Although state leaders promised a "bare bones" budget this year, they did include one significant piece of policy in the new laws governing sexual harassment in state government, which includes better protection for victims.
"The nation has done nothing," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "I said in the state of the state, once again, New York State should lead. That's our role. Here's a new, complex issue, let's see if we can tackle it first and come up with the solution. And we have, the nation's most aggressive anti-sexual harassment agenda."
The budget also addressed a number of priorities for the city, including $250 million in-state funding to make repairs in public housing. It would also grant what is known as design-build authority to make those repairs more efficient.
"It has the design and the construction team sitting together, so you take a step out of the process and so that way you can have it much faster," said state Senator Brian Benjamin of Manhattan.
The budget also includes new fees on for-hire vehicles like Uber and Lyft as a ground floor to congestion pricing to help fund the subways.
Design-build authority was also granted to speed up the closure of Rikers Island jail and get construction started on a critical project to refurbish the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
But the budget at one point did hit a major snag this week, when Brooklyn state Senator Simcha Felder threatened to hold up the budget in exchange for lessening educational standards at Yeshivas. Eventually, he agreed to compromise.
"Something has to be the last-minute holdup, and it's normally not an issue, it's normally a confluence of issues," Cuomo said. "It's like a stream, and the water's going down the stream, and then one stone blocks the stream and other stones pile up behind it."
Lawmakers were happy to have a final deal in place, even if they didn’t get all they had been seeking in the budget.
"We want to do the right thing by the people of the state of New York," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. "I used to say I get my chicken and my macaroni and cheese and sometimes I get my green beans. And I don’t like green peas. In this world you got to compromise to get things done.”
The budget also contains a provision to establish a pay commission that will ultimately determine whether to give lawmakers a pay raise. It has five members who were chosen by the legislative leaders and the governor. Lawmakers haven’t had a pay increase since 1999.