State Budget Nears Completion as Deadline Looms Sunday Night

Jo Lloyd
April 1, 2019

Agreed-to items in the budget include a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, closing up to three yet-to-be-determined state prisons and congestion tolls to ease traffic in Manhattan below 61st Street.

Democratic state Sen. Todd Kaminsky told CNN affiliate WCBS last week that the plastic bag ban was a longtime coming.

New York State is poised to follow California and become the second state in the country to completely ban single-use plastic bags, with lawmakers in Albany agreeing Thursday on the new regulations to cut-down on litter and waste. A plastic bag ban will simply increase the financial duress for New York's grocery store industry without achieving the goal of improving the environment.

The legislation which bans use on all single-use plastic bags will most likely be married to a 5-cent fee on paper bags.

Cuomo proposed the idea as part of his $175 billion budget plan for the fiscal year 2019-20.

"I think we have a lot of agreements or are close to agreement", Heastie said.

"T$3 hese bags have blighted our environment and clogged our waterways". "But I'm glad we're doing it now and leading the way in being one of the first states to do it".

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the Legislature and governor are committed to ending cash bail in NY, even if they can't complete the goal in the budget.

Lawmakers could not come to an agreement on recreational marijuana in the FY 2020 budget.

Cuomo also says the state spending plan, when finished, will codify the health care protections in the federal Affordable Care Act into state law. As Ben Adler reported for Wired in 2016, a comprehensive 2007 Australian study found that paper bags actually have a higher carbon footprint than plastic-largely because it takes more energy to make and transport them.

In New York, a temple of consumerism with 8.5 million inhabitants, supermarkets generally provide free plastic bags, sometimes doubled for greater solidity.

The budget also will include a new tax on prescription opioids.

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