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ALBANY - Albany politics is apparently stronger than even the Earth’s rotation.
Well after the midnight deadline Tuesday night to approve a state budget on time had passed, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said his chamber met the deadline.
“Until we gavel out, it’s still Tuesday,” Heastie told Newsday Wednesday.
He underscored that all the critical spending bills were passed before the midnight deadline and all functions of government continued without interruption.
He’s not the first legislative leader to turn back the clock. Once, decades ago, a legislative leader physically turned back the hands on the chamber’s clock so their budget deal could be declared “on time” in the following campaign season.
Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer missed the deadline in 2007 by several hours, but took to calling it a “timely” budget.
When legislative leaders miss the deadline, they downplay it’s importance even though the streak of four consecutive on-time budgets has been a campaign brag for all incumbents.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) finished that chamber’s budget bills around 11:15 p.m. and he said he hoped the Assembly would meet the deadline for an on-time budget.
“This will be our fifth on-time budget and we should all be congratulated for that,” Skelos said, still hoping the Assembly would seal the deal.
Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) who leads the Independent Democratic Conference that partners with the Republican majority said an on-time budget is important.
“By doing this we tell the financial institutions we are serious about doing the peoples’ business and, first and foremost, I think the people understand the state Senate and the government works,” Klein said.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had invited lawmakers to the mansion to celebrate the on-time budget.