New York faces a $6.1 billion budget gap and Assembly Democrats are discussing ways of closing that gap with new revenue sources — potentially a tax increase.
The Capitol is quiet right now, but in about a month the state Legislature is returning to face down a $6.1 billion budget gap.
Assembly Democrats in Albany on Tuesday, including Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, acknowledged that budget gap is something they'll have to tackle.
"This is going to be a situation that we have to deal with," Heastie said. "No one wants to see their health care be cut. I think that's one of life's guarantees."
Heastie doesn't want to cut spending, especially to the Medicaid program, which has fueled much of the budget gap. So finding $6 billion is going to have come to from somewhere. And it may come from the taxpayer.
"Unless money is going to fall from the sky, you're always going to have to try to do things," Heastie said. "And so when there's a concern about having enough money, the two options always are do you cut spending or do you raise revenue and for us in the Assembly we always believe in raising revenue."
Before you reach into your wallet, keep in mind the Assembly in the past has wanted to raise taxes on the super rich — typically people who make millions of dollars. And Gov. Cuomo has been hesitant to embrace any tax increases at all. And it could be another busy year for Albany with Democrats in charge of all levers of power in Albany — the governor's office, Assembly and Senate.
"I think we work well together," Heastie said. "There's hiccups in it. But I think overall the governor, the Assembly and the Senate worked well to give the most productive session in the history of Albany."
Lawmakers return January 8.