The threat of a government shutdown loomed Sunday as NY lawmakers struggled to strike deals on a budget, an impasse that harkened back to Albany's tradition of dysfunction that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo had pledged to end.
The New York State Assembly and Senate passed bills Monday to keep government open and advance various projects.
The major point of contention has been a Democratic plan to raise the age of criminal responsibility in NY from 16 to 18, a move that would keep most teenagers from being tried as adults.
State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said lawmakers had little choice but to pass the emergency bill.
Cuomo said the stopgap budget would give legislators time to resolve their differences while postponing the decision until after the release of the federal budget, which is expected to contain spending cuts that could drastically impact state finances.
Like others, Lentol had held out hope for a deal Sunday night, but it was not to be.
For the first time since Andrew Cuomo became governor, NY lawmakers have been unable to deliver an on-time state budget. And it could inflame increasing tensions between Cuomo and rank-and-file lawmakers, who by law will have their pay withheld until a full budget is approved.
"To be responsible, you want to make sure your spending increases are commensurate with reasonable expectations of revenue", he said.
"In this environment our state budget takes on much greater significance", Cuomo said in a statement late Sunday. For the last six years, the legislature has reached budget agreements basically on time, a fact that Cuomo has made a point of pride.
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But the exact math behind breaking a filibuster or changing the Senate rules did not yet appear to add up as of Tuesday evening. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, said he hopes it doesn't get to that point and questioned "whether long term it makes any sense at all".
"Now, Gov. Cuomo and New York Democrats have reversed course in a retaliatory move against the taxpayers in attempting to force the Federal Government to further fund the state's bloated Medicaid spending".
"The passage of today's budget extender continues all state operations and fully funds our $16.4 billion new NY construction and economic development plan for the next complete fiscal year".
Reports attributed the massive dysfunction of this year's budget talks to factions including the rogue Democrats of the Senate's Independent Democratic Conference, who work with the Republicans, giving them control of the chamber.
NewsChannel 13 continues to follow the budget negotiations at the state Capitol.
Speaker Carl Heastie fired back at Republican senators who have chosen to "engage in a fear campaign that falsely accuses Assembly Democrats of coddling murderers and rapists in the context of the issue".
"We're working hard", he said. The deadline for a new state budget is just days away - April 1. I would respectfully offer that each of us should be talking about making NY more affordable.
The biggest uncertainty lies with school aid, because school districts are putting together budgets this month in anticipation of votes across the state in mid-May. Heastie said the sides were still trying to get an overall budget deal and were not actively discussing a temporary "extender" measure.
"Raise the Age and affordable housing are especially controversial politically, but necessary governmentally", he said in a statement.