Sources said New York lawmakers will focus on child care, housing, education, and alcoholic beverages in the budget negotiations in the coming weeks.
Before the April 1 deadline, the Democratic-led Legislature is already calling for billions in additional state funds for social programs to help struggling New Yorkers deal with rent, utility bills, and child care costs post-pandemic.
According to reports, Senate Dems also wants to suspend part of the state’s gasoline tax from May through the end of the year, something Republicans have rallied around in recent months.
Some lawmakers also want to pause some key policy items the governor hopes to pass as part of the budget process — including her plan to allow restaurants to sell to-go alcoholic drinks — in their nonbinding one-house budget resolutions approved on Monday.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) revealed lawmakers’ plans to allocate an additional $1.25 billion to the state’s cash-strapped COVID rental relief program and $250 million for the long-awaited Housing Access Voucher Program to help at-risk New Yorkers secure permanent housing.
“Too many of our families across our state struggled with homelessness and finding access to affordable housing prior to the pandemic,” Heastie said.
“This budget builds on the work done during the pandemic to keep New Yorkers in their homes, while creating and investing in programs that will give more families access to safe, affordable housing,” Heastie added.
Moreover, the Assembly also wants to more than double the $1.4 billion Hochul proposed for child care programs to $3 billion.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats want to increase eligibility for New York families and invest $2.2 billion, growing to more than $4 billion by 2024.