Hochul: Conceptual state budget agreement reached

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Nearly a month after its April 1 due date, New York state lawmakers have approved a conceptual budget agreement, Gov. Hochul said.

“I know this budget process has taken a little extra time, but our commitment to the future of New York was driving this,” said Hochul. “What was important is not a race to a deadline, but a race to the right results.”

Hochul announced the details in a Thursday evening address at the state Capitol in Albany.

The $229 billion budget includes big investments in gun violence prevention, mental health care and abortion access.

It also includes $34.5 billion for schools and $400 million to help New Yorkers with utility bills.

Hochul also announced big changes to New York state’s bail laws.

The agreement removes the “least restrictive” standard, which tied many judge’s hands, said Hochul, and gives judges more discretion to hold violent criminals accountable.

“I do believe that judges should have more authority to set bail and detain dangerous defendants,” said Hochul.

There will also be $40 million invested in public defenders, including the first pay increase in two decades to assigned attorneys for people unable to afford their own council.

Another area the governor says is really important to her – the housing crisis.

It’s been central to her agenda since day 1 – but not all lawmakers were seeing eye to eye on the issue.

The governor believes she can do more by executive action, which she says will be unfolding publicly in the next few weeks.

The budget also includes $391 million toward additional funding to expand the emergency rental assistance program.

Other highlights include adjustments to minimum wage and expanding the Child Tax Credit to kids under 4.

MORE: Information from Gov. Hochul’s Office on the new budget