Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget is receiving mixed reviews all around, with early predictions that Dems will see this budget as still significantly lower than what is needed for the state. Of note: Dems control both chambers of the legislature, holding a veto-proof majority.
Totaling $227 billion dollars, many of the proposed areas of spending are par-for-the-course progressive staples, from housing reform; revitalization of national parks; protections for forests; clean water infrastructure; a housing compact to battle the enduring issue of affordable housing in New York City; justice system and bail reform, healthcare funding (which is a big win, especially for the aging populations such as Long Island), etc.
However, controversy (as is always a frequent bedfellow to politics) is surrounding some key parts of the budget. Although $13.1 billion dollars have been allocated to current schools in New York State (with a $569 million increase in “foundation” aid to K-12 classrooms); she has also found a loophole to get around the current New York City cap for charter schools (which is currently 275).
Her solution: allowing 11 additional charter schools by reallocated slots currently held by what is referred to as a “zombie school” (schools included in the number of charter schools that have been closed since the state and then governor Cuomo implemented changes in 2015); as well as lifting the cap for regional charter schools, to put to further use the current statewide cap of 460 charter schools.
Teachers and parents of traditional public schools have criticized this move for fear that the addition of more charter schools will lead to less funding and other resources for public schools in the area.
Another controversy is the money allocated to film tax credits, which will go from 25% to 30%, which was a former rate. Critics in some of the areas outside of New York City worry that this won’t be enough of an incentive to lure top-of-the-line producers, directors, actors, etc., to invest their time and efforts in the Big Apple.