The Assembly and Senate each announced their budget priorities last, and both houses are expected to approve their respective one-house budgets early this week. Once they do, they are then expected to enter into a conference committee process to resolve the differences between their respective budget bills.

The Senate is pushing for a middle class tax cut that would provide a 25% reduction in the state’s income tax rate.  Their plan would also increase the amount of pension and retirement income that is exempt from taxes to benefit elderly residents.  It also includes increased tax exemptions for small businesses paying an income tax, and an accelerated phased out of the 18-a utility surcharge.  The Senate’s budget will also provide for parity between downstate and Upstate transportation funding.

The Assembly’s one-house budget proposes a tax increase for high earners, a small tax reduction for middle class earners, and a $2.1 billion increase in education spending, more than double that proposed by the Governor.  The Assembly also said that it plans to propose $30 million to address the heroin epidemic, a tuition freeze for SUNY and CUNY students, and $75 million for child care.