The New York state Senate and Assembly’s one-house budgets released this week deliver good news for an array of interests from school districts to hospitals, to cannabis growers. They do this by raising $2.2 billion in new taxes on the state’s corporations as well as the state’s very highest earners, something Gov. Kathy Hochul has said is “a non-starter."

According to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the tax increases are important because the needs in the state are so great.

“We are trying to look at how we make ends meet,” Stewart-Cousins told Capital Tonight on Wednesday. “Just so people are clear, we are talking about, quite honestly, it's a half of percent on the 1% of the 1%. In other words, these are people earning over $5 million and over.”

On housing, the state Senate has said it is open to discussing a 421a kind of tax exemption for multi-family construction in New York City that includes labor standards, affordable housing requirements and tenant protections.

When asked if all those increased requirements wouldn’t necessitate a very large tax incentive to spur significant housing growth, the leader said the costs will be mitigated if state land is used. 

“Part of it in this (Mitchell-Lama) 2.0 plan would be the state identifying land around New York state that might be eligible for housing,” she said. “Then, working with developers, labor, so on and so forth, to, at a nominal cost, develop this land so we will have more and more affordable housing.”

On education, Hochul was asked about conducting a study to update the Foundation Aid formula, to which she responded, “that is how you would define kicking the can down the road."

When asked about that comment, Stewart-Cousins reiterated that the formula is almost 20 years old and needs to be updated.

“So, we are not kicking the can down the road. We had tried to get this study done last year. The governor vetoed that, and here we are again,” she said. “And meanwhile, the proposal that the governor put forward would cut 50% of the school districts in New York state. That’s problematic.”