget Commission. “It was as secretive as I’ve ever seen it,” says Horner. “The Governor having the news conference right after the Senate Majority Leader came out and said we were in the letter N in ‘The End’ of the budget, so it wasn’t quite soup yet.” According to Orecki, the landscape of the budget process was very different this year, as is New York’s fiscal situation. “It was a lot of moving parts among certain areas compared to a typical year.”

Congressman Tom Suozzi joins us as his gubernatorial campaign ramps up ahead of the June primaries. Suozzi’s campaign turned in more than 40,000 voter signatures to the State Board of Elections, which secures his place on primary ballot. In terms of the state budget, Suozzi says while the state is currently flushed with cash as indicated in the $220 billion budget deal, it won’t address long-term problems. “Are they planning for the future to reduce our debt, to try and lower people’s taxes to make it more affordable to live here? No! That’s what the people want, that’s what I’ll do if I’m governor of New York State,” says Suozzi.

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