Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Kathy Hochul’s $229 Billion Budget Fails to Address Housing

The New York governor’s budget proposal includes changes to the state’s bail laws and a continued effort to crack down on gun violence, but her previous housing plan was left out.

(TNS) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul outlined the framework of a $229 billion budget deal Thursday night in the state Capitol, hours after lawmakers left the statehouse following reports there was no deal on controversial policy issues yet to be resolved.

The deal includes changes to the state's bail laws and continues efforts to crack down on gun violence. It fully funds foundation aid for schools while also boosting the number of charter schools, expanding child care access and adding funding to implement the state's aggressive climate policies. The budget, though, failed to address Hochul's top goal: housing.

"This is a transformative budget and I will never shy away from a fight," Hochul said in the Red Room, promising to pick up the housing fight in the remainder of the legislative session. "You're not always going to win."

She was accompanied by a few of her key cabinet members but not by her fellow Democratic leaders, Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, with whom she has been negotiating for the last month.

Hochul pitched the budget deal as a plan that makes New York "safer, more affordable and more livable," as a part of achieving the New York "dream." It is the same concept she brought forward three months ago in her State of the State address. But her linchpin housing plan to double the expected housing growth over the next decade was eliminated.

The governor has long argued that increasing the housing supply is instrumental to making New York not only safer, but also stemming the state's nation-leading outmigration. Her plan faced stiff opposition from both suburban Democrats, who adamantly opposed state mandates and overrides of local zoning, as well as outcry from progressives who ridiculed a housing plan without substantial tenant protections.

Housing "has been central to my agenda since day one," Hochul said Thursday. "That's why I proposed a bold housing plan and I believe bold action is required to meet the scale of this crisis. The Legislature saw it differently."

She pledged to "not walk away" from the issue. She hinted at changes that could be done through executive action.

"It is a disgraceful in 2023 we can't open up our communities to multi-family housing," Hochul said. "It's not going to be easy, but I didn't come here to do easy."

Hochul opened the news conference with the issue that took up the most time in budget negotiations: changes to the state's bail laws. She said she has agreed to terms with the Legislature on her initial stated goal to return the discretion judges had prior to 2019 to hold defendants accused of "serious crimes" on bail or in jail pretrial.

In the final days of negotiations, reports indicated plans to change the discovery law as well, which came at the behest of at least two New York City district attorneys. But just hours before Hochul held her budget announcement, reports signaled the agreement had dropped out.

"Since this was not going to do what they asked for in their minds, we decided to pull it," Hochul said of legislators.

Both prosecutors, as Hochul initially proposed, and public defenders, as Democratic lawmakers wanted, will each receive $40 million to implement the state's more rigorous discovery requirements.

(c)2023 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
From Our Partners