New York Capital Brief:

Encore for Former Budget Director

On Tuesday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the appointment of Robert Megna as New York State Budget Director. Mr. Megna starts immediately and plans to serve through this legislative session and assist with the search for a long-term Budget Director before returning to SUNY, where he serves as President of the Rockefeller Institute of Government and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor. Mr. Megna has served two previous Governors, David Paterson and Andrew M. Cuomo, as the top official at the State Division of Budget.


Budget Process Update

As the April 1st Budget deadline approaches, New York lawmakers and Governor Hochul have about a month left on the State Budget clock.

On Tuesday the Legislature’s financial leadership gathered for the “Economic & Revenue Consensus Forecasting Conference Meeting.” Members of both majorities and the minorities of each House attended, as well as the State Budget Director and the State Comptroller. Presentations from several economic experts contributed to the considerations as each House estimated anticipated revenues.

For SFY 2023-24, the Assembly Ways and Means Committee’s All Funds revenue forecast is $1.1 billion above the Executive’s estimates; while the Senate Finance Committee staff forecasts that All Funds receipts, including federal sources, will total $226 billion, which is $1.3 billion or 1% higher than the Executive Budget financial plan forecast. Finally, the group reached a consensus on a two-year revenue forecast of $800 million above the Executive Budget which will be amended and reflected in the 30-day Financial Plan Update.

With the revenue forecast consensus in place, lawmakers will advance their One-House budget bills, reflecting the priorities of each House in reaction to the Governor’s Executive Budget.  We expect the One-House budgets to be released late next week, or early the week of March 13th.

Chief Judge Search Continues

Governor Hochul’s selection of Hector LaSalle for Chief Judge last December was met with opposition from progressive advocates and labor unions. They raised concerns with his judicial record on labor issues and criminal justice policy. LaSalle defended his record, arguing it had been taken out of context during a lengthy confirmation hearing in January.

In January, the State Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his nomination, an unprecedented action for a nominee to New York’s top court. Hochul did not move to formally withdraw LaSalle and in the weeks after the committee’s vote did not rule out a lawsuit to force a full floor vote.