Here’s Your Guide to the 2023 State Budget Fight

We added up the governor and the legislature’s joint priorities and broke down their major divisions. The splits will define the year’s big legislative battles.

New York Focus   ·   March 16, 2023
From left: Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie | Photos: Office of Governor Kathy Hochul, NY Senate Media Services, Carl E. Heastie | Illustration: Maia Hibbett for New York Focus

IT’S MORE LIKE an agenda than a budget. Every year, New York’s governor and two legislative chambers hash out how the state should spend its money — and a stack of other policy priorities. They usually promise record spending: this year, a proposed $227 billion from Governor Kathy Hochul and $233 billion from the Assembly. (The Senate hasn’t published its total.)

Where the governor and the legislatures’ budgets agree, the transformation of priority into policy is likely. Their divisions will define the year’s big legislative battles. This year’s fights include how to set bail, where the governor pitched reversing decades-old precedent against the wishes of the legislature; the governor’s “cap-and-invest” plan to reduce climate-harming emissions, which the Senate wants to flesh out and the Assembly left out; and – in what could be the fiercest dispute of the season – Hochul’s signature plan to force localities to build more housing, which both chambers flatly rejected.

The executive holds most of the leverage in budget negotiations, but an emboldened legislature that just flexed its muscles by shooting down the governor’s chief judge pick could put up more of a fight than usual. Last year, legislators wrung about $2 billion out of Hochul beyond what she’d proposed; this year, with the state’s reserves flush with cash, they may aim for more.

Below, New York Focus broke down each player’s spending and policy priorities. Survey the items in our table, and use the drop-down arrows to read more about where state leaders agree, where there’s debate, and what they left out.

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