NY lawmakers miss budget deadline

New York State’s April 1 budget deadline came and went over the weekend without resolution of outstanding policy issues tied to the massive spending blueprint.

Legislative leadership and Governor Andrew Cuomo have been locked in intense negotiations over the past week-and-a-half as they seek to resolve a handful of issues, first and foremost the question of raising the age of criminal responsibility in the state from 16 to 18. Other negotiation hang-ups include extending the 421-a property tax abatement, expanding ride-hailing outside of New York City, and increasing public and charter school funding.

On Monday, April 3, the state Assembly and Senate passed budget extender legislation to fund the operation of the state government through May 31, thereby avoiding a government shutdown that, by most accounts, would have taken place on April 4. The extender legislation, unlike the full state budget, is largely devoid of the policy issues that have impeded negotiations, but does include proposals to curb drug prices and provide funding for direct care workers, and also includes a number of the Governor’s large-scale economic development projects and $2.5 billion for water infrastructure improvements.

This year’s budget marks the first significantly late budget of the Democratic governor’s tenure. Late Friday evening, the Governor issued an official statement granting the state Legislature a “grace period” over the April 1 weekend to work towards a deal on outstanding issues. The Governor’s statement cited the “extraordinary times in our state and country” as reason for the reprieve, but he warned that if no agreement was reached by the end of the weekend, he would be issuing emergency extender legislation.

Negotiations between the governor, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R), Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) Leader Jeffrey Klein (D), and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) are expected to continue with the same intensity over the next few days, as the various conferences work to bridge disagreements on outstanding policy issues. Insiders and observers point to the end of the April 3 week as an unofficial “deadline” to pass a “full” budget—citing the scheduled two-week April legislative break which accommodates the Passover and Easter holidays.

If no budget agreement is reached by the close of this week, negotiations could potentially carry into the end of the month, or even into May.