NYS Legislature Passes $237 Billon 2024-25 State Budget

Photo Courtesy of Mike Groll

Nearly three weeks after the deadline, the New York State Legislature passed a $237 billion state budget on April 20 for the 2024-25 fiscal year, including allocations for the migrant and housing crisis, bolstering mental health services, fighting climate change, addressing a spike in retail crimes and much more.

“We are delivering a common-sense agenda that makes New York safer and more affordable,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “I promised to fight for New Yorkers and tackle the thorny issues, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.”

The governor’s main focus for the budget was addressing New York’s housing crisis, which has seen rent skyrocket amidst the state’s inability to keep up with the growing demand for available residential units. 

Gov. Hochul also failed to pass a comprehensive housing plan last year that would have required suburban areas to increase housing production. Suburban legislators decried the plan. They were supported by some urban lawmakers who worried about an element of the plan that would have lifted a density cap.

Now, the legislature has approved a new plan offering tax break incentives for housing construction, converting unused office space to housing units and implementing new measures to protect tenants from price gouging and unfair evictions.

The plan sets a local housing target in every state municipality, focuses on transit-oriented development and removes barriers that make the construction of housing more difficult, with the plan estimated to create over 800,000 homes over the next decade.

“The New York Housing Compact is a comprehensive plan to spur the changes needed to create more housing, meet rising demand and make our state a more equitable, stable and affordable place to live,” said Gov. Hochul.

Another pressing issue legislators were itching to address in the budget was the migrant crisis, specifically in New York city, where the arrival of over 175,000 immigrants have strained the city’s resources to provide for them.

$2.4 billion of the budget has been dedicated to supporting migrant services in New York, which will include legal aid, health services and sheltering, but it may not be enough.

According to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the city is on track to have spent over $12 billion on the crisis from 2022 — 2025. With no slowdown in sight, Mayor Adams even said “this issue will destroy New York City.”

Other focuses of the budget include $1 billion towards climate change related initiatives, provisions to combat retail theft, greater power for the Office of Cannabis Management to crack down on illegal dispensaries and $90 million to funding local journalism.

The budget came about three weeks after the April 1 deadline, as legislators heavily debated the elements of the housing plan and a proposal from the governor that would change how the state provides education funding to schools, which ultimately did not pass.

The budget was also delayed because of a cyberattack that disabled the New York State Bill Drafting Commission’s drafting system, which Gov. Hochul said in an interview caused officials to “have to go back to the more antiquated system we had in place from 1994.”

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