Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders in New York say they are putting the finishing touches on a state budget of roughly $132.5 billion, with lawmakers set to beat their April 1 deadline for the second year in a row.
Last year's budget, approved in the early morning hours of March 31, marked the first time in five years that New York had an on-time spending plan. “Legislative leaders said voting on this year's budget bills would begin on Wednesday and conclude no later than Friday — two days ahead of the March 31 deadline,” The Times Union of Albany reports.
New York has not had consecutive on-time budgets since 2005 and 2006, and the feat has been accomplished only twice since the early 1980s, the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester notes.
“Just as years of late budgets symbolized Albany's dysfunction, on-time budgets show that state government is working again,” Dean Skelos, the Republican Senate majority leader, said, according to the Democrat and Chronicle.
Cuomo, a second-year Democrat, is expected to get much of what he asked for this year. The budget is slightly smaller than last year's, but increases funding for schools and public works projects, The New York Times reports. One of the most contentious parts of the plan its expansion of gambling, with lawmakers creating a commission to oversee gaming across the state.
While Democrats and Republicans worked across party lines on a number of bills, one sticking point was whether New York will follow other states and create a health insurance exchange, as required by the federal Affordable Care Act (which is being debated this week at the U.S. Supreme Court). Republicans refused to go along with the proposal, but Cuomo "is now planning to sidestep opposition from Senate Republicans by creating an exchange via executive order," The Times reports.
Unlike most states, which begin their fiscal year on July 1, New York begins its new budget year on April 1.