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Hochul plans to negotiate policy back into budget, after legislature leaves it out

A side view of Gov. Kathy Hochul talking into a microphone on a podium to a group of people.
Office of the Governor
Gov. Kathy Hochul talks to members of the New York State Association of Counties during their 2022 Legislative Conference Monday.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said she’s planning to negotiate several of her policy priorities back into this year’s state budget, after both the State Senate and Assembly largely rejected those items in their respective rebuttal spending plans this week.

Hochul, speaking to reporters Monday evening, said there’s precedent for including policy in the budget, and that she didn’t want to run out the clock on this year’s legislative session.

“Yes, we’ll have policy in the budget,” Hochul said, “and I believe that it makes sense — especially when we have a shortened time frame. The Legislature plans on leaving in early June, and we want to get it all done.”

Hochul said she was confident she would be able to work with leadership in the state Legislature to make that happen.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) told reporters Monday afternoon that a majority of members in his chamber have said they would prefer a state budget stripped of policy and focused solely on spending and revenue.

That was reflected in the Assembly’s one-house budget resolution, which was approved by members Monday. The Senate approved their resolution Monday as well.

“We just took out, pretty much I think, all of the policy, and we’ll just have discussions on that later on,” Heastie said. “We just wanted to put forward a fiscal document.”

Both the Senate and Assembly left several of the policy items Hochul proposed as part of this year’s state budget out of their respective one-house spending plans.

Hochul, for example, had proposed to permanently legalize alcohol-to-go, a pandemic-era policy that allowed restaurants to sell cocktails with takeout. That option ended last year when the state’s disaster emergency related to the pandemic expired.

Neither the Senate nor the Assembly included alcohol-to-go in their one-house spending plans, but Hochul said it will remain a top priority for her this year.

“I want to make sure that happens. We’ll find the right venue to get it done,” Hochul said. “I don’t want to cut off that lifeline that our businesses are begging for, and I want to make sure that we get it through before the end of session.”

The state budget is due at the end of March, ahead of the start of the state’s new fiscal year on April 1.