Breaking down the 2020 New York State Budget

OSWEGO, N.Y. – On March 31st, the 2020 New York State budget was approved by the Senate and Assembly in Albany. For state residents, there are some important things to know about changes to come in 2020.

Perhaps the most well known change is the ban on single use plastic bags. As part of Governor Cuomo’s effort to make New York carbon neutral, this will prevent stores like Wal-Mart and Wegmans from giving you bags when you check out starting in March 2020. Many counties are opt-ing out of a part of the law that also allows for a tax on paper bags, including Oswego.

Additionally, the budget introduced reforms to the criminal justice system, eliminating cash-bail for minor offenses, but also preventing police agencies from releasing mug shots when individuals are arrested and booked.

Locally, at least two county Sheriffs have said that the law is up to interpretation, including Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol. In a statement, Maciol saying in part “the public’s safety and the transparency of the Sheriff’s Office have always been priorities of ours and that is why we will continue to release the photos of those we arrest.”

Lewis, Madison, Cayuga, and Oswego Counties will continue to release mug shots, while Onondaga County, the City of Syracuse, and the New York State Police will no longer release photos.

Other important items included in the budget includes:

  • Nearly $1 billion dollars towards Education
  • A permanent 2% cap on property taxes
  • Major reforms to New York City’s MTA
  • The closing of three state prisons
  • Requiring police agencies create a “use of force” policy with mandated reporting of incidents.