Lawmakers are heading back to their districts for two weeks with question marks surrounding several major priorities left on the legislative agenda.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Long Island, says they’re still working hard on the budget. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, says it’s important for lawmakers to touch base with their constituents.
But that’s about the only thing the leaders of both houses agree on. All week it’s been a finger pointing game.
Senate Republicans want the Assembly to pass a bill capping property taxes for suburban and upstate residents. Assembly Democrats want the Senate to act on their bill to extend and strengthen rent regulations. Both are looking to the Gov. Cuomo to be the mediator.
“I would expect (the governor) to join us in trying to get the senate to pass this bill,” Silver said on Monday.
Meanwhile Senate Democrats are also pressuring Republicans not to wait until the last hour to make a deal on rent regulations, even putting up a clock to remind them of the looming June 15 deadline.
“The word you’re looking for is tsunami,” said Sen. Bill Perkins, D-Harlem, “This will have that kind of effect on people if this clock runs out.”
But Senate Republicans seem unwilling to quicken the pace or strengthen the law as the Assembly has.
“I know that speaker Silver has passed his bill without negotiating,” Skelos said. “So I question his sincerity as to whether he wants to truly pass an extension of rent regulations.”
Speaker Silver says the Assembly bill is a bargaining tool. Others items on the agena, include a bill reforming the state ethics laws, which the Assembly and governor are close to agreeing on.
All these “what ifs” will now have to wait until May to be dealt with.