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State budget still ‘ambitious’ as COVID-19 deaths reach 1,900 in New York, Cuomo says

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Whether or not the state budget will be passed on time is still unknown as the government in Albany progresses through Wednesday and the growing coronavirus crisis advancing across the state.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, once again airing his daily press briefing to soothe the public’s fears, said the death toll has risen above 1,900 across the state and over 3,000 in the ICU. But that does not mean the budget will not pass by the end of April 1.

The model put together by the state projects the death toll continuing well through the summer, all the way into May or July.

Robert Mujica, the state’s budget director, said there will need to be some borrowing if New York is to meet the goals laid out by Cuomo earlier in the year.

“We had no choice but to issue short term borrowing to bridge the gap from tax filing date change… we still have expenditures during that period, so for that period of time we have tools – we have some reserves – and then temporary borrowing to bridge that gap,” Mujica said.

As Cuomo would have it, the budget will be passed on time and no sacrifices will be made as a result of the COVID-19 crisis which has only begun to seize up the economy in an unprecedented way.

“When we did the state of the state, we had a lot of policy ideas, we had a lot of reforms for this state that would help many, many New Yorkers… all of those items are still in this budget,” Cuomo said. “With everything going on we did not scale back our efforts or our ambitions to advance this state to greater heights. You look at this budget, you would never know that anything was going on.”

If Cuomo is correct, the budget will be as robust as announced.

On January 20, Cuomo’s 2020 state of the state address outlined bold strategies expand public transit in and around Penn Station by acquiring land to the south and completing construction on the Moynihan Train Hall. East Side Access, an $11 billion project will also be completed in this timeframe.

East Side Access and the train hall being converted out of the Farley Building is projected to boost transportation capacity by well over 300,000 people per day.

Not only that, but the governor had plans to legalize marijuana and make sweeping changes to environmental policy.

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