State lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul will not reach an agreement by the end of the day for a spending plan for New York amid a lack of agreement over key criminal justice issues.
Making changes to New York's bail law that end cash bail requirements for many criminal charges remains up in the air, though lawmakers on Thursday said progress has been made on the issue.
"We are going to have a timely budget, and we are making progress," Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said on Thursday.
Hochul wants to expand the circumstances in which cash bail is required to include gun charges and alleged repeat offenses as well as changes to laws requiring faster access to evidence during the discovery process. Much of the language under discussion for the changes is technical in nature, but the push is driven by rising voter concerns over crime in the state.
But firm agreements to move forward on the contentious issue have been elusive so far as Hochul has indicated she is pushing for a major package of public safety and criminal justice measures that could address the sealing of criminal records as well as more efforts to crackdown on gun trafficking.
Assembly Democrats as well as Democrats in the state Senate are expected to leave Albany later on Thursday. They are still expected to meet in virtual settings to discuss the budget talks.
"If you know me, I'm not sitting around casting blame. We are constantly working toward consensus. It's about rolling up our sleeves and getting it done," Stewart-Cousins said.
Republicans, meanwhile, blasted the lack of any apparent agreements on the consequential issues in the budget.
“The people of New York expect and deserve an on-time budget," said Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay. "It’s a simple, straightforward requirement of state government. Unfortunately, Gov. Hochul and her Democrat colleagues in the Legislature have proven they are unable to meet that very basic expectation, and as a result the multi-billion dollar spending plan that impacts every facet of operations in New York is in limbo. Another year of Democrats’ dysfunction has resulted in little more than needless gridlock. Leaving Albany on March 31 without an agreement is embarrassing.”
Meanwhile, lawmakers continued to expect some agreements on allowing restaurants to provide takeout drinks with to-go orders, a provision that was allowed during the economic shutdown amid the early weeks of the pandemic and was seen as a lifeline for struggling restaurants.
Lawmakers also expect a suspension of the state sales tax on gasoline to be included in the budget at this point, possibly beginning in May and running through the end of the year.
Hochul and lawmakers are also considering a $3 billion increase for child care programs in the state.
While the budget is due April 1, many officials consider the "real" deadline to be Monday, when a stopgap spending measure would be needed in order to continue to fund the state government while a broader deal is still being negotiated.