---- — ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York legislative leaders met Sunday in preparation of what they hope will be a Monday announcement of the third straight on-time budget.
However, all sides in the Albany budget negotiations claim they are a good distance apart in their closed-door talks.
Some difficult sticking points include whether to raise the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to as much as $9, whether to adopt business tax cuts, and the politically dicey proposal to extend a "temporary" income tax increase for the second time.
The 3 1/2-hour closed-door meeting included discussion of adding a "training wage" to the minimum wage proposal, legislative leaders said. That could allow employers to pay teenagers less than the new minimum wage. No details of the wages being considered were released.
Sen. Jeffrey Klein, who leads the Independent Democratic Conference which shares leadership of the Senate, said Sunday that no deals were final and there was no agreement on how much the minimum wage would rise. The Senate Republicans, who share control of the chamber, have opposed a minimum wage hike, but have been open to discussing it in recent weeks. Democrats, including Cuomo, strongly support the measure.
Negotiations to extend the temporary income tax aimed at millionaires continued, even though the $1.9 billion tax doesn't expire until 2014. That's an election year for Cuomo and the Legislature.
Cuomo said he's simply trying to budget some revenues over a two-year period, to make budgeting more predictable and more efficient. Cuomo had previously called for extending a business tax about to expire, but the millionaire tax proposal was revealed last week by The Associated Press.
Cuomo and legislative leaders hope to pass the third straight on-time budget, a feat not accomplished since the early 1980s.
The budget would increase state spending just under 2 percent, to about $135 billion, although the total jumps to over $140 billion when one-time federal aid for recovery from Superstorm Sandy is included.
The leaders are shooting for a March 21 budget adoption, which would be the earliest since at least the 1970s.
The 2013-14 state budget is due by April 1.