ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After several hours of heated debates, conferences and votes, the New York State budget officially passed Friday night.
The state assembly cast its final votes, packed up thousands of pages of bills, and finally went home.
The finalized $147 billion budget is a day late, and not everyone is happy with what’s in it.
Many lawmakers like Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara were pleased with the record $24.8 billion investment in education.
“We saw tremendous increases in foundation aid, but we also saw an end to the GEA,” he said.
He was also happy that the budget includes $27 billion for upstate road and bridge infrastructure.
“Making sure that we can take action now,” he said. “We don’t have to wait until our infrastructure is falling apart.”
But the big debate on the floor was over the $15 minimum wage increase, and local lawmakers were split on their votes.
Assemblyman John McDonald voted yes.
“A very reasonable minimum wage that is sensitive to the needs of many and will gradually help bring people out of poverty,” he said.
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin vote no.
“Because a governor says $15 – a fight for $15 – rhymes and sounds good, that that’s where we should be,” he said.
For some, it’s not what is or isn’t in the budget that’s frustrating, but the process as a whole.
“They allowed three men not only to do their bidding in a room, now there’s three men in a bunker,” Assemblyman Jim Tedisco said. “They don’t even let us know when they’re meeting.”
After being the focus of last year’s budget, ethics reform was not on the table this year.
“A total lack of transparency,” Tedisco said. “We’ve gone back to the bad old days now when we used to go into the middle of the night.”
But the budget isn’t all about spending. It also includes a $4.2 billion tax cut for the middle class.