Lawmakers working to pass budget on time
It appears New York will have not only an on time budget, but an early one. Lawmakers continue to work on reaching a budget deal at the Capitol. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has more.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Albany is on track to produce not just an on time state budget, but an early one. And neither lawmakers or Governor Andrew Cuomo expect the often criticized message of necessity will be needed to speed the process along.
Cuomo said, “Because of the holidays, it’s even pushed the timeframe up a little bit more. But we are proceeding in an orderly way and I don’t anticipate at this time any reason why we are going to have a mad scramble at the end.”
Lawmakers are due to wrap up the budget by March 21st, a full 10 days ahead of the April 1st deadline. The schedule is different this year out of observance of the Easter and Passover holidays that fall early this year. State officials believe major deals can be accomplished in the coming days. Whether that means the contentious issues, such as a minimum wage increase, stay in the spending plan remains to be seen.
“I think our goal is to be done on time, to make sure that we're done without messages and then those items which might complicate this we can take up absent or outside of the spending plan, we'll probably make that decision in the next few days,” said Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle.
An early budget is far cry from years of late budgets that sometimes stretched into the summer, but in the last two years, Cuomo and lawmakers approved spending plans in advance of the start of the new fiscal year.
“You have to remember the last time we had three consecutive on time budgets was over 30 years ago, so I think really in this state the issue of the timeliness of the budget is more than when we pass a fiscal plan,” Senator David Valesky said.
Even with lawmakers confident that there's going to be an early budget, Cuomo behind the scenes is still trying to work well with them. In separate events this week, Cuomo hosted Assembly Democrats and members of the Republican and independent Democratic conferences at the executive mansion.
“It was very informal. It was just dinner and a lot of joking around. It was more of a collegial thing, there were no issues talked about,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco.
The Assembly and Senate are expected to release their separate, one house budget proposals on Monday. Barring any messages of necessity to waive the three day aging process, a tentative agreement could be in place by late next week, two weeks before the April 1st deadline.