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Breaking down fiscal year 2020 budget, legislators debate hot topics

(WBNG) — After New York state legislators worked well into the early hours of the morning, they finally approved the fiscal year 2020 executive budget. 12 News breaks down some highlights.

The Democrat-controlled legislature passed the $175.5 billion state budget Monday.

The ban on most single-use plastic bags will take effect March 1, 2020.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo supports the ban saying, “there was no need, we’ve been trying to get this done, we’ve gotten it done.”

The governor says cities and counties can opt into a 5-cent fee on paper bags, a point State Senator James Seward (R, 51st) isn’t on board with.

“It all goes to the state purposes and nothing for the retailer whose assuming greater cost because of this ban,” said Seward.

Another major topic discussed for months has been the legalization of recreational marijuana, which didn’t make it into the spending plan, pleasing Seward.

He says the governor assumed there would be $300 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales, saying, “I felt that this should not be done strictly for the state to collect more money.”

Cuomo argues, “the political desire is there, I believe we will get it done.”

Something the two did agree on, however, was increasing limousine safety.  This comes after Octobers devastating Schoharie crash.

“I am pleased that this budget includes requirements for higher insurance coverage for stretch limos and other changes that will make those that step into a limo will be a much safer situation,” said Seward.

With the approved budget, Cuomo will also become the nation’s highest paid governor.

The Democrat-led Senate and Assembly voted early Monday to gradually increase the Democratic executive’s salary from the current $179,000 to $250,000 on Jan. 1, 2021.

New York State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D, 123rd District) did reach out to 12 News with a statement, saying:

“While there are some very positive aspects of this year’s budget, there’s still a lot of work to be done. We made the property tax cap permanent, increased aid for schools and the environment, and substantially increased in-home services for the elderly. But before session ends, we have to make sure significant capital investments are made in our Upstate roads and bridges, colleges, universities and municipalities.”

For additional details on the budget, visit the governor’s website here.

Julia Gorman

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