State lawmakers passed another on-time budget, but the plan dropped some of Governor Andrew Cuomo's key proposals, including plans for early voting and reform of New York's cash bail system.
The $168.3 billion budget does contain provisions meant to counteract major changes in the federal tax law, including the new $10,000 limit on property tax deductions, which would have hit wealthier New York homeowners. State budget provisions include the creation of a somewhat convoluted system that employers can opt in to. The system combines a fully-deductible payroll tax for the businesses and a corresponding income tax credit for their employees, according to a press release from the governor's office.
The budget also contains an increase in school aid, though the $1 billion figure that Cuomo has touted is larger than the actual $859 million bump, according to reports. The Alliance for Quality Education said the amount of the increase is inadequate.
Lawmakers also approved new sexual harassment laws as part of the budget. They include bans on employer-mandated arbitration and on non-disclosure agreements in settlements unless that's what the victim wants.
The budget provides for an extension of the state's historic tax credit, which helps developers finance the restoration and preservation of older buildings. The credit has played an important role in the rejuvenation of the downtowns of New York cities, including Rochester and Buffalo.
The adopted budget also includes a new fee on opioid makers and distributors. Proceeds from the charge will be used to fight the opioid epidemic, according to a press release from the governor's office.
Separate from the budget, lawmakers also passed legislation prohibiting people convicted of certain domestic violence-related crimes from owning handguns or long guns. State law already prohibits people convicted of felonies from owning and possessing guns, and lawmakers previously placed the same restrictions on people convicted of certain misdemeanors in domestic violence cases. The new law adds several other misdemeanors to that list, which now covers charges ranging from assault to trespassing.