Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), right, said the state Legislature...

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), right, said the state Legislature would approve a $1 billion plan to aid asylum seekers who come to New York. Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS/Hans Pennink

ALBANY — The State Legislature will approve a $1 billion plan to help asylum-seekers from war-torn and crime-plagued countries, according to a legislative agreement announced Monday by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. 

The deal represents one of the few agreements to come out of negotiations so far for a state budget that was due March 31.

The Legislature on Monday approved Gov. Kathy Hochul’s fifth “budget extender” through Friday worth nearly $4.8 billion to keep state government operating and to keep most state workers paid.

Budget negotiations between Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, all Democrats, continue over several issues.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • New York State will approve a $1 billion plan to help asylum-seekers from war-torn and crime-plagued countries who have come to New York, according to a legislative agreement announced Monday.
  • The deal represents one of the few agreements to come out of protracted negotiations for a state budget that was due March 31.
  • The state Legislature on Monday also approved Gov. Kathy Hochul’s fifth “budget extender,” worth nearly $4.8 billion, to keep state government operating through Friday.

They include possible ways to crack down on unauthorized retailers of cannabis that have cut into the market of retailers vetted and registered by the state.

Hochul’s proposed expansion of charter schools also is a sticking point.

Nonetheless, rank-and-file legislators said they expected a budget deal to be struck and passed this week.

“I’m pretty optimistic,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan). “I feel we could actually get this done before we go home again” on Friday.

But so far only one major deal has come together: The $1 billion program to help asylum-seekers flocking to New York State, Heastie said Monday.

More than 50,000 immigrants and refugees from Afghanistan, Ukraine and from Central and South America have come to New York over the southern U.S. border in the past year, according to a report by the New York City mayor's office. More than 30,000 of them have settled in New York City.

“The governor proposed that, and we agreed to that,” Heastie told reporters.

A Senate source with knowledge of the agreement confirmed the Senate's intention to back the agreement.

Hochul proposed dividing the cost in thirds, to be paid by the state, New York City and the federal government. There was no immediate comment from Hochul’s office about whether that $3 billion scheme will be part of the final state budget bill.

The program would fund city shelters, National Guard services to support the asylum process, resettlement funds and other services to help immigrants get into safe housing.

Hochul also proposed funding for legal costs to help asylum-seekers become legal residents and for job training.

Hochul, Heastie, Stewart-Cousins and New York City Mayor Eric Adams have continued to call for Congress and the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden to act faster to allow asylum workers to work and fill employment shortages, and to shelter and feed the families.

“The federal government should be doing a better job,” Heastie said Monday.

Adams called the humanitarian and fiscal crisis “a national problem dropped on the lap of the city.”

The vast majority of other issues in the state budget remained unresolved Monday.

Among them is a way to make sure only state-approved retailers are selling marijuana for adults under a 2021 law. A group of registered retailers and applicants for permits came to Albany in March to demonstrate against the widespread sale of cannabis products since 2021 by thousands of competitors who haven't undergone rigorous background checks and other state requirements.

Another sticking point in talks is Hochul’s proposal to expand charter schools, which are public schools operated by private companies that offer an alternative to traditional public schools.

Hochul proposes to end the cap on charter schools allotted to New York City. Hochul also wants to assign charters from schools that failed or closed to operators who would open new schools.

Hochul said charter schools “expand educational opportunities for students.” Opponents such as public school teachers unions say such schools drain funds from traditional public schools.

Heastie, of the Bronx, said Monday he and Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) remain opposed to expansion of charter schools. There was no immediate comment from Hochul.

Top consumer complaints … NUMC running out of money … Mets spring training Credit: Newsday

Child Victims Act lawsuit ... Top consumer complaints ... All-digital SAT ... LI tourism

Top consumer complaints … NUMC running out of money … Mets spring training Credit: Newsday

Child Victims Act lawsuit ... Top consumer complaints ... All-digital SAT ... LI tourism

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME