NYS Legislative Session Update – 3.24.2020

In his press briefing this morning, Governor Cuomo indicated that the rate of COVID-19 cases in New York is doubling every 3 days.  This means that the initial estimates that at the peak 110,000 beds would be needed is now low and the latest estimate is that 140,000 beds will now be needed at the peak.

This briefing was happening against the backdrop of budget negotiations.  These new infection numbers will have an impact on the state budget.  The Governor’s budget director was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, and he was quoted as saying that the Governor’s initial budget proposal from January is no longer viable absent massive assistance from the federal government.  The Governor’s proposed budget from January relied on $88 billion in state revenues.  According to the budget director, latest projections are that there could be a $9 – $15 billion impact to the State’s revenues.  As a result of this, the Governor is seeking unilateral authority to make budget adjustments during the fiscal year.  So far, there has been no official response to this proposal from the Senate or Assembly though in the past, they have been reluctant to grant this unilateral authority. 

At this point, it isn’t certain when the Senate and Assembly will reconvene for session.  It will likely not be until a budget deal is reached.  As we stated yesterday, there was a resolution introduced in the Assembly that would change the chambers rules to allow for voting by teleconference or videoconference, so it is possible that the Assembly could convene at some point before a budget deal is reached to pass the resolution.

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