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Wednesday 30 November 2022
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Cuomo, Lawmakers to Continue Budget Talks through Weekend

By Staff

 

cuomo - newAlthough legislators expected to have a New York state budget agreement with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in place by Thursday, March 26, negotiations reportedly have stalled between lawmakers and the governor, and will continue throughout the weekend, with a new Tuesday deadline for the spending plan.

Education reform, an increase in minimum wage, and $5.4 billion dollars the state received in settlement funds are a few of the items currently holding up the budget, lawmakers said.

Cuomo has proposed making 50 percent of a teacher’s annual performance review based on student test scores, and also increasing the minimum wage to $10 per hour in Upstate New York, and to $11.50 per hour in New York City.

According to legislators, they would consider allowing the state Board of Regents to create a statewide policy for teacher evaluations; however, opinions between Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans have differed on whether to increase the minimum wage.

While some Assembly members have said they are open to negotiations regarding the minimum wage, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, said the minimum wage, which is already set to increase from $8.75 per hour to $9 per hour by the end of the year, should stay on course for the original wage hike. In addition, following talks with the governor, Skelos said the item would likely be dropped from the budget.

Senate Republicans also said they had concerns about the $1.5 billion in settlement funds Cuomo proposed for an economic development competition among regions in Upstate New York.

“We’re not opposed to that investment upstate. What we don’t believe in is there should be three winners and four losers,” Skelos stated.

In addition, Cuomo has proposed ethics reform, and disclosure from lawmakers regarding outside clients, following the arrest of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in January.

Assembly Democrats reached an agreement with the governor last week regarding the matter, but Skelos said he still has been discussing with Cuomo how much lawmakers should be required to disclose.

In order to have the budget in place by the state’s new fiscal year, which begins on April 1, officials said Cuomo and the state Legislature would need to have a proposal in place by Saturday, if they plan to hold a Tuesday vote on budget proposals.

Cuomo released the following statement, Thursday, regarding the budget negotiations:

“There’s been much discussion on the subject of including policy in the state budget. It is a red herring.

The truth is that buy cialis in australia every budget boils down to two essential issues: How much money are we spending and how are we spending it? There is no financial judgment that can be made without a corresponding policy judgment. Indeed many of the Legislature’s proposals in their one house budgets have related policy proposals.

There are two fundamental issues in this budget. The first is ethics reform. It’s an issue that speaks directly to the integrity of the process that determines and manages the $141 billion budget. Nothing could be more relevant to the budget process than the ethics of the people responsible for the budget itself. I reject the idea that ethics reform should only be considered outside the budget process – it is at the heart of the budget process. Saying ethics reforms should be done outside the budget is another way of saying one doesn’t want to do ethics reform.

The second major issue in the budget is education. Education is the largest single expenditure in the state budget. The relevant budget decision is not just how much we spend, but how we spend it. What are we doing about failing schools, how do we pay teachers and what we are paying for are questions that are implicitly raised in every budget. This year, we are for the first time asking how we can successfully address and fix a broken education bureaucracy that has relegated tens of thousands of New York’s children to failing schools every year and how to improve the overall performance of our education system.

These two issues remain my highest priorities in this budget. They are transformative changes.

Tackling substantial lapses in our ethics laws is an issue government has grappled with for more than 50 years. The question of client disclosure has plagued Albany since the 1960’s. Addressing inequities, inefficiencies and substandard performance in our education system has eluded us for decades.

A successful budget means enacting these policies that will rebuild trust in state government and transform our public schools in a way that will impact future generations of New York’s children.

To repeat, I will not sign a budget without real ethics reform or agree to a dramatic increase in education aid without education reform that provides accountability, performance and standards.”

Skelos said lawmakers are still working with the governor to have a budget in place by Wednesday.