To counter the Executive’s earlier budget proposal, the New York State Assembly passed its own “one-house” budget resolution last month. According to supporters, the resolution is not just a counterproposal; it’s a statement of priorities, reflecting a deep commitment to education, healthcare, and economic fairness.

The Assembly’s budget increases overall spending by $13.1 billion, or 5.6%, over Governor Hochul’s proposal. While these numbers might seem large, they represent just 0.66% of New York’s Gross Domestic Product for 2023, according to Assemblyperson Sarahana Shrestha.

Among the changes was a rejection of the deep funding cuts for local schools that had been proposed, including 23.8% for Rhinebeck and 10.1% for Red Hook, which would result in big property tax increases.

Shrestha emphasized the importance of reinvesting in New Yorkers through public services, a critical step towards a just budget that benefits everyone.

“We must remember that for our budget to be a just budget, a fair share of our growing economy must continually come back to New Yorkers in the form of public investments,” wrote Shrestha.

A notable aspect of the Assembly’s proposal is its approach to funding. It outlines $13.7 billion in additional revenues, primarily through federal receipts, managed care proposals, and increased taxes on large corporations and the ultra-rich. This approach has received widespread support, especially from those directly affected, such as teachers, nurses, and service providers.

The Assembly’s budget aims to:

  • Prevent significant cuts to education, fully expanding the free school meal program and increasing funding for state universities.
  • Maintain crucial healthcare funding, supporting financially distressed hospitals.
  • Enhance environmental and energy programs, including a significant boost to the Environmental Protection Fund and restoration of funding for clean water infrastructure.

This budget also sets the stage for major discussions on housing, emphasizing the need for tenant protections and reasonable rent regulations.

Shrestha says that the Assembly’s focus is clear: to ensure economic growth benefits all New Yorkers, not just the wealthiest.

Next up? A three-way negotiation between the Assembly, Senate, and Governor to produce a final budget.

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