ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Coming out of a pandemic, New York state is going on a spending spree.
Legislators in Albany are approving a budget deal that boosts spending by $18 billion.
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It includes higher taxes on the wealthy, and finally gets New York in the mobile sports betting game.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, legislators worked into the night Tuesday and on Wednesday approving budget bills on the way to approving a record $212 billion state spending plan.
“We are changing the game. We are ending the age of austerity. We are investing in our New York,” said Brooklyn Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher.
Watch: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Discusses New York State Budget
Democrats say the massive spending addresses historic inequities impacting minorities in particular.
“Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of New Yorkers will benefit from this budget,” said Sen. Julia Salazar.
Republicans say it solidifies New York’s position as the biggest tax-and-spend state in the country.
“The state of New York, we have fewer people than the state of Texas and the state of Florida, yet our state budget as of tonight will be more than both of them combined,” said Sen. Phil Boyle.
With one-party Democratic rule in Albany, progressive activists pushed for and won a tax hike on wealthy New Yorkers.
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It means the 50,000 richest New Yorkers will pay the highest state and local tax rate in the country.
The budget includes record spending for public schools, $2 billion in rent relief for people who’ve fallen behind, and $2 billion in aid for undocumented people who did not qualify for federal stimulus checks.
Some in New York who are in violation of immigration law could receive $15,000 payments. Democrats say it’s an investment.
“The return on that investment is two, three, four times back into our local economies. These are workers who will spend their money on small businesses,” Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said payments to undocumented people will be subject to strict oversight.
“Yes, we’re compassionate and we’re doing the right thing, but we’re also doing it smartly and intelligently,” Cuomo said.
Multiple scandals weakened Cuomo’s negotiating position. He spoke about the budget plan Wednesday morning.
“Seize this moment to actually reposition New York, reimagine New York, reconstruct New York, renew New York,” Cuomo said.
Meanwhile, some are calling the deal to authorize mobile sports betting in New York, “a total mess,” Aiello reported.
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It’s still not clear how many smartphone betting apps will be approved, or if betting will open in time for the NFL season.
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