Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - A pair of WBEN political pundits are perusing the 2024 budget proposal announced by Governor Kathy Hochul Wednesday and expect a showdown between Hochul and the legislature on some of the items included.
"I think we're set up for a couple of real fights here between the governor and the legislature," says Jack O'Donnell of O'Donnell & Associates. He believes the disagreement will center on criminal justice, housing and giving Albany the ability to override local municipalities. "She also announced that changing the charter school cap out of New York City to allow more charters to be developed, that's going to set up a big fight with the teachers in the legislature," adds O'Donnell.
Republican strategist Carl Calabrese also expects some key battles. "The first phase in it with her proposal for a new chief judge for the Court of Appeals judge in the Senate. And the progressive left of her party did not think he was progressive, left and up. And they defeated her. And that was a stinging rebuke for a sitting governor who has just won re election," says Calabrese. He believes there could be many setbacks if the legislature continues turning back her proposal for chief justice continuing that into budget negotiation.
Calabrese says he was not impressed with Hochul's budget proposal overall. He says Hochul was bemoaning the fact people were leaving the state a couple of weeks ago, but her proposal isn't helping. "I don't see a lot of actions that would reverse that out migration trend, there is no tax relief for homeowners on property taxes," says Calabrese.
One thing not mentioned in Hochul's budget address was the controversial gas appliance ban. "I'm not surprised at all," said Calabrese. "Because that is a very, very nasty issue for the Democrats. They're gonna continue to move that way. I mean, she is still allowing, or she's still continuing the ban on gas hookups for new buildings, that's not changing," says Calabrese. He believes the only way Hochul would have brought the issue up would be to announce she was dropping it. O'Donnell says there's some pushback, as in the budget book it says "it was explicit that stoves would have been included and that there would be an exemption for commercial stoves."
Some wonder why policies are boiled into budget proposals instead of being born in the legislative process. Both analysts say policies cost money. "It's fine to to talk about different principles and ideas, but if you're really serious about them you got to put them into effect and into play and that usually means some type of budgetary appropriation ... for more personnel, departments, new equipment, new new technology, that all costs money," says Calabrese. O'Donnell concurs, adding, "A lot of folks, especially a lot of good government advocates that would really like to separate the policy fights from from the budget. But this is where the governor has has the most influence."
The budget must be passed by April 1.