Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Legislature have agreed to raise taxes on the wealthy and give aid to renters, businesses and undocumented immigrants.
By Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Jesse McKinley
New York State leaders announced they had reached an agreement on Tuesday on a $212 billion state budget that includes tax increases on the wealthy as well as substantial relief for renters, undocumented immigrants and business owners hit hardest by the coronavirus.
The spending plan is far from the doomsday scenario officials envisioned earlier this year, when the state was looking at addressing a daunting $15 billion budget hole over two years through steep cuts and tax increases.
Since then, revenues have been better than initially anticipated, even though they still lag behind prepandemic levels. The state also received a one-time $12.6 billion infusion in direct aid from Washington, as well as billions of dollars in education and transportation funds.
That money helped fuel a roughly 10 percent increase in spending from the last fiscal year, with many of the budget’s key initiatives aimed at jump-starting the recovery of a state that was the one-time epicenter of the pandemic.
It includes $2.3 billion in federal funds to help tenants late on rent; $1 billion in grants and tax credits for small businesses that suffered from the economic downturn; and a $2.1 billion fund to provide one-time payments for undocumented workers who did not qualify for federal stimulus checks or unemployment benefits, according to budget highlights released by the governor’s office.
All were proposals championed by Democratic leaders of the State Legislature, who leveraged Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s weakened political position to forcefully lobby for their priorities, including a long-sought personal income tax rate increase on individuals making over $1 million — overcoming the governor’s longtime aversion to raising taxes on the rich.
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