The budget roadshow continues

With help from Shawn Ness

New from New York

Happening now:

  • Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams continued their post-budget happy tour.
  • Police are unhappy the budget didn’t take further steps to toughen bail laws.
  • Adams said Donald Trump might want to look at the crime stats before blasting his native city.
  • State regulators are hoping for a redo to solicit new offshore wind developers.
  • And the latest from the Trump trial in Manhattan.

Gov. Kathy Hochul took another victory lap today.

She joined Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Mayor Eric Adams and labor leaders to celebrate the approval of a wide-ranging housing package — a remarkable turnaround from last year, when the governor and Legislature failed to reach consensus on the thorny issue.

The plan passed over the weekend, designed to spur residential construction and protect tenants, includes policies Hochul has tried to enact for two years now to address the housing shortage.

They include policies to boost residential construction, like a new property tax break for rental housing and reforms to allow denser development in the city, which were also among Adams’ Albany priorities.

“We all know past leaders did not want to take this on,” Hochul said at an event hosted by the building service workers union 32BJ SEIU, which pushed for a housing deal this year. “I’m proud to say, that legacy of inaction has ended last week with this landmark, years-in-the-making deal in Albany.”

“I was the first governor in half a century to touch the lightning rod and put housing front and center,” she continued, praising partners in the Legislature.

Stewart-Cousins said Hochul had a “clear” vision and “understood there were a few things that we all could agree on and a few things that if we compromise on, we could come to this day.”

One of the major compromises was on a tenant protection measure known as Good Cause eviction, which lawmakers approved in revised form in the housing package.

The policy, which effectively caps rent increases in market-rate housing, came with several carve-outs that angered tenant activists who pushed the proposal.

Hochul had been cool to the initial legislation, but today highlighted that piece of the agreement, which she said will help address price gouging of tenants.

“They’re held captive,” Hochul said of tenants. “The landlords can raise the rent any way they want — now, they can’t, now they will not be able to, there will be limits on what they can do and people can plan for that.”

Adams, who has praised Hochul’s work on the city’s behalf in the budget, called the larger package “such a victory for us.”

“We have an obligation now to put shovels in the ground, build housing so you don’t have to leave your city,” the mayor said. “I can finally tell my son, ‘Go get your own apartment.’”

MORE HELP FOR POLICE: A key law enforcement organization does not believe the state budget did enough to strengthen public safety — especially for cops themselves.

The New York State Sheriffs Association today pressed state lawmakers to approve a package of measures that include mandatory life sentences without parole for cop killers, allowing judges to consider dangerousness when weighing bail and making all gun crimes qualifying offenses for denying a defendant’s pretrial release.

“It’s time to end what’s become an open-season on police officers in New York,” Delaware County Sheriff Craig DuMond, the president of the sheriffs association, told reporters during a Capitol news conference.

Hochul was able to win public safety victories in the budget, including measures to address retail theft by boosting penalties for those who assault store workers and allowing prosecutors to aggregate retail crimes when considering charges.

Hochul has also touted the millions of dollars she sought for law enforcement in New York in a direct rebuke of calls to defund the police.

“When I became governor, there were still people recklessly calling to defund the police, even when we had a huge surge in gun crimes — instead of defunding, we supported and properly funded law enforcement,” she told reporters last week.

But DuMond believes the budget should have gone much further — especially when it came to addressing the law that limited when cash bail can be considered for criminal defendants.

He pointed to the spate of police killings in the last several weeks, including cops in New York City and Syracuse.

“An attack on a police officer is an attack on civilization,” he said. “It’s a form of terrorism.” — Nick Reisman

‘STAY ON MESSAGE’: Former President Donald Trump has made New York City crime a backdrop to his presidential campaign — but that doesn’t bother Mayor Adams.

“As long as he’s on the campaign trail, he can look at the bar graph that we showed, that we’re the safest big city in America,” Adams said of Trump at a wide-ranging press conference today — pointing to an oft-used graphic used to counter claims that New York City has a crime problem.

“I think that as long as we stay on message with that, we’ll be fine,” Adams added. “This is campaign season, so people are going to be campaigning throughout the city.”

Adams briefly visited the scene outside the courthouse last week to check on the NYPD officers assigned there.

But like he did again today, Adams has largely brushed off questions about the massive trial taking place down the street from City Hall.

“This is a system that’s built on due process,” he said. “And that’s going to take place in the next couple of days.” — Jeff Coltin

Judge Juan Merchan did not rule this morning on whether former President Donald Trump should be held in contempt for, as prosecutors argue, violating his gag order with some of his social media posts (and reposts).

And it’s not clear when that determination will come.

But the next part of Trump’s day in Manhattan criminal court saw the continuation of prosecution witness David Pecker’s testimony.

One focus? Setting the scene for how the alleged “conspiracy” to influence the 2016 elections began with an arrangement between tabloid boss Pecker and Trump’s then-fixer Michael Cohen to “catch and kill” stories.

“They asked me what can I do and what my magazines can do to help the campaign,” Pecker told jurors.

“I said what I would do is, I would run or publish positive stories about Mr. Trump, and I would publish negative stories about his opponents,” he said.

Trump is charged with falsifying business records when he allegedly paid hush money to an adult film actress to suppress a story about their affair.

He has called the case a “witch hunt.” And speaking to reporters after court adjourned today, Trump called the gag order “totally unconstitutional.” — Emily Ngo

NEW OFFSHORE WIND BIDS PLANNED: New York is expediting the timeline to secure contracts with offshore wind developers after failing to finalize any agreements from an earlier round. NYSERDA is also moving forward with a planned competitive process to bolster the offshore wind supply chain in the state with $200 million in previously allocated funds.

The actions today are yet another attempt by the Hochul administration to keep the state on track to meet its climate goals and to make New York a major economic hub for the nascent industry in the U.S. after three key projects were scrapped last week, as POLITICO first reported.

“New York is solidifying its leadership role in the offshore wind industry, building the supply chain right here in the State to build the industry and drive down costs,” Hochul said. “This commitment and momentum will help us realize a future where clean energy powers our grid, creates long-term jobs, and boosts our economy.”

The faster timeline — with a request for proposals expected this summer for new offshore wind projects — could also help secure more offshore wind to support the state’s 9 gigawatt target by 2035. But the projects won’t be required to be online in time to support the state’s 70 percent renewable energy by 2030 goal.

NYSERDA is seeking input and has also scheduled webinars on the two processes. The offshore wind projects may not be operational until as late as 2034, according to the dates in the request for information. — Marie J. French

OLDER ADULTS SLAM HOCHUL: A coalition representing older adults in New York is slamming Hochul after she “neglected older New Yorkers in the latest budget” by rejecting a proposal to address the backlog of thousands of older adults waiting for elder care services.

“Governor Hochul has effectively decided that as we age, we don’t actually deserve to remain in New York or to access the services the state has promised,” LiveOn NY, a coalition of 120 organizations, wrote in a statement today.

The state’s Office for the Aging routinely funds services for older adults — like meals on wheels, transportation, toileting and bathing — but the state doesn’t have enough money to provide those services to everyone who needs them at the same time.

In total, the state says there’s at least 11,400 unfulfilled requests for those services. Advocates estimate the number could be as high as 18,000.

The final budget is increasing funding only to address the backlog by $700,000, POLITICO reported. Lawmakers in the Assembly had asked for $42 million more than what the governor proposed, which would have eliminated the waitlist.

New York’s State Office for the Aging spokesperson Roger Noyes defended the budget’s funding.

“Governor Hochul’s budget invests in vital supports for older adults across programs and systems,” Noyes said in a statement. “These investments include funds for community-based services and supports as well as an historic initiative to expand housing, which is one of the top areas of concern raised by older adults seeking to age in place.” Jason Beeferman

GO GREENER: Hochul announced today the launch of a new grant program to help out communities that are prone to flooding.

The $60 million grant is designed to help communities become greener by investing in infrastructure to make things like green streets, roofs and permeable pavement, which allows for water to seep into the soil underneath.

“Extreme weather events have become a regular occurrence in our state, and strong and sustainable infrastructure is our first line of defense,” Hochul said in a statement. “We are aggressively reducing greenhouse gas emissions across New York, and simultaneously need to prepare for coming storms.”

The grant has a few specific goals in mind: reducing and treating stormwater, mitigating flooding, reducing the urban heat island effect and restoring ecosystems.

It would fund up to 90 percent of eligible project costs so long as they don’t cost more than $10 million. — Shawn Ness

FOUNDATION AID FORMULA STUDY: The state’s final budget includes a $2 million study on the foundation aid formula that will be run by the Rockefeller Institute and due Dec. 1.

The timeline and inclusion of the Rockefeller Institute were a trade-off in budget negotiations to stave off Gov. Kathy Hochul’s attempts to eliminate “hold harmless,” a policy that prevents districts from cuts to school aid, POLITICO reports.

Lawmakers and education advocates say they are concerned about the inclusion of the Rockefeller Institute and the shortened timeline to get the work done. The state Education Department said it would have needed at least 18 months if it let the study as proposed. Instead it will provide technical assistance.

The study will be done through a collaboration between the Rockefeller Institute of Government, the state Education Department, the state Budget Division and “other state agencies deemed necessary by the institute,” the budget reads.

They will also be able to contract “third parties” if the Rockefeller Institute wants to, and the committee will be charged with including the input of advocates, school officials and families.

The study will issue recommendations that are “fiscally sustainable,” calculate the school aid needs with recent and updated data and evaluate each component of the formula to decide what should stay in place and what needs to be changed.

“We are moving quickly in accordance with the law to set up public hearings across the state, acquire the necessary data, and initiate dialogue with key stakeholders and partners,” Bob Megna, the institute’s president and the former state budget director, said in a statement. Katelyn Cordero

ADAMS TOUTS CANNABIS CRACKDOWN: New York City will step up enforcement on an estimated 2,800 unlicensed cannabis sellers in the city “as soon as the ink dries” on the state budget, Adams said today.

The budget deal included provisions to allow municipalities to crack down on illicit weed sellers. Adams praised provisions that also allowed regulators to revoke licenses for lottery, beer and cigarettes for bodegas that sell cannabis.

Going forward, the city has authority to padlock unlicensed cannabis sellers if they pose an immediate threat to public safety, like selling to minors, said Tiffany Raspberry, a senior adviser to Adams.

If there is no imminent threat, the city can issue a violation and fines. After 10 days, if the storefront is still selling cannabis, the city can padlock the shop.

“They are the inner circle dress rehearsal, and then they go into actually [having] show night,” Adams said about the city’s preparations for a cannabis crackdown. — Mona Zhang

— A new study found that New York City employees of color are paid less than their white counterparts. (Daily News)

— Lower ticket prices to MMA matches among some of the less-discussed aspects of the state’s budget. (Times Union)

If Trump goes to jail, the secret service might have to go with him. (New York Times)


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