The state budget is now a week late, but lawmakers expect to finish voting by Wednesday night.
Democrats this year were able to push through major policy items in the budget that in years past, Republicans and even Governor Andrew Cuomo has blocked.
But now that Democrats have a supermajority in both houses, which would allow them to override any vetoes the governor might issue, this could have played a role in helping push these items across the finish line.
“This would not have happened had we not taken the Senate Majority a couple of years back,” Deputy Senate Majority Leader Mike Gianaris said, hailing the passage of the budget in the Senate. “Would not have happened if we didn't defeat the IDC a couple years back. Would not have happened if we didn't get the supermajority in this last election.”
Included in the state budget this year are expansive tax hikes on millionaires and corporations, a proposal Governor Cuomo tried to push back on.
Cuomo tried to soften the blow during his budget presentation, by saying that taxes would go down once SALT or the state and local tax deduction cap is repealed by Congress.
“Taxes go up? No,” Governor Cuomo said. “SALT will reduce the tax impact by 37% so when SALT is repealed the taxes will be going down.”
“I don't know what he's got to do to explain why he didn't get his way in his budget, but the fact is the budget speaks for itself,” Senator Gianaris retorted. “We did the right thing. We asked the people who were wealthy to contribute to our recovery. We did it in an unprecedented fashion and we haven't stopped. So he's going to say what he's going to say.”
Democratic lawmakers were also able to push through a proposal that will provide $2.1 billion in unemployment benefits to undocumented immigrants who did not receive any federal aid.
There was slight pushback on this fund from some of the more moderate Democrats, but ultimately the bill was passed.
Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt says this $2.1 billion could have gone a long way towards other initiatives such as small business relief, veteran programs and more.
“It also shows you who runs the chambers today,” Senator Ortt said. “It’s the progressives. It’s New York City. No matter what upstate or Long Island member says, they are the people driving the bus here in Albany. Even the governor couldn’t push back.”
The Legislature did pass a budget extender, so although voting was still getting wrapped up on Wednesday night, state workers shouldn’t see too much of a delay with their paychecks.