Early Sunday morning, on the final day of 2019 fiscal year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced that they had reached an agreement on the 2020 Budget.
A summary of the agreement released by the governor’s office said the budget includes a permanent two percent property tax cap, reforms of the cash bail system and pre-trial discovery process, and an additional $1 billion for education.
The budget would be $175.5 billion, holding spending at two percent growth. Cuomo’s announcement also said there are tax cuts for the middle class – but those were established in a previous budget and are not new.
Both the Assembly and Senate convened Sunday to begin passing bills. Democrats in both houses confirmed that at that time they were notified by their leaders of plans to pass a special resolution authorizing a pay raise for the governor and lt. governor.
As part of the final plan, the governor flexed his budget powers with the distribution of new revenues that will come from collecting sales taxes on all online purchases.
Instead of splitting an annual windfall of $220 million, counties outside of New York City will divide $160 million, because $60 million will be siphoned off to offset a cut in state aid the governor proposed for towns and villages.
The shifting of sales tax revenue was initially proposed in the governor’s February budget amendments after municipalities and state lawmakers rallied against the proposed cut in state aid.
On Sunday, New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario said the shifting of funds was a “fair compromise.”
Another measure in the budget that could impact commerce is the ban on plastic bags.
By March 2020, grocery stores and other retailers will have stopped providing single-use plastic bags for most purchases. Exemptions for the ban set to take effect March 1, 2020, include bags for uncooked meat, fish or poultry; sliced or prepared foods; delivered newspapers; prescription drugs; trash bags; food-storage bags; garment bags, and bags for restaurant carryout orders.
Counties will be allowed to opt for a 5-cent charge for paper bags, with 3 cents going to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and 2 cents kept by local governments.