New York state lawmakers approve $229 billion budget
ALBANY, N.Y. (WCAX) - After months of deliberation and a late-night legislative session on Tuesday, New York lawmakers finally passed a $229 billion budget. The deadline to pass it was actually April 1, but several extensions were granted to keep state employees paid.
Republican North Country Sen. Dan Stec says it’s the worst budget he’s seen in his 11 years in office.
“The state budget advanced by the governor and legislative democrat continues a disturbing trend,” he said in a video statement, as the budget bills made their way to the floor.
Stec and other New York Republicans say Democrat spending is out of control. He voted no on every single budget bill, saying it benefits immigrants and the cannabis industry more than regular taxpayers.
“Since first assuming control of all state government in 2019, Democrat leaders have increased spending by $60 billion or 26%. This spending is irresponsible and unsustainable. People are leaving our state in droves. The high taxes, cost of living, and doing business are the primary reasons why,” Stec said.
Though, Democrats seemed to be all on the same page, moving full-steam ahead with the proposed budget.
“We are finally getting to be able to pass our budget and, you know, do the rest of the people’s work,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Steward.
Throughout the process, North Country Democratic Assemblyman Billy Jones has shown support for the budget, pointing out the $2 billion increase toward education, including for the SUNY schools and community colleges. He also highlighted funding for much-needed infrastructure projects across the state.
The budget also weaved in several policy changes, such as bail reform and increases in minimum wage. While that is upsetting to some, Gov. Kathy Hochul told reporters last Thursday she was standing by her budget.
“We invested where we needed to invest and let people know they matter, that regardless of where they live in New York, we understand their concerns,” said Hochul, D-New York. “Now we’re building a path of shared prosperity for all New Yorkers and I’m very proud of this budget.”
There have also been concerns from lawmakers and watchdog groups about a future gap in funding following this increase in spending. Stec says he estimates it will be about $15 billion long-term.
Copyright 2023 WCAX. All rights reserved.