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NY Lawmakers Pass $168B State Budget

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and top lawmakers struck a deal late Friday night on a $168.3 billion state budget. The massive spending plan includes providing record funding for k-12 education and opioid abuse prevention, and new state sexual harassment policies following the #MeToo movement. 

The state budget also sets out to side-step Trump’s tax plan with changes intended to lessen the impact of the new federal tax code, which will raise tax liabilities for already high-tax state. 

“New York will also become the first state to implement new measures to shield families from the devastating federal tax law’s elimination of full state and local deductibility - an economic arrow aimed at the heart of this state’s economy.” -- Governor Andrew Cuomo

The budget includes measures meant to preserve residents' state and local tax deductibility, including the optional payroll tax model for employers and the creation of new charitable funds for tax payments.

The Senate successfully won to reject $1 billion in new taxes and fees proposed by the Governor and the assembly, including new taxes on internet purchases and DOT fees. This will help reduce New York’s already high cost of living. For the eighth consecutive year, the state budget protects taxpayers by adhering to a self-imposed two-percent spending cap, which will help eliminate $4.5 billion deficit the state is expected to face this year. 

The state budget increases support in K-12 education by $1 billion, to a record total of $26.7 billion for the 2018-2019 school year (a 36 percent increase since 2012). 

The senate also secured a record $247 million to combat the opioid epidemic. It also contains one new tax -- a fee on opioid manufacturers that will raise $100 million a year to combat addiction.

In detailing the deal, the Democratic governor cited the sexual harassment policy as one of the budget’s best provisions, including banning most nondisclosure agreements and mandatory arbitration clauses - both in public and private sectors.

To raise money for NYC subway repairs, Governor Cuomo convinced lawmakers to include fees on taxis and ride-hailing services south of 96th Street in Manhattan -- $2.75 for Uber, Lyft and similar services, $2.50 for taxis. It's expected to be the first phase of a plan to impose tolls on all vehicles.