City & State magazine published on Tuesday an op/ed from a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo that, in essence, issued a subtle warning to lawmakers who may want to hold up the budget process this month: Do so and risk a scuttling of a pay increase at the end of next year.

“In fact, it is in the Legislature’s best interest to continue this streak of on-time budgets and continue to perform as they have done since 2011,” wrote former Cuomo secretary Larry Schwartz. “I believe a late budget would make any future pay raise proposal – long overdue for legislators – impossible for Gov. Cuomo to support. The Legislature needs the governor to support and sign a pay raise by the end of 2018, otherwise lawmakers would have to wait until at least 2020 before a raise could legally go into effect.”

Schwartz’s warning comes after lawmakers and Cuomo in December failed to reach an agreement to hold a special session that could have paid the way for the first legislative pay increase since 1998.

The next time lawmakers could be eligible for a pay increase is the elected session that takes office in 2019. Cuomo and his allies have reiterated several times, including last year, that a pay raise is only possible if the Legislature remains in line — no corruption scandals, ensure the functioning of government, etc.

Cuomo has made it a point of pride to have budgets approved before the start of the new fiscal year, April 1 in New York. The budgets have largely been adopted around that date after years of spending plans passing well into the fiscal new year.

The governor already wields broad influence over the budget process itself and a late budget could empower him to include broad swaths of his preferred spending plan in emergency extender legislation. That is a process that was championed by former Gov. David Paterson, whose top aide at the time was Schwartz.