ALBANY, N.Y. –The Assembly had a late start Thursday, but they are now in session, and members have been warned that it's going to be a very long day.
The Assembly is now voting on budget bills which make up the $135 billion spending deal. It includes increasing the minimum wage incrementally, extending the millionaires tax, a middle class tax rebate program, more education aid, but cuts to programs that serve the developmentally disabled.
In an interesting twist this afternoon, assembly Republicans introduced an amendment to restore that $90 million to the developmentally disabled.
“You help those that have the smallest voices. They don't have the biggest lobbyists, the well connected, the well-financed. You, I and we are the advocates for the developmentally disabled,” said Jim Tedisco. “Whoever negotiated these cuts has never felt the
pain of watching a child struggle with disabilities.”
He adds, “$425
million for tax credits for the rich and famous from Beverly hills. $5 million
to bring Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show to the state of New York, when he
said he was already going to come.”
In the end that amendment wasn't passed, but assembly
members still have a lot to go through.
Others were critical of how money was allocated. Assemblyman Tony Jordan questioned the need for the middle class tax rebate program which gives those making between $40,000 and $300,000 with a child a $350 refund.
“I'm not sure that a family who earns $300,000 a year with one child needs a refund of $350 or how that's going to help that family,” said Jordan.
The senate took the bill up on Tuesday and worked through the night, wrapping up around 4:30 Wednesday morning. The Assembly isn't expected to go as long, but frustrations are still coming from a few local legislators regarding how the deal was reached.
“Despite assertions to the contrary or promises of openness and transparency we continue to have much of the budget negotiated now with four men in a room, which excludes a big portion of the state who are being represented by people who have not had a meaningful part in the process,” said Assemblyman Tony Jordan (R- Jackson).
“From our prospective the speaker kept us clearly updated on how negotiations were going. We were having conferences, one, two, three times a day, so we had known where things were going. Don't get me wrong, there were certain things we didn't agree with,” said Assemblyman John McDonald (D- Albany).
McDonald tells NEWS CENTER 10 ABC he supports the budget agreement overall, but admits it's not perfect.
“A deal has to be done. It's not the best deal in the world but it's not the worst deal in the world,” said McDonald.
Assembly members tell NEWS CENTER 10 ABC it's getting down to the wire with a budget due by midnight Sunday.
If it's passed before then, which is what they're on track to do, it would be the third on-time budget in a row.