Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave his annual budget address on January 15, 2019, but his address went far beyond dollars and cents.
According to the New York Post, the Governor “unveiled a new $178.8 billion budget long on his progressive agenda aspirations but often short on details of execution.” The Governor also covered a wide range of policy issues, some of which had little to do with budgetary matters.
In his address, the Governor proposed to legalize sports betting at four upstate casinos. He also reiterated his support for the legalization of recreational marijuana, which the Governor proposes to tax at a 20% rate, with an additional 2% tax for counties. (Surprisingly, the Governor added that he believes counties and large cities should be able to opt out of marijuana legalization; it remains to be seen whether the Legislature would be receptive to such a limit.)
Gov. Cuomo also proposed to create a state-level individual mandate requiring New Yorkers to purchase health insurance. The Governor also desires to “make permanent the state’s health exchange, New York State of Health, as a way of driving down insurance costs.”
Finally, the Governor reiterated his support for a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing the so-called “right” to abortion.