Budget deadline pushed back again

ALBANY — New York lawmakers passed another extension for the state’s budget on Thursday to ensure state workers get paid and operations continue undisrupted as negotiations are still underway.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, needs to sign the extension bill, which pushes the due date for a final spending plan to April 8. Legislators had already passed an extension when they missed the initial April 1 deadline, but they have said progress is being made on top items, such as funding for schools.

Last year, lawmakers blew past the budget deadline by almost a month, largely because of disagreements over changes to the state’s bail law and an ambitious plan to create new housing. This year, though, they appear cautious to avoid a similar blowup.

“We’re trying to move mountains quite honestly to take care of, you know, people who depend on our system,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, said Wednesday.

Lawmakers are still trying to hash out an agreement on how the state hands out education funding to schools. Hochul proposed a plan that quickly drew criticism because it would result in some districts getting less money.

This budget extension throws school districts further into an area of uncertainty because they face a looming deadline for submitting their own spending plans to the public, state Assemblymember Edward Ra, a Republican, said during floor deliberations ahead of a vote on the extension.

“Public employees, school districts and municipalities all need to know what the state’s final financial plan will include, but those details are nowhere to be found,” Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, a Republican, said in a statement.

Budget talks between the governor and leaders of the Democrat-run state Assembly and Senate often happen behind closed doors.

Stewart-Cousins has said she is working “as quickly as possible” to ensure school districts understand how much money the state will allocate towards them.

Legislative leaders are also trying to settle on a housing deal that includes new construction, tenant protections, and a tax break for developers to encourage building. As part of her executive budget proposal, Hochul wants to upgrade state properties that can be repurposed to create up to 15,000 units of housing.

“We might be in the same neighborhood, I don’t know if we’re on the same block yet,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, said Thursday about the housing deal.


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