Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

State Legislature

State Legislature

  • Why We Must Pass the Climate Change Superfund Act Before the End of Legislative Session

    Flooding on Long Island (photo: Governor's Office)

    Climate change is eating Long Island away, and is projected to raise our sea level to more than50% higher than the global average. If those estimates are correct,...

  • Where is the State Legislation at Center of Mayor Adams’ Jordan Neely Response?

    Mayor Adams releases a mental health plan (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    On May 10, Mayor Eric Adams made his first extended remarks on the death of Jordan Neely, a Black homeless man with a history of mental illness who was killed on the subway ten days earlier by Daniel Penny, a white Marine veteran.

    Adams called Neely's killing a "tragedy," and said he "did not deserve to die." But Neely didn't receive critical mental health care, Adams said, which left him decompensating and calling for help on a subway car in the minutes

  • Housing Development in New York City Slows to a Crawl as Officials Debate Tax Incentives

    Housing focus (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Affordable housing construction in New York has declined significantly in the last few years in the wake of COVID-19 through a combination of factors including higher interest rates, inflation and supply chain instability resulting from the overall disruption of the pandemic. But a key factor that real estate developers, city and state government officials, and many housing advocates cite is the expiration of the state’s 421-a property tax exemption for the construction of affordable housing as part of larger rental housing developments.

  • End Legacy Admissions, Ensure More Fair College Acceptance in New York

    Heading to college (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Last year, the Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases that could fundamentally change how colleges offer admissions to historically disenfranchised students. A group called Students for Fair Admissions filed suit against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, challenging the use of race as one measure of a prospective student’s application for admission. The group argued that any consideration of race, even if non-dispositive, is unconstitutional. Most legal experts predict that

  • It’s Time for New York State to Finally Address Our Literacy Crisis and Ensure All Kids Can Read

    Kids at school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    The literacy rate amongst children is at a crisis level: two-thirds of fourth-gradersnationwide are unable to read proficiently. This represents a complete failure to prepare our students for the most basic of life skills, in part due to the continued use of flawed literacy instruction methods. 


  • We Can Protect the Climate and Keep Energy Costs Down with NY HEAT


    New York homes (photo: (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)

    In March, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)warned that the planet will cross a critical threshold for global warming within the next decade if we don’t take immediate action to curb emissions and meet ambitious climate mandates laid out in New York’s climate

  • Hochul Gambled On A Late Budget; Did It Pay Off?

    Gov. Hochul meets with legislative leaders (photo: @GovKathyHochul)

    The dust is beginning to settle on the $229 billion New York state budget, which was approved last week after a month of delay that saw Governor Kathy Hochul and the State Legislature make major compromises on spending and policy measures.

    Hochul has expressed no regret for delaying the budget for the second time in two years, after she managed to convince the Legislature to support her top priority and change the state’s bail laws yet again. She won other priorities, too, but came up empty on her biggest proposal for the

  • Fines for Hospitals that Don't Reactivate Psychiatric Beds Included in New State Budget

    Hospital services (photo: Governor's Office)

    Hospital leaders are "disappointed" to see the state budget include new penalties for hospitals that fail to reopen shuttered psychiatric beds as part of a $1.4 billion plan to beef up New York's mental health care infrastructure.

    Hospitals around the state have been struggling to bring over 1,000 psychiatric beds back online after closing them during the height of the pandemic due to severe staffing shortages and lack of funding.

    The $229 billion budget passed by Governor Kathy

  • How Mayor Adams' Albany Agenda Fared in the New State Budget

    Mayor & Governor (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)

    New York State’s $229 billion budget deal for the new fiscal year has both good and bad news for New York City and Mayor Eric Adams’ Albany agenda.

    It directs additional funding for the ongoing migrant asylum-seeker crisis, provides a lifeline to the cash-strapped MTA, funds rent relief for public housing residents, extends a child tax credit, increases enforcement for illegal marijuana sales, and more. But it excluded regulatory changes and tax incentives that

  • Max Politics Podcast: Senator Gustavo Rivera on the New State Budget

    Senator Gustavo Rivera (photo: NYS Senate Media Services)

    May 4, 2023 - Max Politics Podcast: Senator Gustavo Rivera on the New State Budget

    State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat and chair of the Senate health committee, joined the show to discuss the newly-passed $229 billion state budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, which began April 1.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you

  • State Budget Includes $1 Billion Mental Health Agenda, Additional Push to Restore Psychiatric Beds

    Gov. Hochul talks mental health care (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)

    Governor Kathy Hochul is touting the inclusion of over $1 billion for mental health care in the new $229 billion budget deal recently struck with legislative leaders.

    "When it comes to keeping people safe, there are commonsense places we can start as well. One of them has to do with fixing our mental health system because it is broken, the rates of mental illness have been on the rise, and the pandemic only made matters far worse," Hochul said

  • Budget Includes $39.5 Million for New State Public Campaign Finance System


    In the Legislature (photo: NYS Senate Media Services)

    State lawmakers this week approved Governor Kathy Hochul's proposed $39.5 million allocation to New York's new campaign finance system, including base funding for a small-dollar public match.

    The funding includes $25 million for public matching funds that will be available to participating candidates running for statewide and legislative offices beginning in 2024. It also includes the full $14.5 million sought by administrators to run the program.


  • ‘An Unprecedented Commitment’: New State Budget Advances Several Major Climate Policies

    Gov. Hochul talks clean energy (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)

    Climate activists are cheering New York’s $229 billion budget for the 2024 fiscal year, which was approved Tuesday night, celebrating three major policy victories and a series of additional funding allocations. The changes, seen as monumental by supporters and critics alike, include passage of legislation that will ban gas hookups in new construction, allow the state power authority to build and own renewable energy facilities, and create a “cap and invest” system with decreasing caps on greenhouse

  • CUNY Tuition to Remain Flat as University System Gets Funding Boost in State Budget

    At CUNY (photo: @CUNY)

    In the new state budget that was passed Tuesday night, the City University of New York, CUNY, will get significant operational and capital funding boosts while students from New York will be spared tuition increases, Assembly leadership announced on Tuesday.

    The State Legislature is approving budget bills in Albany, bringing the $229 billion state budget for the 2024 fiscal year to a conclusion, one month after it was due.

    While all final details have yet to be dissected, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced on Tuesday that the CUNY system, which has more than

  • How Much to Raise, How Much to Spend: Hochul and Legislature Wrangle Over Tax Rates in State Budget Negotiations

    Gov. Hochul makes a budget presentation (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)

    When Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her State of the State address in January, she promised to keep income taxes flat this year while identifying other revenue sources to pay for major funding needs.

    "A majority of economists are predicting a recession," she said. "And it's also one of the reasons why we will not be raising income taxes this year."

    The Legislature is now putting that promise to the test, seeking to increase taxes on the state’s highest individual and corporate earners as the legislative and

  • Max Politics Podcast: Senator Leroy Comrie on the MTA in State Budget Negotiations

    Senator Leroy Comrie (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)

    April 21, 2023 - Max Politics Podcast: Senator Leroy Comrie on the MTA in State Budget Negotiations

    State Senator Leroy Comrie, a Queens Democrat who chairs the Senate's committee with MTA oversight, joined the show to discuss how the MTA is factoring into state budget negotiations, plans for funding the transit authority, whether the state budget will advantage subway and bus riders, the future of Penn Station area redevelopment plans, housing and bail policy negotiations, and more.

    Listen to the

  • Major Climate and Energy Policies Being Decided in Albany State Budget Negotiations

    Gov. Hochul talks green energy (photo: Governor's Office)

    As Governor Kathy Hochul and the Legislature continue to hammer out the details of the overdue $230 billion state budget, there are major climate and energy policies at stake that environmental advocates say are crucial to meeting New York’s climate goals.

    Already about three weeks late, the state budget has been held up over the governor’s insistence on further changes to the bail law and wrangling with the Legislature over her ambitious “Housing Compact”

  • Hochul, Legislature Look to Allocate $337 Million to Fight Gun Violence; Where's It Going?

    Gov. Hochul discusses gun violence prevention funding plans (photo: Governor's Office)

    Acrimony in state budget talks over bail and discovery reform belies broad agreement between Governor Kathy Hochul and the Legislature on putting more than $330 million toward combating gun violence.

    Shootings have always plagued New York's cities but became a major public focus in recent years amid a pandemic-era spike in gun violence following decades of decline. Four out of five shooting victims in New York City are Black, most of

  • Max Politics Podcast: Breaking Down State Budget Negotiations, with Liz Benjamin & Ken Lovett

    Gov. Hochul and other state leaders (photo: Governor's Office)

    April 14, 2023 - Max Politics Podcast: Breaking Down State Budget Negotiations, with Liz Benjamin & Ken Lovett

    Liz Benjamin and Ken Lovett, two veteran Albany journalists now in public affairs consulting, joined the show to discuss New York state budget negotiations, the power dynamics at play in the capital, key issues being negotiated among Governor Hochul and the Legislature, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter ...

  • CUNY Funding a Key Issue in State and City Budget Negotiations


    Gov. Hochul speaks at LaGuardia Community College CUNY (photo: @CUNY)

    Funding for the City University of New York, CUNY, is among a number of major focus issues as elected officials negotiate a new state budget this month and a new city budget by July.

    Lawmakers, students, faculty, and others are concerned about proposals in both Governor Kathy Hochul’s and Mayor Eric Adams’ budget proposals, which are now the source of negotiations with their respective legislatures. Though Hochul included a modest increase in overall funding for CUNY in her January executive budget, she also proposed

  • 'It's Incumbent on the State To Do This': Lawmakers ‘Optimistic’ Housing Access Vouchers will be in Budget Deal

    A place to call home (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    As Governor Kathy Hochul tries to convince the Legislature to support her ambitious housing agenda focused on increasing the supply of homes, legislators seem unwilling to do so without including in a state budget deal major protections for current tenants including a new rental voucher program.

    The Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP) would provide state-funded rental subsidy vouchers to those experiencing homelessness or facing evictions and at risk of homelessness, regardless of immigration status. The bill is sponsored by

  • Reimagining Students’ Future Through Holistic School Safety Action

    Senator Monica Martinez, the author, speaks with students

    As an educator and former school administrator responsible for the health, safety, and well-being of children, I can attest there is no greater fear than your students and faculty being in danger. 

    As school shootings and violent threats continue to spike across the nation, school districts are confronted with the unavoidable question of how to best reduce, prevent, and respond to emergency situations, particularly those involving active shooters. Having

  • It’s Time for Albany to Expand Educational Choice for New York City Families

    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

    This month, the New York State Legislature has the chance to pass a state budget that will have a profoundly positive impact for thousands of students in New York City.  

    In February, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed lifting the regional cap on charter schools in New York City, and reviving “zombie” charters – a proposal that would finally allow more public charter schools to open their doors. The proposal would mean two things: more good schools in the communities

  • Hochul, Legislators Look to Pass Holistic Criminal Justice Improvements


    (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

    While another potential rollback of bail reforms has taken center stage in state budget negotiations for the second straight year, the fates of a swath of other criminal justice programs are being quietly hashed out.

    Governor Kathy Hochul and state legislative leaders are in the midst of pinning down the contours of a roughly $230 billion state budget, already past the April 1 start of the new fiscal year. Even with the focus on bail, all parties are talking about a holistic suite of criminal justice-related policies with hundreds of

  • No Tenant Should Face Eviction Without Representation: New York’s Budget Must Include and Fund the Right to Counsel

    New Yorkers getting help (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)

    I was a teenager in the 1980s when I learned firsthand what it meant to face eviction and landlord harassment. Three different landlords, but they all used the same playbook: they failed to provide adequate heat, thinking they could take advantage of my family’s difficult economic situation. Allowing dangerous living conditions is a form of eviction in which landlords don’t even need to sue their tenants in court. Instead, they push tenants out with threats to their health and safety. Each year, countless