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New York Misses State Budget Deadline

The New York State capitol in Albany
Dave Lucas
New York State Capitol

New York missed the deadline to complete its state budget on time Tuesday night. The Senate and Assembly acted on two bills — debt service and a revenue measure — but they don’t yet have agreements on how much to spend on school aid and health care, as New York faces a $15 billion deficit amid the coronavirus.

Legislators stuck to social distancing rules by allowing only a small number of members into the chamber to vote at one time. Members who wanted to stay at home and vote remotely because of health reasons were allowed to do so.

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Democrat, confirmed during debate on the floor that lawmakers have agreed to borrow money short-term to help the state pay its bills and give out aide payments to schools and hospitals. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget director has already said the state will need credit now that the tax filing deadline has been put off from April 15to July 15. 

"Do we anticipate short-term borrwing in a future bill that we'll be taking up within this budget process?" questioned GOP member Edward Ra. 

“I suspect we can anticipate that, Mr. Ra,” Peoples-Stokes answered.  

Peoples-Stokes cannot say how much the budget will spend in total, because key parts of it, including school aide and health care, have yet to be agreed to. The Assembly and Senate also passed a partial revenue bill with some blank spaces, presumably to be filled in later when there is a final budget agreement. Legislators say they hope they can finish up the spending plan in the next day or two. 

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.