ALBANY – Governor Hochul and the State Legislature today finalized the state budget for FY 2023.
The following statement is attributable to New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman:
“This year’s budget process and outcome are proof positive that the ‘big ugly’ is alive and well in New York. The name of the game is still political horse-trading and closed-door deals. In the end, we’re left with a case of whiplash. On several fronts, lawmakers drove our state toward justice, but on others, they put on the brakes or threw it in reverse.
“We’re pleased that the budget allocates significant resources for child care and education, made abortion coverage stronger, and codified legal recognition of gender-nonconforming identities. The state committed resources to ensure farmworkers get fair pay and to get all New Yorkers access to true high-speed broadband. This is progress. But even this progress was uneven: the budget fails to provide critical protections and resources for undocumented New Yorkers. The budget wrongly excludes from expanded health care access most undocumented New Yorkers, many of whom made up the work force that enables all of us to live, eat, and work during a pandemic. It is a shame that we did not learn from the pandemic that the health of all of us depends on the health of the most vulnerable among us.
“It is deeply disappointing that lawmakers capitulated to fear-mongering by rolling back aspects of the criminal legal system reforms that the Legislature had adopted in recent years to disrupt the decades-long regime of mass incarceration. Policies passed in this budget will subject more New Yorkers to dangerous jails like Rikers because they can’t afford to pay bail to get out. It will also result in more New Yorkers who pose no danger to others being forced into mental health treatment, including those living in poverty. This expanded use of forced treatment is both cruel and ineffective in promoting public safety. This is a retreat from what is right. We thank those legislators who stood strong in the face of pressure to roll back these historic reforms and chose facts over fear.
“State leaders also missed the opportunity to strengthen our democracy by making voting more accessible with a shortened registration deadline, making schools less punitive by replacing suspensions with support, and giving New Yorkers with convictions the chance to contribute to their communities by passing the Clean Slate Act.
“The NYCLU will continue to push and partner with state leaders through the remainder of the legislative session to deliver for the health and wellbeing of all New Yorkers and our democracy.”