Gov. Hochul proposes $227 billion state budget; downstate businesses concerned over potential tax raise
Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed a $227 billion budget for New York's fiscal year 2024 that is causing concern among some Hudson Valley business owners.
One of the most scrutinized parts of the budget so far is a plan to increase taxes on downstate businesses to plug the MTA's budget deficit.
Suburban business owners and advocates are concerned about the idea of paying more in payroll taxes to help the MTA balance its books.
"[What] we can't continue to have is to put obstacles in the way of businesses wanting to come to New York and stay in New York,” said John Ravitz, of the Business Council of Westchester.
Hochul's plan calls for increasing the top rate of the payroll mobility tax to generate an additional $800 million annually while also considering a fare hike.
Republicans are concerned about the governor's plan for bail reform and state housing compact which would force local municipalities to amend zoning laws around public transit hubs to build more homes.
"They feel less safe, they can't afford to live here and I just think the answer of proposing the largest budget in the state's history misses the mark entirely,” said state Assembly Member Matt Slater.
The governor is receiving high marks for proposing a historic $35 million in school aid, $1 billion in mental health resources and a commitment to increase public safety.
Still, many Democrats say they want to do more.
"The legislature is willing to go further than the governor is overall, broadly speaking,” said state Assembly Member Sarahana Shrestha.
Other parts of Hochul’s plan include raising the cigarette tax, increasing child care assistance by more than $7.5 billion over the next four years and investing $5.5 billion in affordable energy.
Budget negotiations are expected to be intense over the next two months before the April 1 deadline.
Lawmakers say several proposals are already becoming issues, including how much to tweak bail reform and whether to lift the cap on charter schools.