Lawmakers Avoid Government Shutdown Amid Budget Talks, Point Fingers at Cuomo
State lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo averted a government shutdown in New York Monday, backing measures that would temporarily fund state government until the end of May.
"Passing this extender isn't a punt of our duties," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. "It's just trying to make sure government isn't shutdown and people who work hard in the state of New York for hospitals and school districts can continue to do the godly work that they do. "
Passing of the legislation was needed after lawmakers and Cuomo reached an impasse in the budget talks, with controversial issues such as a real-estate abatement for New York City and raising the age of criminal responsibility still left to do. Lawmakers said they had no choice.
"If we didn't do this extender, there would have been total chaos. People wouldn't have gotten paid in our hard-working state workforce," said state Sen. Jeff Klein, who leads the Independent Democratic Conference.
Some lawmakers fault Cuomo, who has prided himself with securing agreements for budgets in advance of the start of the fiscal year.
"If he spent that additional time going forward and trying to twist arms and getting those lost few items taken care of, we could have gotten it done," said state Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Republican.
DeFrancisco disagreed with Cuomo's assessment early last week that the federal government is to blame for New York's uncertainty.
"Everybody is going to have to make their own judgments as to whether the governor is accurate in his characterizations, which seem to change daily," said the Senate's deputy majority leader.
And then there's the general frustration that after weeks of talks, deals on thorny issues such as juvenile justice reform couldn't be reached.
"The frustration is not everybody acts like an adult in the room -- and they should," said state Sen. Pat Gallivan, R-Elma.
Not included in the budget are provisions such as ride hailing for upstate cities and billions of dollars in spending for water projects. Lawmakers will stay in Albany this week after working through the weekend and insist a broader deal on the budget can still be reached.