From the Morning Memo:

New York has its $168.3 billion budget for the new fiscal year, which began Sunday. The budget funds everything from education, to the tune of more than $26 billion, to boosting efforts to fight heroin and opioid addiction while also setting in motion an effort to bolster mass transit in New York City.

Here are some takeaways from the budget and what it could mean for the rest of the year:

1. Sen. Simcha Felder is the kingmaker.

The Brooklyn Democrat who conferences with Republicans in the state Senate insists he doesn’t have a lot of power in the Legislature, humbling joking to disbelieving reporters, “just ask my wife.” But his push to change curriculum oversight regulations for yeshivas and other religious schools — while seemingly esoteric — largely held up the finalization of a deal on Friday, the drop-dead day to get the budget done before a holiday week.

Ultimately, a compromise was struck, with Sen. Andrew Lanza, a Staten Island Republican who is known to have a cordial relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, acting as a key legislative negotiator on the issue. The episode, an apparent 11th hour request from Felder, underscored his importance for Senate Republicans, who need to keep him satisfied enough to not bolt the GOP conference. Democrats could pickup two open seats in an April 24 special election, giving the party a numerical majority again in the chamber. Under the terms of a unity deal, the Independent Democratic Conference would then align with mainline Democrats. The question becomes: Where does Felder go? Even then, would Democrats want Felder to be them what he is to Senate Republicans?

These questions make for a potentially messy and unpredictable April for the state Senate, where nothing can be simple.

2. Albany dominates New York City.

The city of New York is shouldering virtually the entirety of the state’s economic growth. It’s population is surging and its wealthy is helping to replenish the state’s coffers. But when it comes to Albany, New York City is virtually in the backseat of the car. The budget agreement found ways to remind New York City, even as it desires to be a city-state unto itself, that power in New York state flows from the top down.

The city is on the hook to pay half of the $800 million earmarked for upgrading the subway system — a stick in the eye to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the governor’s chief antagonist. Congestion pricing in the form of tolls at key entrances to Manhattan did not survive. Instead, lawmakers and Cuomo agreed to a surcharge on ride hail cars of $2.75 and yellow cabs at $2.50 in Manhattan. The New York City Housing Authority is being shored up by an infusion of state help, for which Cuomo is taking credit. The state is moving aggressively to develop part of Penn Station over security concerns. And a push for more oversight of per-school spending is seen as an effort to highlight school funding issues in New York City, silencing critics of the governor that he is not doing enough to help high-needs schools and students.

Cuomo and de Blasio remain adversaries, a deepening rivalry that is turning toward electoral politics. Cuomo views the challenge from actress and education advocate Cynthia Nixon as a de Blasio-backed push against him that is, at the very least, meant to embarrass him on a national stage. The mayor, meanwhile, continues to chaff (as his predecessors) that Albany controls so much of his agenda. This frustrations fueled by a Republican-controlled Senate he’s largely holds little to no sway in that remains hostile his proposals. Add the feud to the mix and de Blasio’s options remain few.

3. Gun control can pass in the Senate.

The Legislature approved its first gun control measure since 2013, a bill that is meant to close loopholes and take guns away from those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. For Democrats and gun control advocates, the bill is low-hanging fruit. The measure was broken out of the budget and considered as a standalone bill. This allowed Republicans to cast votes against a bill on Second Amendment groups without also voting against, say, education aid, while addressing larger concerns about linking policy to spending.

The measure’s approval, which came with the aid of Democratic votes in the Senate, was a victory for Sen. Elaine Phillips, a Republican who represents suburban Nassau County and a swing district that Democrats have long hoped to flip. It’s also the first gun control measure to be approved in Albany since the SAFE Act in 2013, a package of gun control provisions pushed through the Legislature in the wake of an elementary school shooting in December the prior month. The resulting controversy surrounding the SAFE Act’s passage led to the election of more conservative Republican lawmakers in the senator who have vowed to undo the law. That has largely not happened, but made new gun regulations less likely to happen.

Lawmakers this year pursued a range of new gun control measures, such as a bill that would expand background checks in New York to 10 days, following a shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people on Feb. 14, part of a nationwide outcry on the issue. Republicans countered with calls to strengthen school safety through funding for armed resource officers, a move opposed by Democrats in the Assembly.

4. Policy melts away.

Lawmakers have not been pleased with policy intertwined in the budget with spending. It forces them to take tough votes on issues that they wouldn’t necessarily support while hamstringing their negotiations. For Cuomo, the budget has become the easiest way to grease the skids for policy proposals that he would otherwise have less leverage in negotiating during the remainder of the non-budget session, which runs through June.

In this budget, Cuomo and lawmakers agreed to changes to the state’s sexual harassment policies, measures that had been criticized by survivors of harassment for not going for enough.

Elsewhere, policy largely fell out of the talks: The Child Victims Act, a bill that would make it easier for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits, went nowhere again. A provision that would establish early voting in New York also died in the talks. Ethics and good-government reforms also died away in the negotiations.

5. The process wasn’t pretty.

In the end, the budget was largely once again negotiated in secret, often at the governor’s mansion a mile away from the Capitol building by a handful of people elected and appointed who control billions of dollars. The budget agreement itself was voted on as the ink dried, with bleary-eyed lawmakers voting on the final bill at 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning of a holiday weekend.

Lawmakers and Cuomo once again agreed to the re-creation of a legislative pay commission to consider whether the Legislature should receive a boost in pay from its base $79,500. Cuomo insisted Friday evening he would not further link legislative pay increases to future proposals.