NY lawmakers scramble to get budget done amid pandemic

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Despite all the energy being put into responding to the coronavirus pandemic in New York, lawmakers still have a budget deadline to meet.

But with so much uncertainty, and an order of social distancing, the budget is being handled through remote voting by using teleconference services and working in their districts.

“We have to finish the budget to tell you the size of the budget,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

The budget for the state’s new fiscal year is due on Wednesday, April 1.

“We do a budget on the projections we now have,” Cuomo explained. “If we get more funding, we increase the allocations. If we don’t get more funding, we reduce the allocations.”

If the government provides additional funding, Cuomo said New York could have more money later on.

“But am I going to say to the people of this state ‘I believe the federal government is going to deliver money to the state government?’ Heard it before and it didn’t happen,” he said.

Last week, the Governor said education aid could be cut if the federal government doesn’t deliver. In a column, Assemblyman Ed Ra said the “state budget requires decisive, bipartisan action.”

He wrote:

“That means keeping state government running. That means prioritizing resources for our healthcare system, and it means providing needed relief for small businesses and hardworking families whose livelihoods are on the line.”

In a blog post, David Friedfel, with the Citizens Budget Commission, wrote:

“The need to focus on preparing New York State for an uncertain future should take precedence over policy proposals that can be revisited in the coming months.”

The Governor said that it’s unlikely a deal will be struck on legalizing marijuana in the budget. He did say reforms to bail reform have to get done.

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