Both the Assembly and Senate are expected to present their version of the state budget next week as the next step in approving a final plan before the start of the next state fiscal year on April 1st. Both houses then set up a conference committee with subcommittees in program areas to negotiate added spending. Key issues like the minimum wage and paid family leave will be left to negotiations by the Governor and legislative leaders. The Senate remains resistant to the minimum wage increase but Republican leaders seem more open to paid family leave if it is paid by employees. Governor Cuomo and coalition supporters have continued a campaign like advocacy for the program with another rally yesterday with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Both houses have been releasing details of their budget plans during the past few days. The Assembly and Senate are differing sharply on taxes. The Assembly wants to raise taxes on the wealthy and lower them slightly for everyone else. Republicans in the Senate are pushing for major cuts in the tax rate for everyone. Both houses are pushing for increases in state aid to education.
The Assembly budget includes a restoration of a cut and an increase to the NORCs (naturally occurring retirement communities) program in the State Office for the Aging budget. There was a cut of almost $1 million in the budget but the Assembly added $2 million more for the programs which provided services to neighborhoods and housing projects where older persons have “aged in place.”