New York Capital Brief:

Conceptual Budget Agreement Reached

After surpassing the statutory deadline by 28 days and counting, Governor Hochul confirmed in a surprise Thursday evening press conference that “a conceptual [budget] agreement has been reached.” State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie were not present for the announcement.

However, Speaker Heastie confirmed the achievement of a conceptual agreement. “While there are still some issues we need to discuss with our members, I am confident we will pass a Budget that meets our goals to make New York more affordable and place our state on a strong path forward,” Heastie said.

Governor Hochul’s announcement came after legislators headed home to their districts on Thursday afternoon; reports say they are due back in Albany this Sunday night.

The Governor and the Legislature must have a finalized Budget agreement in place or approve a sixth temporary extension of State spending by next Tuesday, May 2, to avoid disrupting State employee’s paychecks Comptroller DiNapoli said Wednesday. This is Governor Hochul’s first budget since being elected Governor and her second since taking office in August 2021. It’s also the most overdue budget in over a decade – and though the finish line is in sight, it’s still not done yet.

NYC Mayor Announces City’s Budget Plan

On Thursday, Mayor Eric Adams unveiled his plans for New York City’s budget, the largest in City history ($106.7B). Overall, Adams claims that the significant proposed increase in funding is necessary to address the influx of asylum seekers, new labor deals, and inflation.

The City anticipates that the cost of providing shelter, food, clothing, and other services for asylum seekers will be $4.3 billion through the end of FY24. By the end of June 2024, the City will be caring for an estimated 70,000 asylum seekers.

The City expects $1 billion in State aid and $600 million from the federal government to help pay for the asylum seekers.

“Our Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget prioritizes our working people’s agenda and keeps our City working for the benefit of all New Yorkers. But the challenges we face are real – including the costs of the asylum seeker crisis, the need to fund labor deals, and slowing tax revenue growth – and we must budget wisely,” said Mayor Adams.

COELIG Sues Cuomo, Cuomo Sues Back

The Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (COELIG) is continuing efforts set in motion by its predecessor panel, JCOPE, and filing charges against former Governor Andrew Cuomo. The charges include allegations that Cuomo used false pretenses to secure permission to write his $5M memoir, “American Crisis,” and illegally required State employees to work on the book.

In response, Cuomo filed a counter lawsuit in the Albany County Supreme Court this week, asking the Court to deem COELIG unconstitutional. His suit argues that the new structure of COELIG removes powers allowed to the Governor by the State’s constitution.

“In this way, the Act recognizes (even as it transgresses) the dictates of separation of powers that inhere when one branch of government is subjected to the disciplinary authority of another,” Cuomo’s lawsuit asserts. “Indeed, in light of those separation of powers principles, a constitutional amendment was required to empower the Commission on Judicial Conduct, a body composed of a hybrid of executive, legislative, and judicial appointees, to impose disciplinary sanctions against members of the judiciary for ethics violations.”

As a remedy, Cuomo is asking courts to stop COELIG from continuing investigative or enforcement actions. A spokesperson for COELIG declined to comment on the pending litigation.