From the Morning Memo:

As key policy matters in the state budget appeared to drop away on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins questioned how effective it was to link measures together in the proposal.

On Monday, it became clear that the DREAM Act, which provides tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants, and the education tax credit, meant to spur donations to public schools and non-profit scholarship programs, was falling off the negotiating table.

Both measures were yoked together under the theory that Republicans in the Senate had to pass the DREAM Act to get the tax credit they desired and vice versa in the Democratic-led Assembly.

“This package situation which the governor had had success with previously doesn’t work anymore,” Stewart-Cousins said in an interview. “We saw it with the Women’s Equality Act and now this coupling of two very, very different issues. I don’t believe they should have been coupled. I’m happy they are no longer coupled. Obviously they are important to each of the populations.”

Knitting various issues into a budget or policy debate is a time-tested method for Albany lawmakers and governors.

But at times, linkage can actually be poison pills for the passage.

And this year, it became apparent that state lawmakers had tired of Cuomo’s strategy.

Cuomo’s 30-day budget amendments doubled down on this strategy, linking funding to the tuition assistance program to the DREAM Act and the tax credit’s passage as well.

Advocates for both measures are now urging Cuomo to uncouple both items and have them pass separately.

Meanwhile, Stewart-Cousis in the interview pointed to Monday’s Siena College poll that showed 85 percent of voters surveyed believe she and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb should be included in the closed-door budget talks.

“I would bring a perspective that women often bring to these rooms,” the Yonkers Democrat said. “I would talk about raising the minimum wage. I would talk about in a way that is meaningful and lifting people out of poverty.”