Legislative Leaders Say Budget Bills Could Come Tonight
The top legislative leaders in the Senate and Assembly emerged from an hours long closed-door leaders meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday to say budget bills could be printed as early as tonight.
The lawmakers were confident an agreement on the 2016-17 spending plan could be reached today, though insisted the final specifics were not yet completed nailed down.
“I think we’re progressing,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said. “We want to print today and there’s just some final details that we just have to nail down amongst ourselves and the governor.”
Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein emerged from the meeting to praise the potential deal, which is likely to include a version of the 12-week paid family leave program he has been pushing for the last several legislative sessions.
“We’re in a good place. We’re working together to make sure we have the most robust paid family leave program in the nation,” said Klein, a Bronx lawmaker. “We’re probably going to print tonight and if we do we’re probably going to have the best budget in memory.”
Still, agreements were not yet hammered out on a $15 minimum wage as backed by Cuomo and Democratic state lawmakers. A variety of modifications have been floated to ease the impact of the wage increase, including a variety of phase-in periods for suburban New York City and the upstate regions.
“The speaker was very clear,” Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan said. “We’re having ongoing discussions on that. There is no final resolution.”
Flanagan at the same time said there would be a record increase in education aid for the state budget. Though lawmakers would not say what the final education aid figure may look like, it is expected to fall somewhere between the $961 million increase proposed by Cuomo and the $2.13 billion hike backed by Assembly Democrats.
There have been some last-minute hang ups, however, with the budget, including an effort as proposed by the governor to shift Medicaid costs onto New York City.
Meanwhile, left unresolved over the last several days has been a debate over SUNY tuition.
And there is still issues revolving around ensuring there is aid for upstate and suburban communities to maintain crumbling roads and bridges with a funding structure on par with the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s capital fund.
Nevertheless, a number of contentious issues have been seemingly jettisoned early on in the process. In March, lawmakers and Cuomo agreed ethics reform measures would be left to the second half of the legislative session after the budget is approved.
The plan now is to have budget bills voted on by Thursday, the final day of the deadline and last day of the state’s current fiscal year.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on March 29, 2016 at 1:00 pm, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|