State Budget Misses Deadline … not an April Fool’s Joke!
April 1 marks the start of a new fiscal cycle in New York, but as of April 2nd, the final spending plan remains in limbo, as the Legislature and Governor continue to seek common ground on a number of hot-topic proposals. Due to COVID restrictions and the Capitol being closed to the public, the budget negotiation process more opaque than ever with private meetings conducted virtually.
So, what happens now that the budget is late?
According to the State Comptroller, the legislature would need to pass a budget, or a minimum an extension law, by April 5th in order to prevent a delay in paychecks for public employees.
Recreational Marijuana Gets the ‘Green’ Light
After years of debating and negotiating with the legislature, Governor Cuomo signed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act on Wednesday, making New York the 17th state to legalize adult-use (21+), recreational cannabis.
The new law authorizes the establishment of the Office of Cannabis Management to implement a comprehensive regulatory framework that would cover medical, adult-use and cannabinoid hemp. The law also expunges previous marijuana convictions and provides licensing for marijuana producers, distributors, retailers, and other actors in the cannabis market. It also creates a social and economic equity program with the goal of assisting individuals disproportionately impacted by cannabis enforcement who are interested in participating in the industry. The Governor and Legislature project that the State will collect $350 million in related taxes and create 30,000 to 60,000 jobs.
Click here to read the Governor’s press release.
On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo announced that New Yorkers ages 30 and older are eligible to receive the COVID vaccine beginning March 30th. Beginning on April 6th, all those ages 16+ are eligible to get vaccinated. This expanded eligibility aligns New York State with President Biden’s vaccine rollout agenda.
“Today we take a monumental step forward in the fight to beat COVID. Beginning March 30, all New Yorkers age 30 or older will be able to be vaccinated, and all New Yorkers age 16 or older will be eligible on April 6, well ahead of the May 1 deadline set by the White House,” Governor Cuomo said.
To schedule an appointment at a State-run vaccine location, click here.