Governor Kathy Hochul has delivered on her promise to achieve a fiscally responsible budget that includes no new taxes, commits $5 billion to reserves for a future “rainy day,” and dedicates federal COVID-19 relief to programs that will not encumber the state with long-term spending obligations.
Together with Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the Governor also delivered for New York City in many ways: increasing school aid, bonuses for essential health care workers, and extending relief to tenants, homeowners, and small businesses that are still struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic. The budget includes authorization for city agencies to use more efficient procurement methods for public construction. As requested by Mayor Adams, it expands the Earned Income Tax Credit for working low income families. It provides a substantial increase in capital funding for affordable housing and for child care.
The top priority of New York City employers and workers is the restoration of public safety. The budget includes many of the measures that Mayor Adams has said he needs to reduce crime, curtail gun violence, and move homeless and mentally ill people into appropriate treatment and accommodations.
One priority of the business community that failed to make the budget was the Governor’s proposal to extend mayoral control of the city’s public schools for four years. Management of the nation’s largest school system should not require an annual battle with the legislature, nor should it be eroded by diluting the mayor’s management accountability. There is also a need to come up with new programs to increase the supply of affordable housing, pass a Clean Slate Act, and amend the process for admission and treatment of seriously mentally ill individuals. All should be priorities to address in the balance of the legislative session.