Gov. Hochul: ‘Conceptual agreement’ reached on state budget

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul Thursday announced a "conceptual agreement" was reached on the New York State budget, a week after the spending plan for fiscal year 2023’s April 1 deadline.

The plan tops $220 billion, $4 billion more than initial estimates.

The governor announced the waiving of the state’s gas tax and the legalization of alcohol-to-go at restaurants.

She’s proposing higher pay for healthcare workers and a plan to rebuild the workforce of healthcare workers which has been depleted in recent years, and exacerbated by the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for them.

Hochul is also proposing changes to the state’s bail laws so judges have more discretion in whether to keep potentially dangerous criminal suspects locked up.

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She’s asking local authorities to consider following suit with their gas taxes to offer some relief.

The state fuel tax suspension will last from June through December under the "conceptual agreement" and amounts 16 cents per gallon saved.

"We understand what happened," Hochul said. "When I stand the necessity of stopping Russian oil from coming into our reserves and I applaud everything President Biden has done to show that we are willing to stand with the Ukrainian people. As they are under assault by a war criminal. But now we have to look at our people. Where they are right now. Meet them where they are right now, at this time right now. This budget with more money back in people’s budgets. We wanted to make sure that was the outcome."