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Albany Lawmakers Pass Fourth Consecutive On-Time Budget

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They went down to the wire, but state lawmakers have passed New York's fourth on-time budget in a row, as both houses met the midnight deadline, with the Assembly doing so with less than an hour to spare. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

The central component of the $138 billion spending plan for New York State is a tax-cutting plan championed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The budget includes $1.5 billion in tax cuts primarily focused on property taxes of suburban and upstate homeowners.

"It's important because, so whether you're a Republican or Democrat, I think you're sensitive to the fact that property taxes are choking people throughout the state of New York," said state Senate Republican Conference Leader Dean Skelos.

Cuomo, who is up for re-election this year, also included a renters credit for New York City residents.

"We're doing the first-of-its-kind renter tax credit to give renter relief to so many hard hit New Yorkers," said state Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein. "Altogether, the package is over $170 million over a two-year period."

The budget also focuses heavily on education issues, including significant protections for New York City charter schools. Many of those protections were opposed by Assembly Democrats aligned with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"I think there are a lot of good features of this budget, and this budget is all about compromise," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "There are things I'd rather not see in this budget, but on balance, I think it's a great budget."

Since the beginning of the legislative session in January, universal pre-kindergarten for New York City quickly became the dominant issue under debate.

Ultimately, the city got $300 million, roughly the amount sought by the mayor, but without the tax increase he wanted to pay for it. The rest of the state got $40 million for universal pre-K programs.

"I think that will be enough, but every year is a different budget," Skelos said. "So if we find that it's not a sufficient amount of money next year, and that people are applying for it, we'll up it."

Negotiations on Friday went up until the last minute in order to get the budget bills printed on time for Monday's vote. The vote was quite similar, as lawmakers passed the budget bills just before midnight and just barely meeting that April 1 deadline.

New York State has now had four consecutive on-time budgets.

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