Lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are hoping to reach agreement today on a 2013-14 budget to avoid the criticized process of bypassing a three-day waiting period for bills to be adopted.
Lawmakers are scheduled to start a two-week spring break on Friday, meaning they want to pass all the budget bills Thursday. But to do that, they would need to reach a deal Monday or Tuesday and have the bills printed in time for Thursday’s session.
The fiscal year starts April 1, and Cuomo has made it a priority to have an on-time budget for the third year in a row — which hasn’t happened in decades. Cuomo has been criticized for using a message of necessity — which allows the three-day waiting period to be avoided — on important measures, including on a hastily approved gun-control law in January.
Legislative leaders and Cuomo held a marathon St. Patrick’s Day negotiating session Sunday night that did not lead to an agreement on the proposed $136 billion state spending plan.
“There’s nothing agreed to until everything is agreed to,” Silver told reporters. “We’re making a lot of progress for an on-time budget and the details ultimately will be forthcoming when everything is agreed to.”
Republicans and Democrats are at odds over increasing the state’s minimum wage. Democrats want to increase it from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour starting in January. Republicans and business groups want it to be phased in over a number of years, and Republicans are eying a lower “training wage” for teenagers who work part time, particularly in the summers.
When asked about a possible “training wage” being established as part of talks, both Skelos and Silver said everything is on the table as they continue negotiating.
Cuomo is also said to be seeking an early extension of the “millionaire’s tax”—an income-tax surcharge on people earning more than $1 million a year that is set expire at the end of 2014.
“It’s one of the things that’s being discussed,” Skelos said of the millionaire’s tax. “The governor brought it up. We’re going to discuss it.”
Lawmakers have been discussing an increase in the child deduction tax credit, raising it from $1,000 per dependent to $1,300 over several years. Another proposal would increase in the earned income tax credit, which provides refunds on residents’ income taxes based on income levels.
Senate Republicans are also pushing for private sector tax breaks as business groups rail against a minimum-wage increase.
Businesses want lawmakers to reject Cuomo’s proposal to extend an energy surcharge, which they said would cost consumers $254 million next fiscal year and $509 million in subsequent years. Business groups are holding a news conference with Assembly Republicans on Monday to lobby against the measure.