After a month-long delay, New York State lawmakers passed a budget worth $229 billion on Tuesday evening. The budget includes provisions to increase the minimum wage, adjust bail laws, and introduce new measures to combat pollution.
Following a budget agreement reached by Governor Hochul and lawmakers five days prior, the state Senate and Assembly swiftly voted on and debated the budget, ultimately approving it. The Senate passed it first, followed by the Assembly shortly before 11 p.m. that same night.
Despite Democrats holding a majority in both the Senate and Assembly, disagreements over certain policy details in the budget negotiations resulted in some contentious debates. The budget will now be sent to the governor for final approval.
To keep the state government operational during lengthy negotiations involving housing, bail, and education, lawmakers enacted temporary measures since the budget was originally due on April 1.
After weeks of negotiations, Governor Hochul had to withdraw her plan to increase the state’s housing supply and fell short in her bid to significantly raise the cap on charter schools. However, the Democratic governor has committed to addressing the urgent housing issue through executive action and working harder to convince lawmakers of her proposal.
She said in a statement last week that the budget would make New York “more affordable, more livable and safer.”
Under the approved budget, the minimum wage in New York City will increase from $15 to $17, with future raises tied to inflation. The legislation also grants greater discretion to judges when setting bail for defendants facing severe charges.
The budget legislation also includes a climate initiative that would prohibit the use of fossil fuel systems in new buildings, a measure that faced strong opposition from Republicans.
Additionally, the budget contains provisions granting law enforcement increased authority to combat illicit marijuana dispensaries, allocating additional funds to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and authorizing the establishment of 14 “zombie” charter schools in New York City.
“This State Budget targets our greatest areas of need to lift the burden and generate future prosperity,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Westchester Democrat, tweeted Tuesday night.
“I know it came later than we anticipated,” she added, “but there is some serendipity that the 2023-2024 budget is passing at the beginning of May — a month dedicated to the struggle and advancement of workers.”