NY lawmakers return to Albany with estimated $15B deficit to close

On the table are spending cuts to programs, possible cuts in school aid and massive layoffs.

News 12 Staff

Jan 4, 2021, 11:00 PM

Updated 1,206 days ago


New York's lawmakers are back in Albany this week, where they'll have plenty on their plate from day one.
New York has an estimated $15 billion deficit between last year and this coming year, meaning legislators will be considering a whole lot to close the gap. On the table are spending cuts to programs, possible cuts in school aid and massive layoffs.
They're also looking to raise revenue as quickly as possible. Things being talked about include a surcharge on the income tax of New Yorkers with assets above $1 billion, legalizing recreational use of marijuana and online sports betting.
"It's tough to get a consensus on marijuana," says state Sen. John Brooks. "I think some of the gambling is going to be an easier buy. Certainly, sports betting for example."
But with emergency funding needed for such things as vaccinations and a surge in hospitalizations, Brooks also thinks Albany will have to borrow money to get through the pandemic.
"Some of this has to be financed. Let's recognize that intelligent borrowing at the right interest rate long term might be the answer to some of this," says Brooks.
"I think everything the state Legislature does this year is related to the pandemic, whether it's the budget, whether it's public health, getting the vaccine out, dealing with the surge that our hospitals are going to have to deal with over the coming months," says state Assemblyman Fred Thiele.
But many Republicans aren't sold on tax hikes, even for the rich. Assemblyman Mike Montesano says there's a danger that they'd switch their address to a lower-tax state.
"I'm very concerned that if we entertain something like this, we're going to have an issue with people picking up and leaving and that'll defeat the purpose," says Montesano.
New York and other states have also been pleading for money from Washington, but so far all attempts at giving state and local governments financial aid have been blocked by the Republican-led Senate.

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