New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state’s residents want to see a state budget “that delivers for them” and says there is a lot in the conceptual agreement reached Monday between her and legislative leaders that those residents can be proud of.

The governor sat down with Capital Tonight on Tuesday to discuss some of the parameters of that agreement that includes public safety measures, record funding in education and a housing plan.

Regarding crime, the problem of organized retail theft is what promoted items like razor blades to be locked up in stores in recent years. The budget deal has increased penalties for assaulting retail workers, makes it illegal to foster the sale of stolen goods online and allocates $40 million for retail theft teams in the State Police and local law enforcement.

“It’s a deterrent. Just to say you do this, you cross the line, there’s severe consequences,” Hochul told Capital Tonight. “Also, security measures for stores to help them, the smaller ones to be able to have security cameras and other areas we can have deterrence.”

The budget deal also gives local governments the power to close down illicit cannabis vendors while the legalized industry has faced delays and legal setbacks in its implementation.

“I want to make sure we speed up the process for those who’ve been waiting. It affects our farmers, our upstate farmers have taken on the chin on this. We’re trying to help them, but also those who have been waiting for a long time,” Hochul said.

After proposed changes in her executive budget to public school funding exposed fault lines between her agenda and the state Legislature, Hochul said the budget agreement commits $36 billion to education, which is the highest in state history. The big issue at large was Hochul’s proposal to eliminate the “Save Harmless” provision, which ensures schools don’t receive less funding regardless of population loss. The provision will remain for now and the state Education Department and Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany will conduct a comprehensive study over the next year on the Foundation Aid formula that determines funding for schools.

“My view is we’ve funded [schools] in historic high levels. We’re continuing to have historically high levels of funding, even this year. They’ve not been cut,” Hochul said. “But we also have to look at this in a common sense way, the way average New Yorkers would look at this. We’re funding empty seats. Why is that? They’re basing it on a funding formula based on population from 2008. Think about the shifts in population. There has been at least a 10% overall loss in school-age population.”

The governor also discusses her housing plan and the decision for not raising taxes.


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