Done deal? Not so fast

At a press conference on Monday evening, Gov. Kathy Hochul stood at the Capitol with senior members of her administration seated at her side and announced that an agreement had been made on the 2025 state budget.

If one were to see that press conference and some of the ensuing coverage, one might believe that the state Legislature had adopted a budget and that the deal was done, albeit done more than two weeks past deadline.

Not so.

“I’m pleased to announce that we have the parameters of a conceptual agreement on the Fiscal Year 2025 State Budget,” Hochul said on Monday. Emphasis on “parameters of a conceptual agreement,” because in reality, the state Legislature adopted another budget extender on Monday, pushing the deadline to pass a budget to this Thursday. State Sen. Liz Krueger, during a debate on that budget extender Monday evening, said the governor’s announcement about this “conceptual agreement” was news to her, the Albany Times-Union reported. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins were notably absent from the governor’s press conference.

This is not the first time that a governor has announced a budget deal before that deal was finalized. It probably won’t be the last time. It’s no doubt more convenient to have state taxpayers believe that the budget is done, alleviating some pressure from lawmakers as they push to make that a reality. It’s good to receive updates as the budget process moves forward — we certainly believe that there are plenty of taxpayers waiting to hear about the budget — but we see announcements such as this as a disingenuous practice, a proclamation of victory before there’s formal details and documents on paper for taxpayers to scrutinize.

So, is the state budget done?

As of Tuesday morning, the answer is no.


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