ALBANY – After a week of extended negotiations on New York State’s overdue budget, lawmakers have reached a deal to pass the spending bill.
There are several key items included in the $220 billion dollar plan, ranging from addressing some concerns about the state’s controversial bail reform, to working on a plan to make alcohol-to-go permanent and addressing needs of the childcare industry.
“Proud to announce that we’re investing over $7 billion over four years into childcare. Let me repeat that, $7 billion over four years into childcare. That’s more than double the level of New York’s current support for childcare subsidies,” Hochul explained.
The budget also allocates over $224 million dollars to fund gun violence prevention programs and begin the process to amend the state’s controversial bail reform.
“We are now for the first time going to allow judges to set bail for gun charges that were previously subject only to release,” continued Hochul. “Also adding factors that a judge must consider.”
Senator George Borrello, a longtime advocate for public safety in the Empire State, feels the new policies don’t go far enough to fix issues.
“Quite frankly even those changes are not even stretching the surface of fixing the public safety disaster that was created by the changes to bail reform laws.” Borrello continued. “They are going to do some smoke and mirror tactics, to do something that makes it look like they’ve done something about bail reform, but really fundamentally nothing.”
Among other priorities addressed in the spending plan, Hochul says is relieving financial stress for New Yorkers, like the rising gas prices.
“This budget will put more money back in people’s pockets. We all wanted to make sure that that was the outcome, and lift those who have been hardest hit,” Hochul furthered. “Therefore, we are providing tax relief for middle-class families, as well as a new property tax credit for middle income households, an investment of $2.2 billion, that’ll help approximately 2.5 million homeowners.”
Hochul also touts a push to help revitalize the restaurant industry.
“So effective upon signing the budget, which I hope happens really soon, we’ll immediately legalize the sale of to-go alcoholic drinks,” concluded Hochul.
According to the bill’s text, if you’re getting cocktails to go, you must also order with it a “substantial food item” and the drinks must be served in secured containers.
Bars and restaurants will not be allowed to sell any bottles of liquor or wine and sales of to-go beverages must be sold at the same price as it is sold for if consumed on the premises.