Governor highlights New York state budget

May 10, 2023 at 10:25 pm by Observer-Review

NEW YORK STATE--Gov. Kathy Hochul last Wednesday announced the highlights of the fiscal year 2024 budget. The budget reflects spending at $229 billion.
The governor and state leaders reached an agreement to give judges greater discretion to set bail for the most serious criminal offenses. State investments will also expand programs and services for gun violence, recidivism, address the flow of fentanyl and improve the court system.
• $347 million — a $120 million increase from the FY 2023 Budget- for programs designed to prevent and reduce gun violence.
The budget also includes funding for the criminal justice system:
• $170 million to support improvements to the discovery process for prosecutors and defenders, including $50 million in capital for discovery technology improvements in New York City.
• $100 million in aid for prosecution and defense funding across the state.
• $92 million to offset county costs related to increasing rates paid to lawyers assigned to represent low-income New Yorkers. The Budget increases assigned counsel rates to $158 per hour statewide.
• $31.4 million for alternatives to incarceration programs.
• $20 million for pretrial services.
• $11.5 million for reentry services to help individuals reintegrate into their communities after serving prison sentences.
The budget also includes investments for protection including:
• $105 million to upgrade the State Emergency Operations Center.
• $100 million to purchase and renovate a new satellite crime laboratory for the State Police.
• $66.7 million to increase the number of State Police academy classes.
• $25 million to provide capital grants to volunteer fire departments for construction, renovation, or purchase of facilities and equipment.
• $20 million to assist counties in transitioning to Next Generation 911.
• $10 million to provide stipends to volunteer firefighters who complete foundational training.
• $16 million for the state-supported Crime Analysis Center network.
• $7.4 million to allow State Police to keep pace with technology in criminal investigations.
• $7 million to establish an Anti-Fentanyl Innovation Grant.
• $5 million to provide financial assistance to victims and survivors of domestic violence.
Gov. Hochul will make a long-term $1 billion investment to transform New York’s continuum of mental health care. Other priorities in the budget include: protecting abortion access and strengthening New York state’s safe harbor access; supporting students and schools; supporting homeowners, tenants, and public housing residents; expanding public transit access, affordability, and safety; addressing the climate crisis and investing in affordable energy; boosting New York’s economy and supporting working families; and creating a stronger health care system.
The budget deal also raises the minimum wage to $16 in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester and $15 elsewhere in the state, which will increase by $0.50 for two years and index to inflation after 2026.
Among other changes are an increase in the cigarette tax by $1.00 and requirements for advancing zero emission construction in new buildings and requires New York Power Authority to complete decarbonization action plans for 15 of the highest-emitting state facilities.
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