Budget Negotiations Gear Up
The General Budget Conference Committee, known colloquially as “The Mothership,” held its first meeting this Monday, officially kicking off budget negotiations for the fiscal year that starts April 1. The “Mothership” sets ‘table targets’ which are determined amounts of money that can be allocated by lawmakers for various initiatives. On Tuesday, the Joint Budget Conference Committees met to cover budget topics in more detail. The committees convened to discuss items including public protection, environment, labor, health care, economic development, and more. Following these meetings, Governor Hochul, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and other Legislative leaders will enter negotiations behind closed doors in an effort to reach the final budget.
Outside Funding Bolsters Gov.’s Budget Battle
On Tuesday, a New York Times report found that billionaire and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has invested $5 million in funding into an ad campaign and targeted mailers to legislator’s districts to bolster Governor Hochul’s budget proposals. According to the Times Union, Senator Hoylman-Sigal, a Manhattan Democrat, expressed concerns that Bloomberg may oppose the Legislature’s proposed tax hikes on those making at least $5 million annually.
The three-term former mayor has not commented on his support of Governor Hochul, and his advisers declined to comment Tuesday. The group Bloomberg is funding, American Opportunity, has also been silent about its funding sources, despite its apparent ties to the Democratic Governors Association.
At a Capitol news conference on Wednesday, Governor Hochul declined to respond directly to questions about Bloomberg’s financial backing.
“I’m happy to receive the support of the people from all over the state of New York,” Hochul said.