Gas tax cut, child care boost, bail in pending NY budget

Gas tax cut, child care boost, bail in pending NY budget

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York will devote billions of dollars to help families pay for child care, boost health care worker wages and temporarily cut state gasoline taxes, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday as she announced a “conceptual” agreement with legislators on a $220 billion state budget.

The Democrat said legislative leaders also agreed to modify the state’s bail laws, making it easier for judges to jail criminal defendants who were repeat offenders or used firearms.

Lawmakers planned to begin voting Thursday evening on the budget, which was due April 1 but had been held up by last-minute policy and spending disagreements. Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said the “hope” is to wrap up work Friday.

The budget was delayed in part over disagreements on whether to roll back parts of a landmark 2019 law that largely did away with cash bail for nonviolent offenses.

Centrist Democrats demanded changes, concerned about an uptick in violent crime during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some specifics of the bail changes are still being worked out, but elements of the deal would let judges require more people to post bail to gain their freedom while awaiting trial if they had repeatedly been arrested for similar crimes, Stewart-Cousins said. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)