Updated 03/29/2010 09:13 PM
Senate passes emergency budget extenders
It's safe to say the budget will be late this year, but Government will continue to operate. The Senate passed emergency budget extenders on Monday. The assembly passed the bills Friday. As our Erin Billups reports, lawmakers will return to work ten days from now, after the holidays.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- The Senate passed the governor's emergency budget bills that will keep state government running past its April 1st budget deadline, which lawmakers won't be meeting.
"It’s reasonable to say we will not have an April first budget. I'm still very optimistic that we can be within a week or two of that deadline,” said Liz Krueger, (D) Senate, Manhattan.
Republicans are criticizing the democratic majorities' decision to break for the Passover and Easter holidays. Several of them are voting against the budget bills.
"There’s no reason for us going home today. We should be here until April first. We should be here until this budget is passed,” said Marty Golden, (D) Senate, Brooklyn.
Both the Senate Leader and Assembly Speaker say while lawmakers may have adjourned for the week, their staff members will still be plugging away. They plan to meet with Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch on Wednesday.
"It’s not a failure because an on time budget does not mean a good budget,” said John Sampson, Senate Democratic Conference Leader.
"Both houses will be subject to a call, if we can make sufficient progress we'll be back here as quickly as we can,” said Sheldon Silver, (D) Assembly Speaker.
A couple dozen Senate and Assembly democrats met throughout the weekend separately, trying to find additional cuts and pouring over revenue proposals.
The Governor, Assembly and Senate agree on about $3.5 billion in cuts, but another billion and a half to two billion in reductions are still needed.
Education still remains a major hurdle in talks. The Governor proposed cutting $1.4 billion from schools. The Senate agrees, while the assembly is calling for $600 million in restorations."
"We need education; we can't afford to lose a generation to education,” said Silver.
"We stopped the mid-year school cuts last year and also cuts to education in last year’s budget, but at the same time decisions have to be made,” said Sampson.
Also still up for discussion is Ravitch's plan to allow $2 billion in borrowing and an overhaul in the state's accounting practices which would prevent future deficits.