ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers were still negotiating the final details of the state’s mammoth $200 billion spending proposal for the next fiscal year as of late Wednesday, as big ticket items remain unresolved — meaning Albany will officially blow past it’s April 1 state budget deadline.
“We are running a bit late this year because it is almost at the deadline of when the fiscal year ends.. we have quite a few budget bills remaining to get done,” said state Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) on the chamber floor around 10 p.m. Wednesday, ahead of passing the first of 10 bills making up the spending package.
“We may discover that there is some slight change in the amount of money that the state is going to be spending because we don’t have a final number on the spending for the state, or the revenue for the state.”
But Cuomo and the Democratic-controlled Legislature are at odds over measures including raising taxes on wealthy New Yorkers and big businesses, more funding for schools statewide and greenlighting other potential sources of revenue — such as legalizing mobile sports betting.
Cuomo’s state budget director Robert Mujica argues New York needs to make up roughly $2.5 billion to help fund the Empire State’s coronavirus recovery, but the state Assembly and Senate place that number much higher — at $7 billion.
Meanwhile, Cuomo is embroiled in dueling scandals involving a federal probe into his handling of the coronavirus in nursing homes and two investigations into multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him, including those by former and current staffers.
Critics argue Cuomo is distracted this year and not as engaged in budget talks, which his office has denied.
Lawmakers did pass legislation late Tuesday legalizing recreational marijuana in New York, which Cuomo signed Wednesday morning, following a three-way agreement between the executive and Legislature.
Legislative sources speculate negotiations — primarily done remotely to abide by COVID-19 gathering restrictions and safety precautions — could bleed into the weekend, potentially disrupting the Easter holiday, and lead to voting as late as next week.
“It’s weird to see the hallways empty and to see that during budget time,” state Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Queens) told The Post during a phone call from his office, one of a handful of lawmakers who made the trip from his district up to Albany.
But he said some things never change in Albany, as he received a 2 a.m. phone call from staffers early Wednesday morning, who are still in talks with Cuomo and other legislative leaders about sealing a “hybrid” deal on legalizing app-based sports betting.
“We’re trying to work out something between the governor’s proposal and our idea. One or two platform providers and negotiating additional skins remains to be seen,” he said.