Breaking down the NYS budget process

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State budget deadline is one month away, and there’s a lot to pick through in the $178 billion proposal.

When it comes to what’s include in the state budget, David Friedfel with the Citizens Budget Commission says it can vary year-to-year. But most measures have a fiscal impact.

“Sometimes, items like a criminal justice issue, or something like that, may not appear to have a fiscal impact, but it would perhaps change how much spending would happen in the corrections department of the state,” he explained. “Or it may call for an increase — or even a decrease — in local aid to local governments because their responsibilities may change.”

Another factor is the Governor’s agenda.

“The Governor has a tremendous amount of power in the budget negotiating process, so if it’s a policy that the Governor is particularly interested in, they may choose to include it in the budget because they would have kind of a leg up in getting it passed,” Friedfel said.

This year, again, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he’d like to see marijuana legalization passed through the budget.

“I believe it is best done in the budget,” he said. “I said that last year. I believe the budget is the opportunity, frankly, to make some tough decisions and work through tough issues.”

And while issues that aren’t expected to have a fiscal impact are often passed as stand-alone bills, he said in most years, you will see a few of those policy changes included in the budget as well.

“The other side of it is sometimes a policy will be included because an entity is being either hurt or benefited in some way financially and the state can adopt a policy that can either offset those changes,” Friedfel said.

Another big issue lawmakers are expected to work through during the budget are tweaks to bail reform.

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