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NY Assembly Speaker Says Budget Talks Will Continue As "Normal"

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie speaking March 15, 2021.
Karen DeWitt
New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie speaking March 15, 2021.

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says he expects state budget negotiations to continue as “normal,” despite his decision to authorize an impeachment inquiry of Governor Andrew Cuomo over allegations from multiple women of sexual harassment and a nursing home scandal.  Heastie says he will announce later in the week the Assembly’s choice of an outside law firm to aid the Judiciary Committee in carrying out the impeachment probe. But Heastie says he expects budget talks between the legislature and the governor to go on as planned.

“People still elected us to do our jobs,” said Heastie who said the “biggest thing” right now is settling on a budget.

“It still has to be done no matter what is occurring here in the Capitol,” he said. 

The Assembly and the state Senate are proposing $7 billion in new taxes on the wealthy, including several new, higher income tax brackets, a capital gains surcharge, and a higher inheritance tax on large estates.

Heastie says the legislature’s unity on the proposal sends a “clear message” to the governor, who supports a much smaller tax increase on the rich.

Cuomo backs one, temporary, higher income tax bracket for New Yorkers making over $5 million a year.

Both houses hold a supermajority, which would enable them to potentially override a governor’s veto, if there’s disagreement over a plan.   

Heastie says he has not spoken to Cuomo since his house’s decision to begin the impeachment probe. But he says the fellow Democrats did exchange text messages about the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

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.
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