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Governor's $216.3 billion state budget spends big on healthcare, childcare and education

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 18:50:37-05

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York will see $10 billion injected into the healthcare sector under Governor Kathy Hochul's proposed 2023 budget, including new money to boost wages and bonuses for healthcare workers.

Of that $10 billion multi-year investment, $2 billion will support healthcare worker wages and $1.2 billion will go towards healthcare and mental hygiene worker retention bonuses. Full time workers who remain in their positions for one year would get up to $3,000 in bonuses.

"They're the heroes of this pandemic so lets stop talking about the debt we owe them and actually pay them what they deserve," said Hochul on Tuesday.

Locally, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center will get $4 million to purchase a high-tech van that will conduct early detection lung cancer screening in neighborhoods.

"The fact that the Governor chose to acknowledge Roswell Park and give us these funds, it's going to save lives in Western New York, there's no question about it, and we are thrilled to start this program," said Candace Johnson, Roswell Park's President and CEO.

Johnson says the cancer diagnosis and mortality rate of lung cancer in Western New York is greater than in New York State and the country.

Also in the budget is $25 billion to improve and create affordable housing over five years, $1 billion to fix potholes, and a commitment to increasing access to child care for 400,000 children. It will increase subsidies over the next three years so that a family earning 300% of the federal poverty level, approximately $79,500 for a family of four, will qualify for the subsidy.

But for political analyst Jack O'Donnell, the big takeaway is that this is a balanced budget without increasing taxes.

"I think that's a real significant departure from what we've seen frankly for decades and that allows the governor to put a lot of things in there that are going to make a lot of people very happy," said O'Donnell.

O'Donnell points to federal COVID-19 relief funding, federal infrastructure funding, as well as more revenue coming in from the state. Mobile sports betting is expected to inject hundreds of millions of dollars annually into state coffers.

Senator Rob Ortt (R) says he is concerned about the size of spending in this budget. He wants to make sure the state will not be saddled with long-term financial commitments.

Ortt also wants to know just how much money the public will be paying for the new Buffalo Bills stadium. Details about how much the state will be committing to that were not included in Hochul's budget outline.

"From a transparancy standpoint I would have liked to have seen some mention about this, because there's a very real expectation that there will be significant public dollars involved in a stadium deal," said Ortt.

Robert Mujica, the state's budget director, says negotiations are still ongoing.