The popular held belief is that the minimum wage is holding up the state budget. That’s true…sort of. While there are all kinds of side squabbles about timetables and carve outs, the bottom line is this: There are enough votes to pass just about every conceivable compromise in the State Senate, if you include all Democrats and a handful of Republicans. Some reluctant Repubs might even vote for the ultimate deal just to keep it out of oppo campaign literature when election time rolls around 7 months from now. Figure they can vote for it even if they have to take a Silkwood Shower afterwards.

What appears to be really holding up the budget, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie more or less said this yesterday, are the cost shifts from the state to the city on Medicaid. In his executive budget Cuomo proposed making the city pay “more of it’s fair share” for CUNY and Medicaid. The governor has since backed off of the CUNY cuts with an agreement from the city to examine where back office redundancies can be identified between the SUNY and CUNY Systems. So, In essence the city agreed to identify cuts down the road ( although no word on whether those cost shifts will precisely match the $485 million Cuomo proposed ). Medicaid, however, is proving to be a little bit trickier.

In 2012, Cuomo agreed to “take over” the growth of Medicaid costs for localities. He did this in part with money from Obamacare, which greatly expanded the federal Medicaid program. Those dollars then go to the states. So, one could make the argument that it is federal pass through money, and New York City should not be shortchanged. However, People who see things the Governor’s way say the state agreed to take over the cost of Medicaid for localities that agree to keep spending within the 2% cap. Aha. New York refuses to adopt the property tax cap, so why should the state shoulder the cost of all it’s medicaid growth? See what they did there. Rewind now to January when Mayor de Blasio was here in Albany to testify on the budget and lawmakers ( almost as if they were reading from talking points ) grilled him on why New York City won’t adhere to the cap.

There are a lot of arguments as to why New York City should not adopt the cap, including that it is once again taking away a tool for the city to raise it’s own revenue. The City must ask Albany for permission before raising taxes on it’s citizens, whether it be sales or income. The property tax cap can be manipulated by the city. So, while the city would argue for keeping that authority, the state is saying you can’t have it both ways. The subtext to all of this, of course, is the ongoing push and pull between Governor Cuomo and mayor de Blasio. But I’m sure that has nothing to do with it.