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Questions loom as lawmakers return to deal with budget, or at least a budget extender

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  • Staff Report 

On Monday, the state Legislature reconvened in Albany to discuss a week-long extension for funding state operating costs and payroll as lawmakers have yet to reach a budget agreement.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The Legislature is set to consider a temporary spending measure that would finance New York’s government until April 17. This funding is anticipated to cover the institutional payroll for around 83,000 state workers. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli cautioned last week that the budget extension must be approved by noon to prevent any disruption in state employee payments.

Additionally, the budget provision is expected to allocate $9 million for AIDS drugs for health care providers. This follows recent changes to a Medicaid prescription drug program known as 304B, according to a source familiar with the plan. Health care providers offering safety net services for low-income Medicaid patients have expressed concerns about the changes and the potential impact on their reimbursement under the program. However, state Medicaid officials maintain that patients will not experience any disruption in services or access to prescription medication.

The state budget for New York is now over a week overdue, with Democratic lawmakers and Governor Kathy Hochul still in disagreement over alterations to New York’s 2019 bail law. The governor has advocated for eliminating the least restrictive provision for considering bail in serious criminal charges.

Governor Hochul stated on Saturday that her priorities have been clear from the beginning: “I’m going to work to make sure the judges have the discretion they should have.”

Furthermore, Hochul has proposed a statewide housing plan designed to promote the development of 800,000 new housing units over the next decade.