New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed legislation enacting a $220 billion state budget filled with wasteful spending, notably including a $220 million allocation for free Medicaid coverage for illegal immigrants. It also includes a $600 million subsidy courtesy of state taxpayers for a new football stadium for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
Federal law does not allow for Medicare for illegal immigrants to be paid for with federal taxpayer funds. As a result, New York’s taxpayers will be on the hook for the entire tab for as many as 20,000 “undocumented” migrants receiving free healthcare in the state.
The state Medicare program has numerous details yet to be disclosed regarding illegal migrant eligibility, although it has already been announced that individuals earning less than $18,754 annually will qualify.
Gov. Hochul, who lives in Buffalo, has especially pushed the $600 million taxpayer gift to the NFL for a new stadium in the city. That subsidy was a significant factor in the delay in the budget process in recent days.
Erie County will add $250 million in country taxpayer funding to the stadium project. The combined funding will make the new stadium project the most highly subsidized stadium in the country according to an analysis by Bloomberg. The Bills franchise and the NFL are expected to only put $550 million into the construction of the new facility.
The Bills franchise promised to remain in Buffalo for another 30 years in exchange for the public contribution toward the new 60,000 seat open-air stadium.
The latest New York budget also allocates $350 million to the New York City Housing Authority for capital funding. That agency is facing significant financial hardship as many thousand city residents are behind on rent payments following the economic downturn and lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The massive new budget comes as New York already is one of the country’s most indebted states. The variety of big-ticket items in the budget are sure to be used by Hochul to bolster her campaign this year as she runs for her first full term.
Hochul has the advantage this year of cash provided by federal pandemic aid, Wall Street profits, and a tax increase imposed on high-income earners. New York political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said that Hochul has a budget that New York “will likely not ever have again.”