The Examiner

‘Conceptual Agreement’ Reached on New York State Budget

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday afternoon that legislative leaders had reached “a conceptual agreement” on the state’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget despite the possibility of gaping deficits caused by loss of revenue from the coronavirus.

Cuomo, addressing the spending plan during his daily briefing, declined to reveal details until Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins had the chance review the budget with their fellow lawmakers. That was expected to be done throughout Wednesday.

Despite the health crisis, which has caused a broad shutdown of much of the economy and the postponement of the income tax filing date until July 15, the budget will include some of the key policy proposals outlined in January.

“When we did the State of the State, we had a lot of policy ideas, a lot of reforms for this state that would help many, many New Yorkers and make this state once again the progressive leader on the environment, on social justice, racial justice, and all of these items are still in this budget,” Cuomo said.

State Budget Director Robert Mujica said the budget will include $105 billion in state operations, but would be scaled back as the year progresses should a projected $10 billion shortfall materialize. There will also be some money that comes in after July 15 because once taxpayers file along with the possibility of federal money that could reduce the deficit, he said.

“Over time, we’re going to look and see if revenues come in, then we will put those revenues in the prospective spending areas as proposed by the governor,” Mujica said. “If they do not, then we will have to make these adjustments and we would have to reduce the budget overall.”

Over the next three-and-half months, the state would have to take on short-term borrowing to bridge the gap, he said.

Cuomo praised his staff and the legislature, calling it “incredible” for coming to a tentative budget agreement on Apr. 1 under the circumstances. Legislators met via videoconferencing for much of the past two to three weeks.

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