Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reached a “conceptual agreement” with the state Legislature on this year’s state budget, a multibillion dollar spending plan that’s been complicated this year by the spread of COVID-19 in New York state.
Cuomo declined to offer details on the budget, saying it hasn’t been given final approval from Democrats, who were set to be briefed on the potential deal early Wednesday.
“We have a conceptual agreement with the leaders on the budget,” Cuomo said. “They’re going to go to their members today and talk to them about the agreement. And if the leaders are successful in their conferences, then we will pass the budget.”
Robert Mujica, the director of the state Division of Budget, confirmed that New York would be doing some short-term borrowing to bridge a gap in revenue between now and July. That gap was created when the state, like the federal government, moved its tax filing date.
“We have no choice but to issue short term borrowing to bridge the gap from the tax filing date change,” Mujica said. “That results in virtually no revenue coming in during that period. We still have expenditures during that period.”
Despite the chaos caused at the state capitol by COVID-19, Cuomo said Wednesday that the budget will include many of the policy items he proposed in January during his State of the State address. He said the global pandemic did not stifle efforts in that arena.
“With everything going on, we did not scale back our efforts or our ambitions to advance this state to greater heights. And you look at this budget, you would never know that anything else was going on,” Cuomo said. “It will be as productive a legislative session as we have had.”
He also confirmed that the spending plan would include a provision to allow adjustments in state spending throughout the year. That measure was included in a budget bill that was introduced early Wednesday.
It would essentially allow the state Division of Budget to look at the amount of revenue collected during a certain period of time and adjust spending based on whether those numbers are lower, or higher, than expected. The Legislature would be allowed to rebut those decisions.
“The numbers in the budget are going to be a little different with this caveat,” Cuomo said. “But the budget is basically the same on the numbers.”