ALBANY – New York State has a new budget in place.
On Friday and Saturday the state legislature approved the $168 billion, 2018-19 State Budget, with a deal that includes a new state tax code as a response to federal changes and more money for education.
Following the budget agreement being made, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday night said the new budget was the most difficult budget during his seven years as governor.
The new $168 billion plan adds $1 billion to state school spending, bringing the total to $26.7 billion. It also includes $25 million to expand prekindergarten and after school programs.
Earlier in the day, the Legislature passed sweeping legislation to address workplace harassment in the public and private sector, including requiring employers to adopt a model sexual harassment policy that prohibits mandatory arbitration and secret settlements.
Other features include: $100.1 billion for state operations, $7.6 billion in state support for higher education, and $118 million for the next phase of the Excelsior Scholarship.
A number of the more controversial policy items from Cuomo’s 2018 agenda were removed from the spending plan. They included the proposed Child Victims Act, which raises the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse; the DREAM Act, which enables undocumented immigrants to qualify for college assistance programs; and early voting.
Cuomo blamed this year’s budget difficulty on the state starting with a potential deficit. He also spent time explaining the impact of the federal tax law changes — “gutting deductibility of state and local taxes” — and what the state plans to do to counter that, including decoupling from the federal tax code. Charitable contributions would also be expanded.