April 1 deadline quickly approaching for an on-time state budget

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s getting down to the wire at the state Capitol for lawmakers to pass an on-time budget.

An agreement needs to be made and voted on by midnight Thursday for the $150 billion budget to be on time. The three main issues that are repeatedly mentioned include education, paid family leave, and increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour. There has been progress made on the three issues, but a concrete agreement was not reached on Wednesday.

The state senate adjourned around 5 p.m., and the assembly adjourned around 8 p.m. They voted on about 20 bills, but none of them were related to the budget.

Only a framework agreement had been established. Because those hotly debated issues have yet to be finalized, there will have to be a message of necessity for an on-time budget.

Some local lawmakers said the message of necessity is something that was created to be used in similar situations, but others said using it is a disservice to the public.

“Our founding fathers put that provision in our Constitution a long time ago for this very reason,” Democratic Assemblyman John McDonald said. “And there are going to be times where everyone is arguing on one or two or three little items and those little items are holding up the whole process.”

“For what purpose? So somebody can say, ‘Another year with an on-time budget?’” Republican Assemblyman Dan Stec said. “I’d rather get the budget right. Take the three days at a minimum to let the legislature look at it, and more importantly, to let every New Yorker who wants to look at it and know what’s in it and what it means to them so they can communicate that back to us.”

Stec said with controversial bills like the $15 minimum wage increase, he wants to have enough time to sort through all the details and not be rushed by a message of necessity.

Neither does Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Some lawmakers were frustrated with comments from Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday that said if the budget is late, then they don’t deserve a pay raise.

“It’s no way it’s our fault; we haven’t seen the budget, yet,” Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin said. “We haven’t seen the final bill, so I think the governor needs to take a look at himself and realize why this budget is late.”

“And I think it’s a sign of fatigue setting in with everyone,” McDonald said. “And patience is starting to wear a little thin.”

One thing that was decided on Wednesday was to take the issue of who will pay for Medicaid off the table.

Some believe that as soon as paid family leave, education and minimum wage are agreed upon, the rest of the budget will fall into place.

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