ALBANY, NY (WSKG) – State lawmakers were finishing up /finished the state budget Thursday afternoon, two days after it was due. The spending plan holds school aid flat, and give Governor Cuomo special powers to adjust the budget throughout the year, as the state faces an up to $15 billion dollar deficit due to the corona virus continues.
Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, speaking to a nearly empty Senate chamber as voting on the budget wrapped up, commented on the strangeness of a moment, in a time when she says daily death rates have become the “new normal”.
“The budget that we are passing is not the budget that any of us had hoped to pass at the beginning of this session,” said Stewart-Cousins. “Our state’s financial situation has been thrust into true economic crisis, and I know everyone understands that.”
The budget also includes a roll back to the state’s bail reform laws, adding back some crimes that will once again be eligible for bail. It also legalizes paid gestational surrogacy and bans the sale of flavored e cigarettes. A $3 billion dollar environmental bond act will be on the ballot in November, with the caveat that the state won’t go through with borrowing the money if the bond markets are not favorable.