Gov. Kathy Hochul said she is optimistic New York state could have a budget by the end of the week. Talks have dragged on for more than a month now, without any final agreement.
While the overall mood at the state Capitol is hardly optimistic about delivering a budget anytime soon, Hochul emerged from closed-door talks to update reporters.
“I do see a path to wrap up the budget,” Hochul told reporters in Albany. “Perhaps as early as the end of this week. We have been working around the clock. Our team has been doing an extraordinary job, I was here late last night with them.”
Hochul confirmed what sources have been telling NY1, that some of the last remaining holdups include a deal to increase the number of charter schools in the city, and an enforcement mechanism to crack down on illegal marijuana sales.
"We are trying so hard to stand up a legal industry," Hochul says. "This is not easy to do. But when you set up these businesses to fail already because of illegal competition, we have to take some dramatic steps now, and give the enforcement tools to the proper agencies."
Hochul wants to give the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance the authority, along with local law enforcement, to raid illegal cannabis shops, levy significant fines and seize product. But insiders say the Assembly is resisting those ideas because members believe it’s too reminiscent of the War on Drugs.
Hochul was also asked about her housing plan getting kicked out of the budget.
"This is just the beginning of a journey," Hochul says. "In my opinion, this is going to be something I’m going to continue working on until we solve this, and that’s my commitment to New Yorkers, and I feel a bit like Wayne Gretzky. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. I took the shot."
Hochul said she would like to work on housing in the second half of the legislative session. The problem is, the budget is so late, there is just over a month left before lawmakers conclude for the year.