State lawmakers are presenting their own budget plans this week as the negotiations take on a new phase.
The Assembly wants to raise taxes on the rich. The state Senate avoids that but adds more money for education.
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic wants to help local governments fix their roads. She's backing a provision in the Assembly's budget plan that would add $12.7 million in funding to reimburse cities for needed maintenance.
“Infrastructure always seems to be the buzzword until you get to the actual budget,” said Rozic. “So I'm hopeful this year will actually put money in and help out these local cities.”
The budgets released by the Assembly and Senate this week seek to add a billion dollars more in education aid to schools, plus more money for health care.
“The Assembly's resolution is really just an indication of what we believe in,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
Governor Cuomo meanwhile focused on a point of contention: A permanent extension of the state's cap on property taxes. In a radio interview, he criticized the Assembly for not having passed it yet and accused Democrats of being beholden to the state's teachers union.
“They are protecting or carrying their agenda for people who are against the tax cap,” said Cuomo. “Who’s against the tax cap? In New York City, it’s primarily the teachers union.”
This was rebuked by Heastie.
“It's really inflammatory to make those statements about peoples motives,” said Heastie. “I never do that to him about his budget and what goes around him. I think it's wholly disrespectful and inappropriate to question the Assembly's motives.”
Cuomo has also said lawmakers can't come to an an agreement on marijuana legalization. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins disagreed.
“There's at least some level of agreement between the sponsors in the two houses,” said Stewart-Cousins. “As far as I knew, there was advance in those conversations. I don't know why he's saying that.”
Senate Republicans meanwhile knocked the budget for potentially including tax and fee hikes, including a new property tax surcharge on second homes worth more than $5 million.
“A million people have left our state in the last decade,” said Senator Rich Funke. “I used to think Escape from New York was just a movie. But it appears our state is beginning to mimic fiction.”
The budget is expected to pass March 31.