New York Lawmakers Pass 2020 State Budget Lawmakers Pass 2020 State Budget

Here’s a breakdown of how it will impact Central New Yorkers.

SIGWORTH: Topping the news at this hour, New York lawmakers came to an agreement on the 2020 state budget. NCC News’ Jenna Webster reports that Governor Andrew Cuomo wanted to address the harder issues in the budget.

WEBSTER: This includes reforming the MTA and criminal justice system, as well as congestion pricing. Cuomo explains why these issues have not been addressed before.

CUOMO: “Because they were controversial and hard. We are here to do the hard ones, because those are the ones that need to be achieved…End it. Fix it. That’s what we’re doing.”

WEBSTER: This was the first budget in a decade to be negotiated by all Democrats. Cuomo says it is the most progressive statement New York has made.

CUOMO: “When you govern, you govern to the moment. You govern to the time.”

WEBSTER: Not included is the legalization of marijuana. Jenna Webster, NCC News.

Albany, N.Y. (NCC News)—While the sun rose on April 1 and alarm clocks rang to wake New York residents up for the start of the week, state lawmakers faced a much different reality. They, instead, were finding their way back to bed after finalizing the state budget just after 7 a.m. Monday.

“It includes funding increases for our school districts, additional and recurring revenue for Centro, enacts new criminal justice reforms, continues evaluation of campaign finance reforms, protects our environment and restores critical healthcare funding,” Assemblymember William Magnarelli said in an email to NCC News when asked how the budget will impact Central New York.

Legislators did not include the legalization of marijuana in the $175.5 billion budget.

Here’s a breakdown of several of the  items Magnarelli referenced in his statement.

Plastic Bag Ban: Starting March 1, 2020, supermarkets and other retailers will no longer provide single-use plastic bags. The legislators gave  counties the option to charge shoppers 5 cents for paper bags, with the money going to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and another fund to buy reusable bags.

Education Spending: Lawmakers increased funding for public education by $1 billion and more than $700 million will be allocated to poorer districts. Additionally, all districts must report how they allocate their funding to each school. Legislators have not announced how much Syracuse schools will receive.

Health Care: The budget allocates $700 million more for spending on Medicaid and additional health care programs. It also makes both the federal Affordable Care Act and the state’s Health Exchange state law.

Criminal Justice Reforms: Legislators addressed several reforms of the criminal justice system. They eliminated cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent arrests. In the past, those opposed to cash bail said that it kept innocent people incarcerated because they couldn’t afford to pay their bail. Officers are required to issue an appearance ticket instead of taking someone into custody for a low-level crime. Prosecutors and defense attorneys are also required to share all pre-trial information with the defense.

Voting: Employers must give employees three hours off work on Election Day to cast their ballots and must pay them for  those  three hours. Additionally, legislators set aside $10 million to help counties  implement the state’s advanced voting legislation it passed earlier this year.

Public Campaign Financing: Legislators created a state commission to establish a public campaign financing system for statewide offices and Senate and Assembly races. It includes an annual $100 million in public funds for campaigns.

Water Infrastructure: Legislators added $500 million more to fund water infrastructure projects, with the goal to make the water cleaner.

A Democratic-led state Senate and Assembly and Democratic Governor Cuomo negotiated the budget. This was the first budget to be negotiated by all Democrats in a decade.

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Jenna Webster

Jenna Webster is a sophomore Broadcast and Digital Journalism major at Syracuse University with minors in Sport Management and Political Science. She currently works at Citrus TV, the campus's student-run television station and previously wrote for the Daily Orange. Jenna is from the Bay Area in California and prefers the sunny state over the Syracuse snow!

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