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New York budget inching closer to passage with Bills money, criminal justice

New York’s state budget, past due from Friday, is inching closer to approval.

Published reports indicate there are criminal-justice changes and money for a new stadium home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a first-term Democrat, proposed a $216 billion package and estimates have the final number at $220 billion or higher.

Democrats control both the state Senate and Assembly.

Judges would have ability to set bail in more instances, and hold repeat offenders pending trial if the budget proposal passes, the Wall Street Journal reported of lawmakers’ actions in Albany. The state has been under the microscope for a 2019 law that ended cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, a criminal-justice initiative before a recent nationwide rise in violent crime. Law enforcement and Republicans, among others, are not happy.

The $850 million in state and local taxpayer funds Hochul desires for the Bills’ new home in Orchard Park is included in the package expected to be passed, the New York Post reported. There is considerable opposition, both in public and from lawmakers, for the deal going to an organization owned by Florida residents Kim and Terry Pegula.

The breakdown of the $1.4 billion stadium would have state taxpayers ponying up $600 million, the Pegulas another $550 million, and residents of Erie County where it will be built $250 million. There is an estimate the taxpayer bill will be $1.13 billion.

“Hopefully we get everything wrapped up before Thursday … that’s kind of the deadline,” state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, D-Queens, said in the Post story.

On Monday, legislation was passed to keep state government running through Thursday. It allows New York to meet payroll and other obligations via the “extender” appropriations bill.

This article was originally posted on New York budget inching closer to passage with Bills money, criminal justice

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