New York's state budget should be about "equity" Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Tuesday said as Gov. Andrew Cuomo maintains the spending does not require significant increases in taxes.
The stance has once again pitted the state's prominent Democrats against one another on how New York should fund and pay for education and health care. And it comes against the back drop of a $12.5 billion stimulus package sent to New York by the federal government to offset losses during the pandemic.
"It takes care for what happened to us during COVID," Stewart-Cousins said during a news conference. "It doesn't take care of the budget."
Democrats in the Legislature have proposed about $7 billion in new taxes, mostly impacting wealthy earners and the financial industry. Business groups, however, have warned that raising taxes now amid the pandemic-induced recession will lead to a further exodus of people from the state.
Cuomo's top budget advisor on Monday said the additional revenue, along with the stimulus money, negated the need for tax increases as proposed by state lawmakers.
But Democrats in the Legislature want to boost funding in the budget, with the stated goal of aiding those who were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, including immigrants, lower income people and poor school districts in the state.
"I think it's important we recall that before we got into this budget season we had a deficit," Stewart-Cousins said during a news conference. "We're looking for a way to sustain the ability for us to pay for the things that New Yorkers need and really prosper. We're looking at equity and keeping the funding going."
The budget is due at the end of next week.