Saturday, April 19, 2014

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State Lawmakers Say Budget Still On Pace To Pass Early

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State leaders say they are still on track to pass an early budget, but right now, there is no deal. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

ALBANY, NY - On three separate occasions Thursday, legislative leaders met behind closed doors with Governor Andrew Cuomo, only to emerge without offering any details of what was discussed.

"I don't think you'll see an announcement until we are prepared to actually have a drafted budget," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Lawmakers said they are still on track to pass an early budget next week, several days ahead of the April 1 deadline. But the governor is now saying that it's less important.

"Early, frankly, would be nice, but also not especially significant," Cuomo said. "I would like to get the budget done on time. Three budgets in a row, I think, makes a statement."

One of the outstanding issues in the budget has been the fate of $120 million in cuts to the office for people with developmental disabilities.

Advocates said the cuts will mostly affect staff. They argued that the loss of federal matching funds will actually amount to $240 million in cuts.

"I was kind of hopeful yesterday because I think there are a lot of people who really do want to help us," said Winifred Schiff of Developmental Disabilities Agencies. "But the news this morning was pretty dismal, and I'm actually feeling very upset today."

Governor Cuomo initiated the cuts in his budget. The state Senate and Assembly restored the money in their one-house budget resolutions this week, but the final revenue figure does not appear to include a restoration.

"Right now, we're working for as much funding as possible to restore those cuts," said State Senator David Carlucci. "That's an ongoing negotiation that we are going to continue to have through the weekend. My goal is to restore as much of that funding as possible."

Cuomo said he isn't budging.

"The way we want to manage this reduction, which the division of budget will do, is we want the reduction to be born by the administrative overhead and the executive salaries," he said.

Lawmakers are expected to start passing the budget next week, which puts lawmakers and Governor Cuomo on track for a third consecutive on time budget, the first time that's happened New York State in roughly 30 years. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP