Assembly speaker says budget talks will continue as ‘normal’

Mar 16, 2021

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Monday that he expects state budget negotiations to continue as “normal,” despite his decision to authorize an impeachment inquiry of Gov. Andrew Cuomo over several women’s allegations of sexual harassment, as well as a nursing home scandal. 

Heastie said he will announce later in the week the Assembly’s choice of an outside law firm to aid the Judiciary Committee in carrying out the impeachment probe. But he said he expects budget talks between the legislature and the governor to go on as planned.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie meets with reporters at the state Capitol Monday.
Credit Karen DeWitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

“People still elected us to do our jobs,” said Heastie, who added the “biggest thing” right now is settling on a budget.

“It still has to be done, no matter what is occurring here in the Capitol,” he said.

The Assembly and the state Senate are proposing $7 billion in new taxes on the wealthy, including several new, higher income tax brackets, a capital gains surcharge and a higher inheritance tax on large estates. 

Heastie said the Legislature’s unity on the proposal sends a “clear message” to the governor, who supports a much smaller tax increase on the rich. Cuomo backs one temporary, higher income tax bracket for New Yorkers making over $5 million a year.

Both houses hold a supermajority, which would enable them to potentially override a governor’s veto, if there’s disagreement over a plan. 

Heastie said he has not spoken to Cuomo since his house’s decision to begin the impeachment probe. But he said the two did exchange text messages about the new categories of vaccine eligibility that open up this week.