Two weeks to get New York budget finalized

Two weeks to get New York budget finalized

(The Center Square) – With two weeks left until the end of the fiscal year, New York lawmakers are now negotiating the budget for the new fiscal year.

  • By Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor
  • March 17th, 2022
FILE — Money
Tim Gruver / The Center Square

The Assembly’s one-house budget proposal calls for spending $226.37 billion in the 2022-23 fiscal year, which starts April 1. That is nearly $8 billion more than Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive budget proposed.

The additional spending is tied to several social programs. Assembly members propose spending $3.2 billion more on health care, an additional $2.3 billion on housing, and $2 billion more on child care.

“The Assembly Majority has always been committed to ensuring that every New Yorker has access to quality health care,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, said in a statement this week. “Our spending plan reflects that commitment by ensuring that our most vulnerable populations have access to care, and our health care systems are equipped to provide it.

Among the health-care expenditures in the Assembly’s proposal is $345 million to cover undocumented immigrants. The Senate plan also includes a similar amount.

It does not include the New York Health Act, the single-payer proposal. However, Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, said the budget proposal still will bolster health care.

“This is the most progressive, forward-thinking budget in my 35 years as Health Committee Chair, and I look forward to working with our partners in the Senate and Executive to get it done,” said Gottfried, who is set to retire this year after 52 years in Albany.

The Senate’s version of the budget bill includes $1 billion in assistance for “financially distressed” or safety-net hospitals.

In addition, the Senate also allocates $624 million to increase wages for home care workers. The proposal calls for those low-wage earners to get raises to 150% of the regional minimum wage.

“After decades of austerity budgets that slashed government services that New Yorkers rely on, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic further straining our safety net programs and institutions, the Senate’s One-House proposal puts forward a financial plan that will deliver the resources needed for our state to thrive,” Senate Health Committee Chairman Gustavo Rivera, D-Bronx, said in a statement.

Republicans, who are in the minority in both chambers, have expressed concern that majority Democrats want to continue ratcheting up spending and that policy may hurt businesses across the state.

“We’ve got to reverse Albany’s bad habit about out of control spending that’s come from both parties, sadly, but we see that accelerating now,” Deputy Minority Leader Andrew Lanza said at the General Budget Conference Committee on Monday.

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