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Lawmakers wrap up budget with mixed feelings on affordability and public safety

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  • Staff Report 

As the New York state budget process concluded, lawmakers expressed mixed feelings about the achievements and shortcomings in areas critical to voters: affordability and public safety.

Despite the Democratic majority in the legislature and the governorship, internal differences prolonged the budget’s finalization by almost three weeks.


One key issue, championed by Queens Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas, was the expansion of free healthy school lunches for all New York students. Although the proposal enjoyed bipartisan support and significant backing from various advocacy groups, it failed to secure sufficient funding in Governor Kathy Hochul’s executive budget and was excluded from the final budget package.

Governor Hochul highlighted the inclusion of measures aimed at enhancing public safety, such as new felony penalties for assaulting retail workers and tax credits for retailers to curb theft. However, Republican Assembly Member Michael Reilly voiced concerns about the application of bail reform laws, despite some of his proposals being incorporated into the budget.