Governor Kathy Hochul has agreed to increase her proposed budget by $4 billion in exchange for $600 million to help build a new Buffalo Bills stadium and back her plan to overturn the controversial bail reform law. state, sources told The Post on Friday.
Hochul was able to close the deals — leading to Thursday’s late agreement on a record $200 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2023 — because the state is overflowing with cash from federal COVID-19 funds, sources said.
“The trade-off is this: We get $4 billion to add to Hochul’s $216 billion,” said a New York Assembly Democrat.
The November election, in which Hochul, a Democrat, is seeking a full term after succeeding her scandal-ridden predecessor Andrew Cuomo, also played a role in her conduct and dealings, sources said.
One Assembly Democrat even cited the infamous “Buffalo Billion” corruption scandal that sent former top Cuomo official Joe Percoco to federal prison.
“She knew Buffalo’s half billion was going to get people’s attention,” the lawmaker said.
“She knew it would be considered her own capital project.”
Hochul’s request that taxpayers help fund a $1.4 billion stadium for his hometown team only emerged early last week, just days before Thursday’s deadline for adopt the new state budget.
Lawmakers are voting on the 10 finance bills, a task that could continue until Saturday morning.
Congresswoman Latrice Walker (D-Brooklyn), who went on a hunger strike to oppose Hochul’s bail proposals, bitterly blamed “public sentiment and perception” for the governor’s ability to win the Legislature amid a rise in crime across the state.
“This policy has been judged by a court of public opinion, as opposed to fact,” Walker said.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) opposed the cancellation of bail reform and ostensibly refused to appear with Hochul to announce the budget deal.
Under the Bail Reform Act of 2019, judges were left powerless to set bail for defendants charged with most misdemeanors and many felonies.
Hochul’s plan would allow defendants to be held on bail for alleged repeat offences, hate crimes and weapons-related charges, or if their criminal record makes them likely to cause ‘harm’ if turned over to the court. street.
But Mayor Eric Adams and the NYPD unions said on Friday those measures don’t go far enough, with Hizzoner saying “clearly there’s still more to do.”
Veteran Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf said the “greatest thing she got was the Buffalo Bills stadium” but warned it might not help her politically.
“The changes to bail reform were minor and the problem for the fall is that people won’t forget this: the size of the budget, that Buffalo got more than in the state and that it doesn’t there has been no resolution to the crime problem,” he said.
“That’s what they will remember.”
Hochul’s office declined to comment.
New York Post