State Budget Bills Introduced, Voting Starts in Albany
State lawmakers have begun voting on a final state budget, after passing an extender budget earlier this week. The Senate has already voted on several bills; while the Assembly will be begin voting Wednesday. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has the latest from Albany.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Lawmakers are taking the first steps to pass a final state budget on Tuesday night, breaking an impasse over a measure that would raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York.
“If it isn’t agreed to, we’d have no point of even starting,” said Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Syracuse Republican who confirmed an agreement had been struck on the issue. “There’s a clear understanding on the part of the Democrats that they want to make certain it’s part of the budget.”
The Republican-led Senate signaled on Tuesday afternoon voting would be held tonight on policy measures contained in the budget such as education, public protection, transportation and economic development and health and mental hygiene.
“We’re going to try to see how far we can get,” DeFrancisco, noting there are some open issues left, including an elusive deal to revive the 421a real-estate tax abatement for New York City. “The concept is to start tonight and see how far we can go.”
While a revenue bill is yet to be released, a source said this evening lawmakers have agreed to a two-year extension of the millionaires tax rate, which is due to expire at the end of the year.
Cuomo’s office plans to introduce messages of necessity that will waive the three-day aging process for bills so they can be voted on as early as tonight. The Democratic-led Assembly left the Capitol for the evening, though it is unclear if they will return for the evening to take up any budget legislation.
Earlier in the day, lawmakers in the chamber had urged Cuomo to introduced agreed-upon budget legislation, saying school districts were being impacted by the lack of progress in Albany.
The budget had been expected to pass by Friday, the final day of the state’s fiscal year. But a deal had failed to materialize last week after lawmakers and Cuomo could not come to an accord on the raise the age legislation. Lawmakers passed a bill temporarily funding the state government through May 31, along with a package of capital spending projects.
Lawmakers will not be paid until the budget is fully approved, 10 bills in all.
A deal on the juvenile justice reform legislation was key to a full agreement as Democrats had pushed for the measure to be included or would not support a full budget agreement.
Disagreement stemmed in part over which crimes were considered violent enough felonies to try in criminal court and which should remain in the family court system.
“I hope not everyone is satisfied with it,” DeFrancisco said, “or nothing would get done.”
The Senate is took up the budget a vote Tuesday evening, the Assembly plans a Wednesday vote on the budget.