| ALBANY, NEW YORK, March 24
ALBANY, NEW YORK, March 24 New York state's
senate made a start on ratifying the state's budget in a session
on Sunday afternoon even as the assembly said it would remain
shuttered until Thursday in what may turn into to a race to beat
the end-of-month deadline.
The budget looked like it would be the earliest since 1976
in a state known for regularly missing deadlines. New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo inked a deal with legislative leaders late
on Wednesday after days of closed-door meetings.
Cuomo had wanted the budget to be clinched this weekend
ahead of the Passover and Easter holidays this week but last
minute wrangling and rules that stipulate bills need to age for
three days once they are printed are slowing down the process.
The budget needs to be passed by both houses before the
start of the state's fiscal year on April 1.
Speaking to reporters outside the Republican conference room
in the state Capitol in Albany, senate Republican Conference
Leader Dean Skelos said he and Senator Jeff Klein decided to
spend Sunday evening and the rest of the week passing budget
bills even if Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver does not call his
members back into session until Thursday morning.
Skelos, a Republican, and Klein, a Democrat, lead a
power-sharing arrangement in the senate.
"We believe this budget could have been finished a week ago,
but for some reason issues that were closed were reopened,"
Skelos said. "Now it's up to the Speaker to make a determination
as to whether he wants an on-time budget or he doesn't want an
Skelos said he expects all remaining budget bills to be
printed on Sunday night in order to be available for voting on
Wednesday. Cuomo could make an exception to the three-day rule
but senate minority spokesman Michael Murphy said "all
indications are that Cuomo won't" make that exception.
During the three-hour session that began at 3 p.m. with an
hour of closed-door meetings senators passed budget bills on
public protection and a bill that implements the transportation,
economic development and environmental conservation budget.
The senate is planning to reconvene at 11 a.m. on Monday.