Lawmakers talk state budget process

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State budget deadline is less than a week away, and budget bills could be introduced this weekend. Right now, three-way negotiations are taking place between the Senate, Assembly and the Governor’s office. 

Assemblyman Harry Bronson says conversations have been “productive” ahead of the April 1 due date. 

“We will need to have an agreement and bills put in print by midnight on Sunday in order to vote on before the deadline,” he said. “There has to be a waiting period. It’s called the three-day aging period, which is actually in the New York State Constitution.”

But Bronson says there is a way to overcome that period.

“If the Governor issues what are called messages of necessity, then we can vote on a bill right after it’s printed. So, that has happened in years past, but our, what we’re trying to do right now is to get a negotiated deal done by midnight Sunday so that we can vote in early next week and have it passed on time,” Bronson said.

“Hopefully, by Sunday night, will have a real good idea of what the final budget will be is that absolutely perfect. No, it’s not as close. I believe it will be. And we always have the chance to amend and go back and change what we did,” said State Senator Neil Breslin.

This year, there have been different variables during the budget process including the Governor’s scandals, the Assembly Speaker’s COVID diagnosis earlier this week, and billions of dollars granted in federal funding. Despite that funding from Washington, it seems one of the biggest issues left to be negotiated between the legislature, and the Governor is on the issue of increased taxes on the wealthy. While the Governor has expressed hesitancy, and Republicans have opposed those increases, Democrats in the legislature say there needs to be a recurring revenue stream. 

“We are asking the wealthiest New Yorkers to pay their fair share towards education, towards health care, towards, you know, our social safety net services that have been cut, year after year after year,” said State Senator Pete Harckham.  

Lawmakers say marijuana legalization is being handled outside of the budget, but that legislation is expected to be voted on next week as well.

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