Budget Deal in New York State

More than a month overdue, Lawmakers in Albany finally passed a new state budget this week, a record 229-billion-dollar deal that will increase the minimum wage, and further tweak New York’s Bail Laws. Governor Kathy Hochul says the final budget deal was worth the wait. Hochul held out to get more changes to the state’s controversial bail reform laws, giving judges more discretion to set bail for people accused of serious crimes. The budget will also support the state’s move to clean energy and electrifying new buildings by 2026. And the minimum wage will start to rise to $17 in New York City and $16 for the rest of the state over three years. After that, it will automatically increase, every year, at the rate of inflation. Assemblyman Billy Jones joined us in our studio to talk about the budget deal that he says includes a lot of funding for programs in the North Country. State Senator Dan Stec says the bail reforms don’t go far enough, and that the budget is, in his words, “…a financial disaster riddled with bad policies.” Stec says despite promises to enact a prison reuse initiative for sites like Moriah Shock in Mineville, the issue was ignored. In a statement he also said rather than funding universal school lunches, something that has widespread bi-partisan support, the budget deal shortchanged that program in favor of, Stec says, “…providing several million to cannabis-related programs.”