Happy New Year!

Midterm Elections, 2024 Legislative Preview, NYS in Review

Good morning and happy New Year from Paris, host of the 2024 Olympics where the mightiest men and women—who have trained for years or even decades—will use every bit of skill and cunning, every single ounce of muscle, and any reserve of determination and perseverance to battle for supremacy. A fitting preview for the 2024 Midterm Elections in our nation.

Which issues will dominate the 2024 Legislative Sessions from D.C. to Albany?

Jack lays it out in our annual Legislative Preview.

Read it here.

The Midterm Elections are one of the important things we at O’Donnell & Associates are watching closely for 2024.  New York, as an overwhelmingly Democratic state that sent five new Republicans to Congress in 2022, was always going to be ground zero for control of Congress (along with California which sent 6 GOP members), but the recent decision of the New York State Court of Appeals to require new Congressional District Lines makes that doubly true. New York just happens to be home to Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn and Democratic victories in New York would help him become Speaker of the House. With only 25 seats across the country rated highly competitive (or toss up) by the Cook Political Report, those 5 seats in New York loom very large. 

New York is also home to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.  Those same Midterm Elections appear even more daunting for Senate Democrats. They are defending 23 seats while the GOP is only defending 10 and none in competitive states. Democrats will have to play defense in increasingly red states like Ohio, Montana, and Arizona. The West Virginia seat is all but gone for Democrats with the announcement from Senator Joe Manchin that he will not be seeking reelection. In a state won by Trump by 40 points in 2020, Manchin was widely seen as the only Democrat who could win and hold that seat. Schumer’s leadership has been very, very good for New York.  From the CHIPs Act (most recently IBM and Micron invested $9 billion under that), to the largest federal investment in broadband, the federal Tech Hub designations for Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse and Binghamton, and the new Medicare Wage Index rule, New York has benefited from Schumer’s commitment to New York. While focused on these national issues and races across the country, Schumer has still managed to visit all of New York’s 62 counties again this year.  For the 25th time.  Simply amazing.  (Chuck is looking a little older, but I look the same, right?). 

Jack and Senator Schumer on tour

Of course, all of this will be overshadowed by the presidential campaign.  Most polling shows that Americans are not excited about a rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

We will see in a couple of weeks if Nikki Haley can make up ground on Trump in Iowa (January 15th) and New Hampshire (January 23rd), and next month in Nevada (February 8th), her home state of South Carolina (February 24th), or Michigan (February 27th). The betting here is that she does not and the race for the Republican nomination is effectively over by March, giving Americans the race they say they do not want.  Nonetheless, I think the discontent inside the Republican Party is much more real than the divisions within the Democratic Party.  Biden has come this far under very difficult circumstances, he has abandoned his “more progressive than FDR rhetoric” and adopted the smarter and more strategic reasonableness standard. That, along with a soft landing of the economy and a little foreign policy luck, positions Biden well heading into the new year. Add in the catnip that Trump has always been for Democrats and particular groups of moderate voters, and my bold prediction for 2024 is that Biden cruises to reelection. There will certainly be plenty of handwringing by Democrats and many in the media on the way though.

All of that means local issues will be more important than ever.  Read further in our detailed 2024 Legislative Session Preview, but suffice it to say we expect budget and financial issues to dominate the Albany conversation in 2024 and play major roles in these Congressional races. 

New York is facing a $4.3 billion gap for the upcoming fiscal year and the deficits are expected to persist, with the Department of Budget estimating a $9.5 billion gap next year and $7.7 billion deficit in Fiscal Year 2027. Governor Hochul has been clear that she does not intend to raise taxes on high-income earners to make up that shortfall, much to the dismay of the Working Families Party. The left-wing group has proposed a $40 billion tax increase on the wealthy and are requiring candidates seeking their endorsement to support the plan. 

The migrant crisis has exacerbated financial problems in New York, with the state estimated to spend $2 billion on support for migrants by April 2024, which does not even account for the billions more New York City has spent. Speaking on the resulting financial strain, Budget Director Blake Washington offered, “With the continued influx of migrants, no promises of financial support from the Federal government, and no clear pathway to a wholesale policy change at the Federal level to address the situation, New York State can only shoulder this financial commitment for a limited duration without putting other areas of the State Budget at risk, such as aid to public schools, support for our health delivery infrastructure, and the readiness of our National Guard.” In a move to boost revenue and reduce traffic, New York is moving forward with congestion pricing in New York City, charging vehicles a toll to enter the Central Business District (CBD) which stretches from 60th Street in Manhattan to the southern tip of the Financial District. The Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) recently approved a plan that will charge cars $15 and trucks between $24-$36 depending on size. Governor has said “Congestion pricing means cleaner air, better transit and less gridlock on New York City's streets” while others have argued the additional toll will only increase the cost of living crisis that many New Yorkers are facing.  

“With the continued influx of migrants, no promises of financial support from the Federal government, and no clear pathway to a wholesale policy change at the Federal level to address the situation, New York State can only shoulder this financial commitment for a limited duration without putting other areas of the State budget at risk, such as aid to public schools, support for our health delivery infrastructure, and the readiness of our National Guard.”

NY Budget Director Blake Washington

Crime remains a top concern for many voters and Governor Hochul will likely continue to seek funding in the budget for increased support for law enforcement and initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence and other violent crime.

While still unhappy with Hochul’s changes to bail laws in the previous budget, advocates for criminal justice reform won a major victory earlier this year with the signing of the Clean Slate Act, a bill that will automatically seal criminal records 3 years after sentencing for a misdemeanor and 8 years after a person is released from prison for a felony offense. 

New York, a major recipient of federal infrastructure money, will now be tasked with bringing a number of large-scale projects and initiatives to fruition, including the Gateway Tunnel Project in New York City, the Kensington Expressway Project in Buffalo, a major expansion of broadband access to rural New Yorkers, and upgrading the State’s aging water infrastructure. While those initiatives received federal funding, inflation and cost overruns could put further strains on New York’s finances. 

Housing is set to be perhaps the most pressing issue after the Governor and Legislature failed to agree on any meaningful package last session. Governor Hochul had proposed a plan to build 800,000 housing units over the next 10 years, allowing the state to override local zoning laws if municipalities do not meet certain targets for increasing housing stock. Hochul also proposed a replacement for 421a, a tax break to develop affordable housing, but the Legislature rejected it. It remains to be seen if Hochul renews the push for these policies or takes a different approach to deal with housing. What is clear is that the Legislature and housing advocates have their own priorities. Those include the Housing Access Voucher Program, which would fund vouchers for people experiencing homelessness, and Good Cause Eviction, a measure limiting the reasons a landlord can evict a tenant and placing caps on rent increases. 

Lori Van Buren/Times Union

Despite the economic outlook for New York, funding was found to install a laser-based, anti-pigeon air defense system at the Capitol in Albany.

Like much in Albany, it does not work.

As we begin 2024, the entire OD&A team—and especially me—are grateful to you: our friends, our readers, and especially our clients.  Our clients are changing the world in big and small ways, making peoples’ lives better—even saving lives!—changing communities through the arts, providing good jobs, and protecting workers, offering fabulous products, making memories for families, supporting law enforcement, or building the trains and buses that take us there. 

Thank you. 

It is our honor and privilege to support you and that important work.  We hope to continue it in 2024 and beyond. 

 As always, if there is anything our team can do for you please do not hesitate to ask.

All the Best,


Elijah Reichlin-Melnick joins our Alec Lewis ‘From the Lobby” to talk about his campaign to return to the State Senate representing Rockland County.

Quality education, affordable housing and lower taxes are just some of his priorities.

Listen on your favorite platform!

Megaphone icon

Client in the News

UB Research Sheds Light on Medical, Dental Treatments

OD&A client, University at Buffalo is on a quest to be one of the nation’s top public research universities. Here’s a look at three recently published UB studies that could impact treatments for a rare but life-shortening childhood disease, diabetes patients and ADHD. [Read more.]

Which issue should be top priority for State lawmakers in the new Legislative Session?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Results of the Last Poll

Do you agree with the NY Court of Appeals ruling to redraw the State's Congressional lines?

This Day in History

Inside the HP Garage

January 1, 1939: Hewlett-Packard is founded by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in a garage in Palo Alto, California "the birthplace of Silicon Valley."


Worth a Read

Good News Stories You Didn't Hear About in 2023

The news is supposed to tell us what's happening in the world. It doesn't. It tells us what's going wrong. Here are some of the year’s stories where things went right.