Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders are touting the virtues of the newly enacted state budget, but the spending plan has its share of critics.
Governor Cuomo says one of the most important accomplishments achieved by him and the legislative leaders, is that the budget was passed on time, for the fourth year in a row. And he used a baseball metaphor, complete with baseballs and bats for props, to describe the feat.
“This is the grand slam budget,” said Cuomo. “I’m pleased and proud.”
Lawmakers hurried to complete work on the state budget before the midnight deadline, but the spending plan is not without some controversy.
Legislators held a marathon voting session on several budget bills, in an attempt to beat the April 1 deadline. Some of the legislation was not technically printed until the small hours of Saturday morning, and Governor Cuomo sent an emergency message to waive the three day waiting period required by law.
When the budget deal is finally reached in Albany, average New Yorkers will have had little access to the details of the important items that Governor Cuomo and lawmakers are discussing. That’s because, the long Albany tradition known as three-men-in-a-room continues.
The only difference from the decades long custom of three men in a room budget negotiations is that now there are four men in a room. The Senate is led by a coalition of Republicans and breakaway Democrats and so has two co leaders.
Legislative leaders say they expect to have a deal on the state budget by the end of the day, but are revealing no details.
Emerging from a leaders meeting, the Senate and Assembly leaders say they are “moving toward a framework” for a budget deal, and expect to meet with some of their rank and file members, then gather for a final closed door session before making an announcement. Speaker Silver is optimistic,
State lawmakers say it’s likely the state budget will include a moratorium on the effects of school exams administered in connection with the controversial Common Core learning standards.
The State Assembly has already passed a bill to delay the effects of the new Common Core tests on students and teachers, after widespread complaints that schools and the state education department were not adequately prepared to make the needed curriculum changes.
Legislative leaders say they are working together and are close to a budget agreement, after a blow up that left the Senate and Assembly leaders negotiating separately with Governor Cuomo.
The legislative leaders, following a two hour closed door meeting with Governor Cuomo, seemed in high spirits. Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos gave his often times rival Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver a hug.
“Look how much I love Shelly,” Senator Skelos said, with a laugh.