Highlights of the New York State budget included new gun legislation, no new taxes, tax cuts for the middle class and enacts the strongest Paid Sick Leave program.

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On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced highlights of the 2021 New York State budget. The budget includes no new taxes, continues to phase in tax cuts for the middle class, enacts the strongest Paid Sick Leave program in the nation and advances other progressive priorities including the legalization of gestational surrogacy, according to the Governor's Office.

The budget also enacts the "Josef Neumann Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act," named in memory of the Monsey stabbing victim who passed away this past Monday, defining hate-fueled murder with the intent to cause mass casualties as an act of domestic terrorism with penalties equivalent to other acts of terrorism.

It includes closes a loophole to prohibit individuals who commit serious offenses in other states from obtaining a gun license in New York. It also allows judges to ban high-risk sexual offenders and those who assault MTA employees from accessing the MTA subway, bus and rail systems.

It promotes public health by banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and capping insulin co-payments at $100 per month. It prohibits gender-based pricing discrimination by eliminating the "pink tax."

The enacted budget will also permanently ban hydrofracking in state law to ensure we protect our natural resources. The budget also authorizes a reduction in spending by $10 billion to account for the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is a moment in history unlike any other, and government needs to function and deliver results for the people of this state now more than ever — and that's exactly what we did with this budget," Cuomo said. "That the legislature and the Executive got this budget done with all of these policy initiatives is an extraordinary feat, and I praise Speaker Heastie, Leader Stewart-Cousins and every member of the legislature. It would have been very easy to say, 'Oh, this is an extraordinary year; let's just do the bare minimum and go home.' We did the opposite. We said there is a lot of need and there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed, and we stepped up to the plate and we got it done. That it was done this year is really extraordinary."

More information about the budget can be found here.

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