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Top New York lawmakers hope for on-time state budget

" We are committed to getting an on-time budget"

March 20, 2019 - 10:27 pm
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ALBANY, N.Y. (WBEN/AP) — Leaders of the New York state Legislature said Wednesday that they are optimistic a new state budget can be passed before the new fiscal year begins — even though disagreements over key details of the spending plan remain unresolved.

Emerging from a closed-door meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday afternoon, Democratic Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, said negotiations concerning the $175 billion fiscal blueprint are moving ahead.

"I would say that we are committed to getting an on-time budget," she told reporters. The next fiscal year begins April 1.

Lawmakers and Cuomo have yet to agree on the details of several significant provisions in the budget, including the elimination of cash bail for criminal defendants, new tolls on vehicles entering central Manhattan and a new tax on luxury second homes in Manhattan.

Cuomo wants other measures included in the budget, too, including his proposal to make permanent the 2 percent cap on property tax increases that applies to most local governments outside of New York City.

Lawmakers left Albany on Wednesday and will reconvene Monday for what they hope will be a final week of negotiations before voting on the budget.

Proposals to legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana are not expected to be inserted into the budget. Cuomo said he expects lawmakers will take up that issue after the budget, with the goal of passing a legalization bill before they adjourn for the year in late June.

"I believe we'll get it done this year," Cuomo said on New York City public radio Wednesday.

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