Albany Round-up

April 1, 2014

NY Legislature passes $140 billion budget

ALBANY — The New York Legislature on Monday passed a $140 billion election-year budget that will expand pre-kindergarten statewide and provide tax relief to homeowners and corporations.

Following debate that began Monday morning, the Senate passed the budget around 10:30 p.m. and the Assembly followed suit 45 minutes later, tempering fears that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders might not achieve a fourth consecutive on-time budget before the new fiscal year started Tuesday.

The Democratic governor said the budget builds "on the state's progress over the past three years in order to grow the economy and create new opportunities for New Yorkers and their families."

Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said Republicans and Democrats "put party labels aside" and worked together to "deliver real results that will truly make a positive difference in the lives of the people we represent."

Agreement on the spending plan was reached by Cuomo and legislative leaders early in the weekend, but the governor had to waive the required three-day review period on the education and health bills that weren't printed until early Saturday.

Education was a sticking point for the Legislature, which spent hours debating funding for statewide full-day pre-kindergarten, charter schools and the flawed rollout of the Common Core, a new testing standard.

The deal also includes a $2 billion school technology bond act to go before voters in November.

Although a measure proposed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for a tax hike on the city's wealthiest individuals to fund full-day pre-kindergarten was rejected by lawmakers, the budget deal adds $340 million for pre-kindergarten, mainly for New York City.

"What I said was we needed reliable funding for five years at the dollar figure we set," de Blasio said at a news conference Monday. "What did we get? Reliable funding for five years at the dollar figure we set."

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