Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday said state Republicans continue to perpetuate chaos with inaction as thousands of migrants come to New York seeking refuge, and demanded they urge their colleagues in the state's congressional delegation to back a bipartisan deal on immigration and border restrictions if they want to see the humanitarian crisis resolved.
Senate Republicans in Albany proposed a legislative package to counter Hochul's education proposals in her executive budget that would change the amount of school Foundation Aid for districts with declining enrollment. The governor has proposed to end the "Hold Harmless" provision that ensures schools receive the same amount of aid as the year before.
State Republicans harshly question Hochul's decision to alter school funding while simultaneously proposing to spend $2.4 billion to assist New York City with the migrant crisis, including $500 million from the state's reserves fund. But Hochul lambasted the state GOP for not putting more pressure on their counterparts in Washington to achieve a compromise.
"They don't really want to solve this — they like the chaos it's created," Hochul told reporters at the Capitol in Albany. "You created this by your inability and intentional inability to sign onto to what Sen. Chuck Schumer has been negotiating and what President Joe Biden wants."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday said federal lawmakers continue to work out issues to reach a deal, which will require both political parties working together. President Joe Biden has said he would shut down the Southern border after Congress reaches a deal, but House Speaker Mike Johnson warned a bipartisan deal would be “dead on arrival."
"[Biden's] done everything Republican have asked them to do, and now, they keep moving the goal posts further and further back," Hochul said. "...There is a deal waiting to be signed. They create the chaos."
Hochul wants to draw down $500 million from a surplus in the state's reserves, or "rainy day" fund, that has more than 15% of the state's $233 billion budget to commit $2.4 billion to help asylum seekers. The money in reserve is distinct from budget formulas that fund schools and health care, and cannot be blended together.
"Republicans... really display a lack of fundamental knowledge when it comes to basic budgeting," Hochul added. "...Don't be disingenuous and try to scare people about education funding.
"We knew we needed something dramatic to help the city stabilize," she said. "We thought it was important for New York to help the mayor manage this."
Hochul fully funded Foundation Aid and increased education funding by more than $7 billion since taking office in 2021, but has said with upcoming budget shortfalls in the coming years, the higher investments could not be sustained.
As schools sit on a surplus, the governor says the "Hold Harmless" provision must be reviewed and discussed amid significant outmigration and reduced student enrollment.
"The taxpayers cannot do this every year," she said. "Why do we have a funding formula that requires us to pay for people who don't exist? We have empty seats in schools. ...Why are we funding a program for kids who are not there? I'm happy to talk about this anytime, anywhere, with anybody who will listen, but we're trying to inject common sense into the conversation."