Updated 03/04/2013 08:32 PM
Legislators discuss state budget
State lawmakers met Monday to review progress on the state budget. With the possibility of casinos and an increase in minimum wage being discussed, will the budget be passed on time? Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has the story.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Legislative leaders emerged together Monday afternoon after an hour-long meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo to discuss the state budget. Senators Jeff Klein and Dean Skelos, along with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, all agreed that an on-time, even early budget was likely.
Silver said, “This is a complicated budget. It's going to take a lot of meetings both on our level and on staff level to have an on-time budget.”
But the lawmakers also told reporters that provisions that would give the governor's gaming commission the power to determine where up to three casinos north of New York City are built is now off the table. Cuomo after the meeting disputed that claim.
“There's nothing in, there's nothing out until you have a budget. There's nothing in the budget, there's nothing out of the budget until you have a budget,” Governor Cuomo said.
Meanwhile another controversial measure, increasing the state's minimum wage, remains under discussion and in the budget. In move designed to make a statement on hiking the wage to nine dollars, the state Assembly plans to vote on a standalone increase on Tuesday.
“If we can do it by way of piece of legislation, that's fine. If we can by way of the budget, that's fine. Just as long as we get it done,” Assemblyman Keith Wright said.
On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Republicans unveiled a new package of tax cuts aimed at families, including a full restoration of the STAR rebate program. Combined with an effort to cut a surcharge on utility taxes, that's more than two billion dollars in tax cuts the GOP is calling for.
Skelos said, “What we're stating here this is what we feel is important for families in New York State. This will be part of our negotiations with the governor and the Assembly.”
The expectation is that in order to allow a wage hike to move forward, Senate Republicans would need some form of a tax cut. Cuomo says there's room to find a compromise.
Cuomo said, “There is always wiggle room. If you are good at wiggling there is wiggle room and I have learned wiggle over the past two years. There is room in the budget for a comprehensive strategy, I believe that.”
The budget is due by April 1st, but lawmakers expect to pass the spending plan by March 21st in order to accommodate the Easter and Passover holidays.