State lawmakers are poised to enter into a budget agreement that will add an additional $4 billion to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s record-breaking proposal of $216 billion — including the more than $850 million in state and local taxpayers’ money that she for a new Buffalo Bills stadium, sources told the Post on Tuesday.
New York’s fiscal 2023 overdue budget could reach or exceed $220 billion, an $8 billion increase from fiscal 2022, sources close to the negotiations said.
Higher-than-expected tax revenues and federal COVID-19 relief funding are expected to fund the spending under consideration.
Hochul and other Democrats, who control both houses of the state legislature, missed Friday’s deadline to pass a new budget and passed a last-minute “extension” to the budget on Monday, giving them until Thursday to approve pay commitments for tens of thousands of state employees fulfill.
“Hopefully we’ll have everything wrapped up before Thursday … that’s sort of the deadline,” said Deputy Senate Majority Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens).
Gianaris said lawmakers are close to agreements on key issues, including Hochul’s proposed rollback of the state’s controversial bail reform bill.
“We will handle gun charges differently. In some cases it’s about what constitutes arms trafficking and in others it’s about whether or not a particular charge can be returned on bail, but there will be a number of changes,” he said.
Gianaris also said: “Dealing with hate crimes is a priority for many of our members and you will see some changes in that regard.”
Sources said the plan for a new Bills Stadium – which emerged as a Hochul priority last week – was likely to go through despite widespread opposition from lawmakers and the public.
Hochul put the total cost at $1.4 billion, with state taxpayers contributing $600 million and residents of Erie County, where it will be built, contributing another $250 million.
The teams’ billionaire owners – Florida residents Terry and Kim Pegula – will carry just $550 million of the price tag.
However, independent budget watchdogs have warned that cost overruns and the price of actually running the stadium could send taxpayers’ total bills as high as $1.13 billion.
Hochul and lawmakers are also working out the details of a plan to bring legal casino gambling to New York City.
The measure would require the state’s Gaming Facility Location Board to issue an application for filing applications to open three new gaming parlors — with two or possibly all three in the five counties — in addition to the four already operating upstate.
State Senate Democrats included a proposal that would price each new license at $1 billion, but sources close to the negotiations said that number is yet to be determined.
“For a number of our members and a number of assembly members it’s important that local officials have a say on where casinos end up so there will be an element of that in the final product but the details are still being worked out,” Gianaris said.
The legislature is also thinking about this:
- An extension of the “alcohol to go” measure from the pandemic period
- Relief for sky-high prices at the pump
- A plan to overhaul the state’s embattled ethics body, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics
- More spending on home caregivers, childcare, ailing hospitals, SUNY and CUNY students, and possibly a federally funded deal to insure undocumented New Yorkers
- Sources in the Senate and state assembly have complained that Hochul thwarted budget negotiations by introducing controversial policy points in March, several weeks after her original proposal was published in January.
Sources also said progress slowed after a majority of Hochul’s negotiating team had positive cases of COVID-19.
The governor announced Monday that all but one of her officials had contracted the virus in the final days of budget talks.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/05/hochul-ny-pols-close-on-big-220b-budget-including-bills-stadium-funds/ The Pols in Hochul, NY, close a big $220 billion budget — including Bill’s stadium monies