Spin Cycle

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ALBANY — Two days after a state budget deadline that Albany politicians have long said was a vestige of the Capitol’s past dysfunctional self, legislators continued to fall short of reaching an agreement.

Late Sunday, rank-and-file members said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) told them Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo planned to send them an emergency “extender” bill some time overnight that had to be approved by 2 p.m. Monday. If the Legislature fails to approve the extender as crafted by Cuomo, the state government could face a shutdown, although that is highly unlikely, all sides said.

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“Given the inability of both houses to reach an agreement, I am sending up an extender of the current budget to keep the government fully functioning until May 31,” Cuomo said in a statement just before midnight. “I have spoken to both leaders who have agreed to pass the extender bill by tomorrow afternoon, which is the necessary deadline to keep government fully functioning.”

State lawmakers were expected to pass the extender before the deadline Monday. The state Senate went into session briefly just after midnight, then decided to return at noon Monday. The state Assembly was expected to go into session at 9 a.m. Monday.

Lawmakers could still make a deal Monday on a full budget, which would replace the extender.

“There is no finality on anything,” Heastie said Sunday afternoon. He spoke before walking into a closed-door meeting among Democrats on lingering policy issues, such as raising the age of criminal responsibility, charter schools and water infrastructure.

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Cuomo had said last week he had a “tentative” agreement on all the major outstanding issues, only to see the weekend play out otherwise.

The state’s fiscal year began Saturday. But the first practical impact of a stalemate — if it continues — likely would be making the state payroll on Wednesday.

Part of the difficulty is that the governor regularly inserts major policy initiatives into the budget because tying them to spending appropriations gives his office leverage over the state legislature. It’s a trend that’s grown steadily over the years, regardless of who holds office.

“The budget has increasingly become one big omnibus package that includes the kitchen sink when the governor tries to address all of the state’s needs within the budget,” said Dick Dadey, of the good-government group Citizens Union, on Sunday. “When the deadline is passed, this unfortunately weakens the hand of the legislature, and that, ultimately, it’s not good for the citizens of New York.”

Senate Democratic Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) after a closed-door meeting with Cuomo said, “It really does feel a bit dysfunctional.”

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Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) said “I’m not optimistic, I’m not pessimistic.” saidI’m numb.”

Without an agreement by Wednesday, the governor and legislators would be forced to approve an emergency “extender” of the fiscal 2016-17 budget to meet the state’s payroll on Wednesday and some other financial obligations.

Sunday afternoon Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi tweeted a broadside: “If no budget by the end of the weekend, the extender would likely be until May 21 — the date of the federal budget submission.”

But even a budget extender is fraught with uncertainty.

Under state law, the governor may choose to draw up an extender when a budget is late with whatever policies he wants, regardless of the demands of legislators.

That leaves the Legislature with a hard choice to either accept the extender and any policy the governor inserts, or reject it and effectively shut down government — a move none of the leaders want and for which they would all likely pay a political price.

Senate Republicans entering their closed-door conference Sunday, more than an hour later than scheduled after a fruitless day of private talks Saturday, had no deal to debate.

“I haven’t heard of anything,” said Sen. Joseph Griffo (R-Rome) just after 1 p.m. Sunday. “That’s why we’re going in.”

A sticking point continues to be a Democratic proposal called “raise the age” to divert more 16- and 17-year-olds accused of nonviolent crimes to Family Court, to avoid presumably harsher penalties in adult criminal court. Another is the perennial issue of the effort by Senate Republicans and Cuomo to expand and better fund charter schools over the objections of the Assembly’s Democratic majority, which argues that the privately operated, publicly funded schools drain money from traditional public schools.

On Sunday, the legislative majorities were to consider compromising on “raise the age” — if they settle that issue, legislators on both sides say the rest of budget issues may be quickly resolved.

Assemb. Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) disputed the Senate’s contention that the sides were “very close.” Lentol said there are disagreements on such basic elements as the starting date of the legislation.

He said the Senate on Saturday proposed expanding “youthful offender” status up to 21 years old so that the offenders’ records would be sealed after they serve their sentences. Lentol said that would allow youths to apply for college and jobs without noting a conviction. But he said that issue was dropped overnight. Negotiations continue, he said.

The Senate’s mainline Democrats in the minority conference on Sunday urged that the eight members of the Independent Democratic Conference who work with the GOP majority come together to deny “a quorum to Senate Republicans until a deal on raise the age is announced and it includes real action to help New York kids . . . [and prevents] Senate Republicans from advancing only parts of the budget,” said spokesman Mike Murphy.

On Saturday, another issue made tense talks even more contentious. Presidents of four state universities — including Stony Brook University — accused Cuomo of trying to raid the colleges’ fundraising foundations to help pay for his “free college tuition” proposal for public college students and their families. That proposed raid of funds raised privately by nonpublic colleges, and reported by Newsday, angered legislators.