New York Capital Brief:

NYS Capitol Building Reopens!

Governor Cuomo today announced that with 70 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older having received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series, the Empire State Plaza Complex, which includes the New York State Capitol and the Legislative Office Building, will reopen to the public on June 18.

Additionally, tours of the Capitol resume on Monday, June 21, and the popular outdoor tours of the Empire State Plaza will start up again on Wednesday, July 7. Unvaccinated individuals will continue to be responsible for wearing masks, in accordance with federal CDC guidance.

“Back in the New York Groove”

While surrounded by frontline workers, union representatives, and leaders spanning the healthcare, transportation, education, and retail sectors, Governor Cuomo announced on Tuesday that New York State has successfully vaccinated 70% of all New Yorkers. He proudly proclaimed that the State went from, “worst to first” in the fight again COVID-19 and beat President Biden’s July 4th goal by over two weeks. In addition, NY has reached the lowest positivity rate in the country, 0.40%.

To celebrate, all of New York’s assets were lit up “Empire blue and gold” and fireworks displays were held across the State on Tuesday night.


New York City Mayoral Race Remains a Toss Up 

The final New York Mayoral Democratic Primary debate aired Wednesday night, with the top eight candidates covering topics such as NYC’s budget, homelessness, mental illness, and crime.

This year’s debut of ranked-choice voting, a system that allows voters to choose up to five candidates in order of preference, makes the results all the more unpredictable.

Marist poll released this week showed Eric Adams ultimately beating Kathryn Garcia after 12 rounds of ranked-choice voting. But a different survey by the conservative Manhattan Institute has Eric Adams winning the most first-place votes, but narrowly losing to Garcia in the end.

Even if the polls hold and Adams comes out on top, there is no guarantee that he will ultimately win until all the ballot votes are tallied. New Yorkers could be waiting quite some time for results: First choice votes will be reported on election night, but ranked choice tabulations will not begin until at least a week later.

Early voting began on June 12th and the in-person primary will take place next Tuesday, June 22nd.


Sales Tax Revenue Grows Over 57%

On Wednesday, NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released a report showing that sales tax collection has grown by 57.8% compared to last May, which he says suggests the State’s economy is rebounding.

“For the second straight month, local sales tax collections had a tremendous boost. Strong collections in May show the economy continues to improve as spending rebounds from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the standstill it created in New York state in March 2020,” DiNapoli said. “Combined with direct federal assistance and restored state aid, the recovery of sales taxes will help New York’s local governments rebound from the effects of last year’s revenue shortfalls.”