ALBANY — Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) emerged from a meeting with legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying more funding for mass transit and crumbling public housing in New York City are part of a “tentative deal” on the state budget.
No other conference leader immediately echoed Klein’s claim.
Klein and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) said a late entry into the tense negotiations is the prospect of a new commission that could recommend raises for legislators. Neither provided details as they raced to their legislative conferences to update rank-and-file members of the closed-door negotiations with Cuomo.
Klein said new funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expected to be part of a $168 billion budget.
“One of the things I advocated for early on is this emergency plan, the infrastructure plan, $840 million,” Klein said. “We need the city to come up with half and I think we are track to adopt my plan — meaning that if they don’t have the money in the city in their budget in June, we can claw back a portion of their sales tax.”
Klein also said there appears to be support to provide $250 million in new funding to the New York City Housing Authority for repairs and renovation. The tenants of the federal subsidized housing recently sued over what Cuomo had described as deplorable conditions that he compared to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico.
Flanagan said he believes the Assembly proposal to end bail in most criminal cases “will be handled outside the budget.” The legislative session continues until June 20.
The day after talks appeared to be derailed, Flanagan said he is “cautiously optimistic” of a deal after leaving negotiations Tuesday afternoon.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) refused to comment other than to say there is no deal until he confers with his members.
Cuomo, a Democrat seeking re-election this year, didn’t comment.
The budget is due Sunday, but legislators and Cuomo hope to complete the deal by Friday, the beginning of the Passover-Easter holiday and a two-week vacation for the legislature. They missed, however, the Monday deadline to pass bills on time on Thursday, so Cuomo will have to issue “messages of necessity” to suspend the constitution’s requirement of three days’ public review of bills before they can voted upon.