What N.Y. State’s Budget Means
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature have agreed on a budget that will raise taxes on the wealthy and help those devastated by the pandemic.,
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On Tuesday, New York State’s leaders announced that they had reached a deal on a $212 billion budget.
The agreement, which came nearly a week after the April 1 budget deadline, is packed with proposals long favored by Democratic legislators, like raising taxes on the rich.
Much of the budget — which includes aid for renters, undocumented immigrants and business owners — is intended to fuel New York’s recovery from an economically devastating pandemic.
The budget still needs to pass the Legislature and be approved by the governor. Here are three key elements in the state’s budget, explained:
Tax hikes for the wealthy and corporations
Despite Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s longtime stance against raising taxes on the rich, Democrats managed to include a personal income tax rate increase on individuals making over $1 million and couples earning more than $2 million, and two new tax brackets for incomes over $5 million and $25 million.
The changes are expected to raise more than $4 billion in additional revenue each year, though Republicans have warned that tax hikes could drive wealthy residents out of the state.
If these changes in the budget pass, New York City’s wealthiest residents would face the highest combined state and local personal income tax rates in the country.
The $2.1 billion fund for undocumented workers
The budget will provide one-time payments for undocumented workers who did not qualify for federal stimulus checks or unemployment benefits. Applicants for the fund would have to provide documents to verify their identity, residency and eligibility.
Many undocumented immigrants work essential jobs in restaurants, at construction sites and in food delivery. Activists and workers have recently held protests in New York City calling for lawmakers to include the aid in the budget.
Some Democrats argued against the fund, fearing blowback from moderate suburban voters in 2022. The state Republican Party chairman, Nick Langworthy, slammed the fund, calling it “woke insanity.”
Relief programs for renters and homeowners
The budget carves out $2.3 billion in federal funds for tenants who are behind on rent and at risk of eviction.
The proposed rent relief program would help cover up to 12 months of past rent and utilities costs and three months of future rent for those eligible.
The deal dedicates additional funds to combat housing issues worsened by the pandemic. It includes $250 million for New York City’s public housing authority and $100 million to convert hotels and vacant property into affordable housing.
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What we’re reading
A survey of about 200 New York City public school students showed that one quarter of them felt safer at school with police present. [Daily News]
A maskless man in New Jersey was asked to leave a Burger King. He choked an employee when he came back. [NBC]
An Albany County legislator resigned after a video in which he made homophobic remarks surfaced. [Albany Times Union]
And finally: A busload of vaccines
A candy-colored bus is parked in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park today. Instead of commuters, it’s carrying vaccines.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of the city’s first mobile vaccination bus, which carries workers who can administer up to 200 doses a day. The bus is part of a fleet of mobile vaccination vehicles that will drive to neighborhoods badly hit by the virus.
In the bus’s first week, the city will prioritize vaccinating restaurant and delivery workers.
“This is an approach that’s really going to help us reach a lot of people who are being missed so far,” the mayor said.
The bus has six exam rooms for people to get vaccinated and a refrigerator to keep doses cool, said Dr. Ted Long, the executive director of the city’s Test & Trace Corps.
Restaurant and delivery workers can schedule appointments by calling 1-833-762-7692 or emailing email@example.com.
It’s Wednesday — take care of yourself.
Metropolitan Diary: Friday out for a walk
It’s a good-looking bolt of lightning
carrying a briefcase, looking straight ahead.
Bryant Park on the right, posing for pictures.
When a horse eats an apple offered by a little girl,
all the traffic lights get out of bed
and turn green.
High heels walking down Fifth Avenue.
Fifth Avenue’s a good sport.
Bryant Park around the corner
doesn’t mind the butterfly caracoling
off the side of three o’clock,
the hour in the city visiting friends.
The streets limbering up to dance
take note of the dress shops
batting their eyelashes
and smiling as you stroll by.
— Ernest Slyman
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