Gov. Kathy Hochul is hopeful a state budget can be agreed to and approved by April 1, the start of New York's fiscal year.
But as she is also seeking contentious changes to New York's law that curtails cash bail in criminal cases, she's not ruling out holding up a budget deal in order to secure her preferred adjustments.
"I feel confident we'll be able to achieve an on-time budget," Hochul said at a news conference in Albany on Wednesday. "But if we don't, it will be because we have on going discussions about matters I deem exceedingly important."
Hochul wants to end the so-called "least restrictive" standard for when judges consider bail in cases involving serious criminal charges. The governor has argued the measures would clarify when cash bail should be required after an election season in which crime concerns dominated the debate.
Democrats in the state Legislature have signaled they oppose the changes and have not included the plan in their separate budget proposals, citing prior measures that have made alterations to the original 2019 law.
Proponents of the measure have argued ending cash bail is meant to address inequities in the criminal justice system. Opponents have argued the measures make New York less safe.
Hochul on Wednesday pointed to 2022 crime statistics showing murders and shootings down overall in New York. But index crimes or serious charges overall, have risen.
Last year, Hochul late in the budget process sought changes to the law that ultimately expanded the circumstances in which bail could be required. The changes were negotiated largely behind closed doors.
Hochul indicated on Wednesday the debate over the bail changes a year ago played out with a budget approved more than a week past the due date.
"It's my second budget if history i an indicator, I think people know I feel very strongly about certain issues," she said. "That's the only reason why our budget was late nine days last year."