The state Assembly met briefly on Monday for some COVID-related houskeeping, extending the chamber's rules into the 2021 legislative session to allow for remote voting.
But whether any action will be taken as 2020 draws to close remains up in the air, as lawmakers are yet to agree on a package of measures that could include increasing taxes on upper income New Yorkers and protections for renters and homeowners.
"Getting something done here in Albany is a three legged stool," Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told reporters. "I just want to be clear that the members of the Assembly are perfectly fine with raising revenues for this budget gap."
Lawmakers are discussing a potential tax increase on wealthier New Yorkers to close the budget gap blown open by the economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. New York has lost billions of dollars in tax revenue over the last 10 months and could face a budget that cuts spending for education, local governments and health care next year.
At the moment, no income floor has been discussed, though proposals have ranged from starting at either $500,000 to $2 million for the tax increase. Lawmakers have met to discuss "every revenue source" to fill the state's coffers, including legalizing marijuana and expanding gambling in the state.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has acknowledged a tax increase is likely next year given New York's finances. But he wants to wait for a potential COVID stimulus bill that is expected to be proposed by the incoming Biden administration in early 2021.
A year-end stimulus measure Congress has agreed to includes $900 billion in spending for unemployment and small business relief as well as $600 checks to Americans who make less than $75,000. It also includes aid for mass transit agencies as well as other government support. But it does not include unrestricted funding for state and local governments to be made whole.
There's no guarantee a COVID stimulus measure in 2021 would pass under a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate, Heastie said.
"He's hopeful that Joe Biden, the Joe Biden administration is going to ride in like the calvary and save the day," Heastie said of Cuomo. "I'm hoping that is true. That's why those of us who are Democrats fought so hard to get a Democratic president."
Heastie added, "I just want to make sure there's some money being thrown into the pot."