Under the budget, all funds spending is estimated to total approximately $177 billion and state operating spending is authorized up to $105.8 billion. However in the absence of additional federal assistance or a faster than anticipated economic recovery, spending will initially total $95.8 billion.
Due to the challenges from the COVID-19 health crisis, support for schools will remain nearly flat for a total of $27.9 billion in school aid.
According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, the budget is balanced, includes no new taxes, continues to phase in tax cuts for the middle class, enacts the strongest Paid Sick Leave program in the nation, and advances other numerous progressive priorities including the legalization of gestational surrogacy, permanently banning hydrofracking, and closing a loophole to prohibit individuals who commit serious offenses in other states from obtaining a gun license in New York.
The Budget also includes health reform, including the ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and caps insulin co-payments at $100 per month. And it prohibits gender-based pricing discrimination by eliminating the “pink tax.”
Local State Sen. George Borrello (R-Irving, 57th District), who joined the State Senate at the start of this year, said on Thursday he voted against the budget due to its inclusion of numerous policy initiatives.
“Prior to coming here and working on the budget I had talked about why we should, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, pass a clean budget – one that doesn’t include policy issues with that lack of transparency that is so often involved by trying to include policy when you are supposed to be talking about finances. Unfortunately the majority has disappointed us at the expense of every New Yorker,” Borrello said.
Borrello added that he felt many of the proposals in the budget while hurt rather the people he represents across the 57th district.
“It’s going to hurt our farmers. It’s going to attack our constitutional rights. It’s going to increase taxes, costs and regulations, all while America is focused on COVID-19,” Borrello said. “Under the cover of the fear and addressing this pandemic the best way we can, we have a legislature – that should be right now united and apolitical – acting as egregiously political as they ever have.”
While Borrello said the budget will hurt farmers, the New York State Farm Bureau released a statement saying final budget deal is about as good as it could expect during the current health and economic crisis facing the state and country. Specifically, the group said there are much needed updates to the farm labor law that focuses on the fixes the Farm Bureau was seeking, including clarification for family and salaried employees.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli also weighed on the budget, saying, “The economic and budgetary impact from the coronavirus public health emergency presents our state with unprecedented risks. Unanticipated healthcare costs, dramatically increased unemployment and depressed business activity affects all state and local government finances. Moving forward, the Comptroller’s office will continue our role of monitoring revenues, spending, debt and cash flow trends.”