Westchester representatives react to the 2024 state budget deal

ALBANY — The 2024 state budget was approved by lawmakers Saturday, 20 days after the April 1 constitutional deadline to adopt a budget plan. The final budget deal totaling $236.8 billion consisted of ten broad bills covering both policy and spending issues. Several Westchester County state representatives responded to the final spending plan.

State Senator Shelley Maher (D, Westchester) viewed the school funding increase included in the final budget as a step in the right direction. “The enacted budget increases school aid by more than half a billion dollars over the Governor’s proposal. This victory is a tribute to the parents, teachers, school board members, superintendents and advocates across the state who have made their voices heard over the past four months,” said Maher, chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

Assemblyman Matt Slater (R, Westchester) was disappointed that the final budget did not include more money for highway repairs and improvements. “Investing in our state highways is critical to the safety and quality of life in our communities, and has been sidelined and left out of a $240 billion budget,” he said.

Sen. Peter Harckham (D, Westchester) celebrated the funding to address climate change that produced the final cut. “New York will continue to lead the nation in protecting the environment and combating climate change in the new state budget, which includes important funding for infrastructure to deliver drinking water to our communities. There is still more work to be done, and we simply cannot wait to make the necessary investments that will lead to a cleaner, more sustainable future for us all,” said Harckham, chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.

Other provisions in the budget included new protections for renters, changes to the state’s Medicaid program and new laws to combat shoplifting. The 2024 budget balanced without raising personal income taxes, a move supported by the Senate and Assembly but ultimately rejected by the governor.