The Legislature is technically not in session today, but Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver asked their respective conferences to stick around in case they manage to get a handshake deal on the budget.

If they succeed, the 2011-2012 budget might actually be EARLY instead of just on-time – a big win for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who’s in Albany with no public schedule.

Cuomo conspicuously did not join the legislative leaders in their rosy predictions, and a source speculated they might still be looking for him to force their hand through the budget extender-vs-shutdown option.

The looming agreement would mark just the third time since 1984 that the Legislature approved a budget by the April 1 deadline – 2005 and 2006 were the others.

Lawmakers expect to restore somewhere between $200 million and $300 million of the $1.5 billion the governor cut from education funding, as the millionaire’s tax is, according to Skelos, “dead.”

Cuomo said the 2010 Census figures, which show continued loss of population upstate, prove the need to pass his budget.

Post-budget policy fights will likely include UB2020, LIFO, a property tax cap and the rent laws, which are set to expire on June 15.

The WNY delegation is meeting with Director of State Operations Howard Glaser on UB2020 today.

Union members marched in Lower Manhattan to protest budget cuts at both the city and state levels.

While acknowledging Mayor Bloomberg’s record on pensions has not been “stellar,” the Times sides with him on his push to wrest control of negotiating pension benefits from the state.

Med-mal caps similar to what Albany is now considering have proved problematic in other states.

The Nassau Interim Finance Authority froze wages for the county’s 8,100 employees two days after County Executive Ed Mangano sent it a revised budget.

The state Financial Control Board warned NYC residents the cuts they’re seeing now are probably just the beginning.

The Post supports Skelos’ effort to put the brakes on extending the “corrosive” rent laws.

Housing Advocates protesting Bloomberg’s budget cuts took some liberties with a Rolling Stones anthem.

The Bloomberg administration will be cutting back on pricey outside consultants.

Crains described this as “something of an about-face” for the mayor.

The state Court of Appeals ruled that the NYC Rent Guidelines Board has the power to impose extra increases on long-term tenants of rent-stabilized apartments that go for less than $1,000 a month.

The Census numbers show blacks leaving NYC while Hispanics and Asians move in.

NYC officials, including Bloomberg, challenged the lower than expected growth shown in the five boroughs, suggesting a vast undercount among immigrant communities.

Big population losses in the districts represented by Reps. Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter could make them top redistricting targets when lawmakers try to determine how to downsize from 29 seats to 27.

Higgins and Slaughter aren’t the only House members who should worry.

The release of the Census data means the redistricting battle is officially joined.

The addition of 64 new residents over the last decade is big news in Broome County, which didn’t experience the same population drain other upstate counties did.

Buffalo lost more people than anywhere else in the state.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy bailed on his re-elecion bid amid a probe of his fundraising practices.

“The decision to allow Mr. Levy to complete his term was carefully considered and involved weighing his conduct, the need for stability in government in these difficult economic times while affording a smooth transition after the 2011 elections,” Suffolk County DA Thomas Spota said.

Levy’s $4.1 million in campaign cash will be turned over to the DA, who will in turn refund it to donors who request their money back or donate it to charity.

Many LI pols were stunned by Levy’s announcement.

Speculation over a potential Levy comeback has already begun – and he’s not even gone yet.

Bloomberg tapped a City Hall insider to serve as the next Housing commissioner.

Federal prosecutors are seeking a re-trial of former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

CSEA President Danny Donohue urged New Yorkers not to forget the workplace safety lessons learned from the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, which occurred exactly 100 years ago.

Not all workers have equal rights; farmworkers are still struggling for theirs, AG Eric Schneiderman notes in a DN OpEd.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer added their voices to the gay marriage push.

Former Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava said the Cuomo administration wants to work with municipalities in the Adirondack Park to help them achieve efficiencies.

Albany PD internal investigators are trying to recover the video from department spokesman Jimmy Miller’s DWI arrest.

Schenectady Mayor Brian U. Stratton ended his career as an elected official Thursday to start a new job with the Cuomo administration.

Democrats selected a candidate to run for the seat Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito will vacate to work for Cuomo.

Former Rep. Scott Murphy was the fifth biggest spender in the House in 2010.

Jack Davis called on Assemblywoman Jane Corwin not to challenge David Bellavia’s petitions and pledged to do the same. Her campaign did not respond.

Donald Trump is trying to rearrange his schedule to he can attend the Washington Correspondents Association dinner.

Sen. Rand Paul said the odds are better than 50-50 than either he or his father, Rep. Ron Paul will run for president in 2012.