ALBANY – After weeks of internal political disputes, New York legislature and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo approved a budget of $ 175 billion on Sunday morning and approved several progressive initiatives, including changes to the cash-bail system, a new tax high-end end-home homes and a groundbreaking plan to convict motorists to drive into Manhattan's busiest sections.
Typically, for a State Capitol known for its unique and sometimes dysfunctional habits, the deal was announced after midnight via a five-page press release. However, this rollout contradicted both the importance of some of the changes and the level of government spending, which was surpassed only by California nationals.
The budget included important victories for the revived left wing of the Democratic Party, which gave the Democrats control of the Senate for the first time in a decade in November. The newly-elected legislator pledged to withdraw big money from politics, raise taxes for the wealthy, rescue the city's underground system and reform a criminal justice system that disproportionately addresses minority communities.
But the deal also showed the limitations of these election promises. Activists criticized a plan to support petitioners as halfhearted. At the last minute, a measure to tax luxury real estate was redesigned. Perhaps the most significant hopes to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes have been disappointed, although the legislature has been able to authorize this separately later in the legislature.
The leaders of the legislature seemed to admit this. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, chairman of the Senate Democrats, said in a statement that the state had taken "historic steps" towards its long-term goals.
The main reason among the new policies was the congestion price, the first such plan in the one nation that is likely to affect the habits of millions of New Yorkers and tourists working and playing in Manhattan. According to the plan agreed on Sunday, tolls will be levied on vehicles driving under 60th Street, and revenues will be channeled into the city's besieged subways and other regional transportation needs.
The agreement also foresees an overhaul of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the authority that oversees the New York City bus and subway system.
The agency has been a scapegoat in recent months by Mr. Cuomo, a third-time Democrat who has effectively controlled authority and been heavily criticized for his lack of speed on the subway. As part of the budget agreement, the agency's policy is being changed to encourage faster capital projects and increase oversight.
The budget due on April 1 typically includes many non-fiscal measures, and this year's amendments include a number of changes. This was no exception for the state criminal justice system.
The legislature and Mr. Cuomo also approved a number of discovery changes to allow defendants more access to evidence prosecutors want to use against them, and procedures to ensure speedy litigation. 19659002] The bail-out compromise, which came after police officials expressed concerns about the complete abolition of such a system, is one of many appearing in the household.
Anot It is the so-called Pied-à-Terre tax, an annual recurring tax for second homes worth at least $ 5 million.
Although the tax was based on heads of state, it disappeared under pressure from real estate interests and legal concerns. Instead, the legislator and Mr. Cuomo agreed on a "villa tax" in connection with a real estate transfer tax, two one-off charges levied at the point of sale of multi-million dollar homes. The tax rate would reach a peak of 4.15 percent on property sales worth $ 25 million or more.
A plan to ban plastic bags in the state has also been included in the budget, but makes a fee for paper bags optional, which is The concern of some environmentalists will reduce the popularity of reusable bags.
Mr. Cuomo trumpeted several other accomplishments, including a permanent cap on income tax of 2 percent, which he believed was non-negotiable. At the same time, the state should create a "consistent framework for collecting the necessary sales taxes from Internet marketplace providers".
Mr. Cuomo, who was heavily criticized for sponsoring large-scale donors, also announced a commission to develop a plan to raise up to $ 100 million in public funding each year for legislative and state-wide campaigns, including his own , to be provided.
A small-time matching program was a key demand by many of the new legislators who won seats last year by defeating better-funded, established companies. This demand broke out in a confrontation last week when several lawmakers accused Mr. Cuomo of hypocrisy, demanding public money while housing high-dollar fund-raisers.
Under such programs, candidates can seek government support for their campaigns as long as they meet certain criteria. Such programs are usually designed to encourage small contributions and are not suitable for large ones.
And even though the inclusion of public funds in Sunday's budget seemed to be a victory for the advocates, many remained dissatisfied. The budget included a language guaranteeing an appropriate program, but the details, such as the relationship between consensus and contribution limits, are indeterminate – some activists fear that the Commission's recommendations are weak.
Earlier commissions in Albany were ridiculed for allowing legislators to take action on issues while stuck in the bureaucracy. For example, a Commission recommended the introduction of public funding in 2013 – the same topic is now being delegated to a Commission for further investigation.
Another commission recommended last year to legalize marijuana.
The recommendations of the Public Finance Commission would be legally binding unless the legislature was specifically convened to override them.
When New York adopts a 6-to-1 matching New York City-style matching system, it would become the nation's first nation to achieve a 100% contribution from small donors, according to Lawrence Norden , Deputy Director of Democracy Program at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice, more than 1: 1. (Hawaii equals one-to-one donations.)
It would also be the first state to pass a public funding program since Citizens United , the decision of the Supreme Court in 2010, which allows virtually unlimited spending on political campaigns.
What exactly this program It looks like it will be left to the Commission, whose report is due on 1 December.
In particular, the deal lacked recreational marijuana, which Mr. Cuomo had pledged to legalize in December. While the idea was supported by a wide range of stakeholders, from well-funded marijuana companies to progressive activists, the legislature ultimately could not agree on a framework for legalization that has been demanded by many and provides for social justice provisions.
Parallel to this, New Jersey collapsed last week. The legislature promised to try to off-budget legalization during the remaining three months of the meeting, but many seemed to be skeptical of its prospects.
Negotiations on the budget were the first of Mr. Cuomos's more than eight-year term He dealt with a fully democracy-controlled legislature and came at a time when the state was in financial distress, whose income tax receipts had fallen sharply in recent months. This stress and the new dynamism of power led to considerable tensions within the party, as Mr. Cuomo and other members of his government repeatedly accused the legislature of having unrealistic expectations and lack of experience.