New York state budget

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A change that took effect in the recent state budget legislation may have a big impact in immigrant communities.

It’s called the One Day to Protect New Yorkers Act, or One Day Act, and it changes the maximum sentence for Class A misdemeanors from 365 days to 364 days.

The change means these convictions will no longer trigger automatic deportation proceedings. Immigrants convicted of Class A misdemeanors may still be deported, but the change gives judges more discretion on a case-by-case basis.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media File Photo

New York State’s recently passed budget took aim at a couple of environmental issues, like banning plastic bags and recycling commercial food waste. The Onondaga County Resource and Recovery Agency or OCRRA, is ready for the changes coming over the next few years.

About 1.5% of the local trash stream is made up of plastic bags, adding up to around 5,000 tons of material a year. OCRRA spokeswoman Kristin Lawton said it may not sound like a lot, but eliminating the lightweight bags would have an impact.

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state lawmakers who delivered a budget on time this past week are turning their attention to thorny debates over legalizing recreational marijuana and renewing New York City’s rent regulations.

Both issues are complicated and figuring out the details is likely to dominate the remainder of the legislative session, scheduled to end in late June.

Meanwhile, an odd exchange about a grocery store chain during the Senate’s recent budget debate is highlighting the perennial upstate-downstate divide.

Here’s a look at stories making news:

Prison Closure Proposals Concern North Country Officials

Apr 5, 2019


The New York state budget passed first thing Monday includes a proposal to close two or three prison facilities. The idea is not sitting well in the North Country, which has seen facilities shuttered in the past.

The New York Division of the Budget estimates the closure of two or three prisons could save the state nearly $35 million dollars. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, appearing on WAMC Monday, said the inmate population is dropping and 1,200 beds are no longer needed.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Some central New York Republicans are split on the results of this year’s state budget, which passed the legislature Monday.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said he appreciates that Aid and Incentives for Municipalities or AIM funding was restored for towns and villages, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed cuts. But McMahon said he is disappointed the funds come out of the county's share of Internet sales tax revenue.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

The New York State legislature completed work on the state budget at around 7:30 a.m. Monday, after pulling an all night session to complete  the  budget relatively on time. The spending plan represents a compromise where not everyone is completely happy.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders have announced an agreement on the new state budget, which is due April 1,

They sent out a statement early Sunday morning saying that the $175 billion budget holds spending growth at two percent.

It includes:

-a permanent 2% property tax cap.

-an additional $1 billion for school aid for aid that will total $27.9 billion.

-criminal justice reforms, including reforming the cash bail system.

governorandrewcuomo / flickr

Two days before the due date, the New York state budget is starting to take shape, as lawmakers planned to return to the Capitol for a rare Sunday session to begin voting to meet the April 1 deadline.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued to defend his choice to hold a $25,000-a-plate fundraiser attended by key lobbyists two weeks before the budget is due, saying he supports public campaign financing.

In a radio interview with WCNY’s “The Capitol Pressroom,” Cuomo said he was not influenced by the money he received from donors.

“If anyone suggests that any position I take is linked to a contributor,” they would be wrong, Cuomo said.

Keng Susumpow / Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and fellow Democrats who control the Legislature have reached a deal to make New York the third state with a ban on single-use plastic grocery bags as they worked to finalize budget agreements, officials said Friday.

The ban would prohibit grocery stores from providing plastic bags for most purchases, something California has been doing since a statewide ban was approved in 2016. Hawaii has an effective statewide ban, with all its counties imposing their own restrictions.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The push for a public campaign finance system for New York’s politicians heated up as a feud erupted between three young female lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aides.

They were arguing over a private, $25,000-a-plate fundraiser held by the governor just two weeks before the state budget is due.

A plan to create a matching small-donor public campaign finance system for statewide elections is included in Cuomo’s budget and has some support in the Democrat-led state Senate.

Keng Susumpow / Flickr

The sponsors of a bill to ban single-use plastic bags in New York are optimistic that the measures will be part of the new state budget. But there are still details to be worked out, including whether there should be a fee on paper bags.

Lawmakers and environmental groups stood outside the Assembly chambers in a Capitol filled with groups making their last-minute pitches for items in the state budget.

Assemblyman Sean Ryan of Buffalo held up a crumpled plastic bag and said the overuse of the bags is an environmental scourge.

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Unions and many Democrats in the state Legislature are pushing for an expansion of the state’s prevailing wage law. But they are finding that the change might have some unintended consequences. 

The prevailing wage rules require that all publicly funded construction projects in a region pay at least the average wage paid on all projects completed in that area.

Brett Levin / Flickr

Supporters of legalizing recreational marijuana plan to hold rallies each day at the State Capitol this week, urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers to include the measure in the state budget.  

Kassandra Frederique with the Drug Policy Alliance said supporters worry that if the issue lingers until later in the session, its chances of passage will diminish.

“Kicking the can down the road more is not a good sign for us as community members,” Frederique said. “The urgency on what legalization can do for our communities is important.”

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

With less than a week to go to the budget deadline, interest groups converged on the state Capitol, lobbying to get their measures included in the budget plan, and in some cases, to keep items out.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

The new state budget, due April 1, will be first one decided by an all-Democratic state legislature in a decade, after Republicans ruled the Senate for most of the past century. And while the leadership of the Senate and Assembly have been newly reasserting their governing powers, when it comes to the spending plan, there’s only so far that they can go in their disagreements with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

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Gambling casino companies are pressing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature to allow them to open gaming centers in New York City as part of the new state budget. There are a number of obstacles to overcome, but the proposal may seem tempting to lawmakers, who are strapped for cash this year.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has criss-crossed the state over the last several weeks sounding the alarm that the state's two percent tax cap, which limits local government and school district spending, is more important now than ever and should be made permanent by the state legislature.

"This year because of the uncertainty out of Washington, and knowing that our taxpayers are taking it on the chin because of the loss of the state and local tax deduction (SALT), we think we need to come out even stronger and enshrine this two-percent tax cap and make it permanent," said Hochul.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

With just a little over two weeks to go before the state budget is due, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top budget officials say they have to revise their spending proposal, now that President Donald Trump has released a budget plan that they say could devastate New York’s health care system.

They’re pressuring the Legislature to rein in their spending proposals as well.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Budget talks are intensifying in Albany as the deadline nears, and they are revealing tensions and divides between Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the all-Democratic State Legislature.

Cuomo began the week with a list of items that he said he needs in the state budget in order for him to agree to it.

They include a property tax cap, criminal justice reforms and a congestion pricing plan for parts of Manhattan to help pay for fixing public transit.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr


With three weeks to go until the April 1 budget deadline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is drawing some lines in the sand on items that he said must be in the spending plan, like a permanent property tax cap.

But Cuomo said a proposal to legalize the adult use of marijuana likely will not be finished in time.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

The state Senate and Assembly are due to release their own versions of the state budget this week. They come as Gov. Andrew Cuomo is demanding that a number of unrelated provisions be included in the spending plan. Without them, he threatens, the budget could be late.

The governor’s budget director, Robert Mujica, listed in a statement the items that he said must be in the budget in order for Cuomo to agree to it. They include a congestion pricing plan in Manhattan to help pay to fix the subway system, and making the temporary property tax cap permanent.

Matt Ryan / New York Now (file photo)

The state comptroller has come out with revenue projections that will limit the ability to spend more money in the state budget. Under law, the governor and Legislature have to abide by those numbers — but that hasn’t stopped interest groups and some lawmakers from saying that they will increase spending.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Democratic colleagues in the legislature are at odds over agreement on the amount of revenues New York has to spend on health care, education, and other items in the state budget, which is due in less than a month. The State Comptroller may have to step in and decide if there’s no agreement by the end of the day Tuesday.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

As advocacy groups continue to pressure Albany on various causes ahead of this year's state budget, a statewide educational equity tour made a stop in Syracuse, last week. A collection of local officials and other advocates said New York’s schools are underfunded by $4 billion.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Economists and financial forecasters, speaking at the state Capitol Thursday as part of an annual consensus forecast meeting on the state budget, are warning of an impending recession in New York and the nation. The state is already experiencing some warning signs, with the governor’s budget office predicting a $2.6 billion deficit.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

It’s a busy time at the state Capitol, with just over one month to go until the state budget is due. Groups are bringing advocates by the hundreds to try to get their favored items placed into the spending plan. Meanwhile, there are lingering recriminations over the failed Amazon deal.   

Among the groups vying for attention at a crowded state Capitol, are advocates for public campaign financing.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says changes to the federal tax code led to a growing state deficit and is causing some high-income earners to leave the state. But progressive groups, some Democratic state legislators and even some millionaires are pushing back against that assertion, saying there’s no hard evidence that any wealthy New Yorkers are leaving.

WRVO News File Photo

State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia said she’s not pleased with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to spend just half of the amount of new money on public schools that education experts in New York recommend. She spoke Wednesday at a joint legislative budget hearing at the state Capitol.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli delivered some bad news Monday — the state has a $2.3 billion budget deficit.

Cuomo blamed the decline on federal tax changes that he said penalizes blue states, but there are other factors at play, too.

Cuomo said they are sounding the alarm after reviewing the results of the January quarterly estimated tax payments. Cuomo said the collections are even “worse than anticipated” and “as serious as a heart attack.” 

DiNapoli said it’s the biggest hit to the state’s finances in some time.