State budget likely late because of ‘big budget issues’
ALBANY — New York legislative leaders said Thursday they expected to miss the deadline for adopting a new state budget as they negotiate with fellow Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul over her proposals to change bail rules and create new housing.
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said the holdup on a budget for state fiscal year beginning Saturday is due in part because of “big policy issues” that the governor included in her proposal.
Hochul’s proposed budget includes a change to the current bail law to give judges greater discretion by removing the “least restrictive means” standard to ensure a defendant returns to court. Hochul describes it as a clarification of guidelines, but liberal lawmakers have resisted further changes to the state’s bail law.
“I think there’s always room for compromise,” state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told reporters Thursday when asked about bail changes.
Lawmakers also were focused on Hochul’s proposal to spur the creation of 800,000 houses within the next 10 years to combat the housing crisis in the state. Some lawmakers have resisted mandates in the governor’s housing plan.
Hochul told New York State Public Radio the April 1 deadline would not be met, but that “it’s not about a race to the deadline, it’s about a race to getting the right results.”
It was not clear how long it would take for the governor and lawmakers to reach an agreement.
“We can’t agree on how much to spend, we can’t agree on how to keep people safe, and a host of other issues,” Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt complained. “That’s ridiculous — that the Legislature cannot get a budget passed for the people in the state of New York.”