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After a conceptual agreement is reached, CNY lawmakers hope to see no surprises in state budget

Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Syracuse the day after announcing a conceptual agreement on the state budget.
Ellen Abbott
Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Syracuse the day after announcing a conceptual agreement on the state budget.

Lawmakers are expected to return to Albany on Monday to finalize a budget agreement, but it’ll still be several days before the $229 billion spending plan is a done deal.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a conceptual deal on the budget, that changes bail laws, increases the minimum wage and invests in New York City’s transportation system. It capped a month of contentious talks, leading to a budget that will be passed more than a month after an April 1 deadline.

"It did take longer than we expected, but the product is extraordinary," Hochul said.

Now legislators get a crack at the spending plan. State Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse) said members really don’t know any of the details at this point.

“We've seen iterations of it," May said. "The things in motion, we don’t know how they’ve landed, and we need to see that, preferably before they get printed, because there should be one more layer of input from us before they finalize everything."

Once those hundreds of pages of budget bills are printed, lawmakers and Albany staffers need time to go over them with a fine tooth comb. State Sen. John Mannion (D-Syracuse) said lawmakers need to make sure what they want is in the final document.

"To make sure that what our intent is collectively as a conference and our voice and in those negotiations ends up in print and there are no surprises," Mannion said. "Long before I became a senator and even after I’ve been a senator there have been occasional surprises."

In the end, nobody gets everything they want in this budget process. For example, Hochul’s housing initiative didn’t make it into the budget, including tenant protections that May had been supporting. May said the lack of information about the whole process is what frustrates her the most.

"It’s hard because we weren’t getting a lot of information," May said. "Some of the really big things that I came into the budget pushing for, fell out of the budget early on."

The process continues this week with more debate, and voting on various parts of the spending plan.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.