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Cuomo and legislative leaders announce agreement on a new state budget

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WXXI News
The New York state Capitol building in Albany.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders have announced an agreement on the new state budget, which is due April 1,

They sent out a statement early Sunday morning saying that the $175 billion budget holds spending growth at two percent.

It includes:

-a permanent 2% property tax cap.

-an additional $1 billion for school aid for aid that will total $27.9 billion.

-criminal justice reforms, including reforming the cash bail system.

-bans single-use plastic bags provided to customers and allows counties and cities to opt in to a 5-cent fee on paper bags, with 40 percent of the revenue supporting local programs to buy reusable bags for low and fixed income consumers, and 60 percent of the revenue supporting programs in the State's Environmental Protection Fund. The bag ban is scheduled to take effect in March 2020.

"From the beginning, I said we will not do a budget that fails to address three major issues that have evaded this state for decades - the permanent property tax cap, criminal justice reform and an MTA overhaul including Central Business District Tolling," Cuomo said. "I also said this budget must be done right - meaning it must be fiscally responsible and protect New York from the federal government's ongoing economic assault on our state. I am proud to announce that together, we got it done. This agreement accomplishes our goals and enacts the transformative policies of our 100-day Justice Agenda, while keeping spending at 2% for the 9th consecutive year."

New York lawmakers are expected to begin passing the budget on Sunday. 

Major issues that didn't make it into the spending plan include legalization of recreational marijuana. That could still be taken up before the state legislation session ends in June.

The budget agreement also establishes a state commission that will come up with a system for public financing of legislative and statewide offices, with up to $100 million in taxpayer funds authorized annually for such a system.

Cuomo and legislative leaders also agreed to legislation that would allow three hours of paid time off for New Yorkers to vote on Election Day and expand voting hours upstate to begin at 6 a.m. instead of noon.

And drivers traveling into the busiest sections of Manhattan will be charged a toll starting in 2021

The Manhattan tolls plan known as congestion pricing will be the first of its kind in the nation. State leaders said a review board will determine the toll amount, exemptions and credits for drivers headed into the borough's central business district. The billions the tolls are expected to raise will go toward fixing New York City's ailing mass transit system.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.