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In Late-Stage Budget Talks, Hochul Wins Concessions From N.Y. Lawmakers

In the days approaching April 1, the corridors and backrooms of the New York State Capitol tend to be filled with tension and chaos, as the governor, lawmakers and staff scramble to meet the deadline to pass a state budget that is as much a policy blueprint as it is a spending plan.

This year was different.

Budget talks dragged out almost three weeks past the April 1 deadline, leading some to wonder whether Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat in her first full term, had lost control of the process.

But by the time the budget was officially passed by the Legislature on Saturday, it was clear that Ms. Hochul had achieved her goal: a final $237 billion budget that included a checklist of her priorities. They included new resources to fight retail crime, a statewide artificial intelligence consortium, and a landmark housing deal aimed at bolstering residential construction — all without raising taxes on the wealthy.

The governor’s long-game approach seemed to reflect lessons she has learned in reaching the three budget agreements since she took office in 2021: that a governor can lead while honoring the spirit of collaboration and that a good deal is better than a fast one.

After Ms. Hochul announced on Monday that leaders had reached agreement on a budget framework, she continued to negotiate over the next few days, most notably persuading state lawmakers to use the budget to extend mayoral control of New York City schools for two more years.

The final budget contains $2.4 billion to support migrant services in New York City, an increase of half a billion dollars over last year’s funding that should cover case management, medical expenses and legal resources. It also includes a substantial new tax break for developers, expanded tenant protections and new enforcement powers for localities to crack down on unlicensed cannabis shops.

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