NY Budget: Can Lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo Agree Before Deadline?
ALBANY, N.Y. -- The state budget is due next week, and legislative leaders insist progress is being made on coming to a deal on the proposed $154 billion spending plan.
"We're still optimistic that we'll come to a resolution, but we'll see over the next couple of days," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx.
Lawmakers are still at odds over a proposed $15 minimum wage as backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. They agree in concept to a 12-week paid family leave program, but differ over the details on how to pay for it.
"It's the week before, we've talked, but nothing - there hasn't been anything that's nailed down," Heastie offered.
At the same time, Senate Republicans are unhappy with the Assembly Democrats for proposing a budget that does not cap spending at two percent.
"The Assembly, however, has passed a budget resolution that actually breaks the bank," said Senate Finance Committee Chair Cathy Young, R-Olean. "It's more than double the self-imposed two percent spending cap, it's actually from my perspective very irresponsible."
Complicating matters is the calendar. Easter Sunday is this coming weekend and lawmakers are scheduled to leave town on Wednesday.
"It makes it a little bit trickier because of peoples' schedules and obviously we want to respect peoples' religious observances and enjoy Easter with their families," Young said.
On Monday, a new topic was thrown into the mix. After fantasy sports operators DraftKings and FanDuel announced they would no longer operate in New York following a legal dispute with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, some lawmakers now are talking of regulating the activity in the budget and gain some revenue in the process.
"The advocates for fantasy sports believed that this Legislature can monitor it, regulate it, tax it and have the consumer protections done by the budget," said state Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope.
The budget negotiations themselves have been cloaked in the usual amount of secrecy. This year, lawmakers and the governor are not even alerting the press about when they are meeting to privately discuss the spending plan, due March 31.