New York lawmakers reached a $212 billion budget deal for the state Tuesday, days after the official deadline.
With New York reeling from the financial impact of COVID-19, legislators struggled to come to an agreement. The budget priorities include school aid, rent relief, small business recovery and nursing home reforms. It also focuses on pandemic response and recovery.
There is also a controversial fund to help workers who were “excluded” from federal pandemic relief, namely the undocumented. To pay for it all, New York’s wealthiest residents and companies will pay more in taxes.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the federal government for $15 billion in COVID relief and recovery, but the state received only about $12.5 billion.
“New York was ambushed early and hit hardest by COVID, devastating our economy and requiring urgent and unprecedented emergency spending to manage the pandemic,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Thanks to the State’s strong fiscal management and relentless pursuit to secure the federal support that the pandemic demanded, we not only balanced our budget, we are also making historic investments to reimagine, rebuild and renew New York in the aftermath of the worst health and economic crisis in a century.”
The budget includes:
- A record $29.5 billion in aid to schools aid
- $29 billion in public and private green economy investments
- $2.4 billion for rent and homeowner relief
- $2.4 billion for child care
- $2.1 billion for excluded workers
- $111 billion in total state operating funds
- $212 billion in all funds spending
- $1 billion for small business recovery
- A first-in-the-nation plan to make broadband internet affordable
- Legalizing mobile sports betting
- Implementing comprehensive nursing home reforms
As lawmakers worked to reach a deal, progressives protested inside the State Capitol and in New York City, pledging to keep the pressure on for more taxes and more spending as the budget was finalized.
In the end, according to the New York Times, the budget includes about $4 billion in new revenue. It comes from hiking taxes on New Yorkers making more than a million dollars per year, higher taxes on large corporations and projected tax revenue from mobile sports betting.
Final sticking points included the “excluded” workers fund, and Gov. Cuomo’s last-minute push for development in NYC, lawmakers said. Cuomo sought more than $1 billion to redevelop the area around Penn Station. He also wanted an expedited path for casinos down state, perhaps even in the city itself.
The agreed-upon budget will give relief to working and middle-class taxpayers “while the wealthiest New Yorkers will help their neighbors,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said.
“This budget makes New York better for all,” Stewart Cousins said.