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One month past deadline, lawmakers to start looking at budget bills

One month past deadline, lawmakers to start looking at budget bills (WRGB)
One month past deadline, lawmakers to start looking at budget bills (WRGB)
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Right now, lawmakers are preparing to begin finally looking at budget bills, a month after the 2024 state fiscal plan was originally due.

This comes after Gov. Kathy Hochul announced last week a conceptual agreement was in place, setting the stage for the legislature to debate and vote this week. But, the turnaround time is a bit of a debate of its own, as there are some unresolved issues. Some lawmakers say these past few days have been time enough to get the language down, but many Republicans have been pushing for no messages of necessity to speed things up.

Asm. Chris Tague: “We're not gonna be happy with just passing a bill on Tuesday or Wednesday, just a message of necessity from the governor. That takes all the transparency out of it, it doesn't allow either one of our conferences to read or have the ability to read through and comprehend all the bills."

MORE: Lawmakers say they want a more transparent and timely budget process

Tom: “So you'll have enough time to look at everything?”

Asm. John McDonald: “Yes absolutely, once again we work by committees, we have a lot of different committees.”

The housing debate will happen outside the budget, as Governor Hochul confirmed they could not come to an agreement on the New York Housing Compact, which had the goal of building 800,000 homes over the next decade. The Governor included the ability to override zoning restrictions along with some funding in her proposal, while the legislature proposed more funding to incentivize growth.

"The legislature saw it differently," Governor Hochul said. "They're not ready to commit to the kind of transformative change I proposed. And I know change can be hard, but we're not walking away from this issue, and I won't stop working hard and fighting to make housing more affordable for New Yorkers."

Lawmakers say they agree the issue of affordable housing needs to be addressed, with some even frustrated the topic won't be a part of the discussion this week.

"I was not someone who took a position on her housing plan," Assemblyman Tague says. "I wanted to learn more. Hoping that in the budget during debate, and through the budget bills, we would actually be able to see how this was going to be able to work."

While they say housing will need to be addressed over the course of the rest of the legislative session, how some properties are built will be debated during the final stage of the process this week.

The Governor says they have an agreement to ban natural gas in new construction in small buildings by 2025 and in large buildings in 2028. Opponents have questioned the affordability of the transition, and some lawmakers want the State to set the standard.

"With Upgrade New York, New York is investing their own money, working with organized labor and working with business to try and transform some of our buildings to be the example using geothermal energy," McDonald says.

The official next session starts at 10 am on Monday in the Assembly; the Senate is on call. The next extender needs to be passed by Tuesday for state workers’ checks to go out. Lawmakers expect an extender vote Monday.