Blame game begins with New York state budget overdue
It could be days or weeks before the New York state budget is passed, keeping people and organizations tied to state government on hold.
For the second year in a row, the New York State budget is late. Good government groups are pinning the blame on Governor Kathy Hochul.
New York Public Interest Research Group executive director Blair Horner, a WAMC commentator, says anytime that the government doesn't do what it's supposed to do, it feeds public cynicism about Albany.
"They were supposed to get the budget done last week, that didn't happen," Horner said. "The governor's advancement extender runs through a week from today, which should alleviate at least some of the initial concerns that people might have. If the government does not approve an extender, bills can't be paid, employees can't be paid. Essentially, the government shuts down. And so that's not good for anybody. And that doesn't mean there doesn't seem to be any indication that lawmakers will reject the governor's week long extender. When you're rolling the dice like this, when people are playing with fire, sometimes the public gets burned."
John Kaehny is the Executive Director of the watchdog group Reinvent Albany.
"In our view, a late budget happens when the legislature asserts itself as a co-equal branch of government, and says no to the governor inserting big policy issues into the budget, rather than taking them on during the legislative session," said Kaehny. "And in this case, those two big policy issues, however you feel about them, are bail and the land use housing plan that the governor's put forth, and whatever, though those the merits of those proposals, they are not budget items. They are, in fact major policy decisions."
"The governor is insisting that bail reforms be included as part of a budget agreement package," Horner said. "And while there is no real indication that the issue of bail reform, it has anything to do with the budget, the governor has her greatest leverage in budget negotiations. And so that's what she's doing. So she's linked together bail reform issues with approval of a final budget agreement. And in Albany, nothing gets done until everything gets done."
Assemblymember Pat Fahy of the 109th district says in her 11 years of service she hasn't seen the budget go this late.
"You have different constituencies opposing parts of the housing compact than what you have of those who are trying to find some, I call them small, but very significant changes that are needed to address some of the public safety concerns," Fahy said. "And we have members who represent different areas of the state. And in some areas, those are tougher issues than in others. Long Island, for example, is a region that opposes the housing compact up here, I think there is more of a recognition that we truly need to grow our house, our housing stock, and protect tenants and address the predatory practices of some landlords."
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, a fellow Democrat, says she doesn't expect the budget delay to affect the city.
"There are some really important issues that are being debated and that are important to the governor and that need to be addressed before the budget moves forward," said Sheehan. "So, at this point, it's not impacting us and, you know, we hope that it gets resolved, but it needs to be resolved in a way that is good for all New Yorkers."