Hours after the state missed its midnight budget deadline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has reached a “conceptual agreement” with the leaders of both legislative chambers, a plan that’s likely to be much smaller than Cuomo’s original $178 billion spending proposal.
The COVID-19 pandemic means cuts for an assortment of major and minor programs in the state budget, but lawmakers and Cuomo have managed to push through a nearly 2% increase in state aid to public schools.
14 patients infected with the coronavirus have been transferred from the New York City area to a hospital in Albany, as health officials work to manage an outbreak that is concentrated in downstate counties.
The New York City Police Department is considering forming “DOA Teams” – which stands for dead on arrival – to help collect the mounting number of bodies from the coronavirus, asking for volunteers from precinct detective units.
New Yorkers are struggling to file claims for unemployment benefits, as applications have inundated the state Department of Labor, and Cuomo has acknowledged the state is having problems processing claims.
The number of visits to New York City’s website for survivors of domestic violence has more than doubled in the recent weeks of the coronavirus pandemic as city residents are largely confined to their homes with dwindling opportunities for refuge from abuse.
At least three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at New York City’s lone private jail, a little-known 222-bed facility called the Queens Detention Facility that is tucked among warehouses near JFK Airport.
A judge has ruled that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s elevators might be terrible, but they don’t violate the rights of people with disabilities, a blow to advocates seeking to hold the MTA accountable for elevators that are frequently out of order.
New York is asking hospitals to adopt a statewide approach to the coronavirus pandemic to prevent overcrowding, staffing strains and equipment shortages seen at New York City facilities in recent days.
The battle against the coronavirus has become personal for Gov. Andrew Cuomo after his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, said he tested positive for the disease, and as the number of cases in the state is projected to peak within seven to 21 days.
Cuomo confirmed that recreational marijuana is “not likely” to be included in the budget the state Legislature must approve before midnight after weeks of assurances that he was doing his best to include a plethora of policy issues in the spending package.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city’s latest planned makeshift hospital – at the Queens stadium that houses the U.S. Open tennis tournament – will quickly be at “full capacity” after it starts taking coronavirus patients next week.
The head of the New York State Funeral Directors Association fears that New York City could soon see dead bodies piling up due to the surge in coronavirus deaths combined with limits on cemetery shifts.
New York City is offering inmates at the Rikers Island jail complex $6 per hour – a fortune by prison labor standards – and personal protective equipment if they agree to help dig mass graves on Hart Island.
A cutting-edge manufacturing center at SUNY New Paltz is using its 3D printers to produce hundreds of face shields a day that are being used by health care facilities and medical personnel at drive-thru coronavirus testing sites.
A U.S. Navy hospital ship arrived in New York City to help alleviate the strain of the coronavirus crisis on local hospitals, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined a new statewide plan to coordinate medical care for infected patients.
The number of coronavirus deaths in New York City surged to 914, accelerated by six hours that saw the tally spike by 124 – or one death every 2.9 minutes – as the number of cases had ticked up to 38,087.
Preparations for a pandemic have been taking shape for years at New York City Transit, but as the coronavirus crisis escalates, transit union leaders say workers are deeply concerned over a shortage of protective equipment.
New York City will be teaming up with state and federal officials to rent hotels in the city and convert them into temporary hospitals to help ease the burden on other facilities dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
With safe distancing orders in place, and lobbyists and many staffers being mandated not to enter the state Capitol, the 2020 state budget process will go down in history as the most opaque New York has ever seen.
There’s a growing acknowledgment among legislators that the new state budget, which is due by midnight on Tuesday, may be late, and the financial uncertainties seem to suggest there are even more topics than normal that aren’t quite wrapped up.
The New York State Sheriffs’ Association and the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police issued a joint statement calling on Cuomo and the state Legislature to shelve tweaks to the bail laws amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, despite wanting the changes enacted.
State and local elected officials said that the large number of COVID-19 cases in Huntington Station and Woodmere on Long Island may be due to population density and gatherings that took place before such events were banned.
Rather than reject federal Medicaid money from the recent coronavirus relief bill over fears of the strings attached, Cuomo should work with the federal government to do regulatory surgery in a fashion that preserves the state’s eligibility.
New York desperately needs the billions in Medicaid aid the federal government approved two weeks ago, but what the state needs most right now from the federal government is money, with no strings attached, to meet a budget shortfall that could reach $15 billion next year.
Cuomo’s position on federal Medicaid funding for COVID-19 – turning it down to implement his cost-saving changes – has perplexed some lawmakers and public health experts, who say all he would have to do is delay the implementation of some of his proposals.
Another crucial New York industry that has been impacted by the pandemic is real estate – when the first confirmed COVID-19 cases were announced in early March, the industry took note but largely operated as normal; now, the outlook is significantly different.
The federal government’s stockpile of respirator masks, gloves and other medical supplies is running low and is nearly exhausted due to the coronavirus outbreak, leaving the Trump administration and the states to compete for equipment on the open market.
Doctors in China reported that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine helped to speed the recovery of a small number of patients who were mildly ill from the coronavirus, but more research is needed to clarify how it might work in treating COVID-19.
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepares to pass sweeping “Phase 4” economic legislation, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is throwing cold water on Democrats’ hopes to address the coronavirus crisis by boosting infrastructure spending and social programs.
As states across the country have pleaded for critical medical equipment from a key national stockpile, Florida has promptly received 100% of its first two requests – with President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis both touting their close relationship.
House Democrats are moving rapidly on ambitious plans for a fourth coronavirus relief package, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi eager to put her imprint on legislation that she says could be ready for a vote in the coming weeks.
Research Director, Empire Center for Public Policy
THIS YEAR'S RANK: 97CHANGE: -4
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 97
As founder and research director of the Empire Center for Public Policy, E.J. McMahon is a go-to expert on budget plans and policy proposals. His organization promotes greater transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility in state government, which often puts him at odds with lawmakers and the governor. McMahon previously worked as a journalist in Albany, as an Assembly Republican staffer and a budget adviser for almost 30 years, giving him great insight into the goings-on in the Capitol.