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Legislature gavels in, begins daylong slog to beat midnight deadline

Budget documents are piled on desks in the

Budget documents are piled on desks in the Assembly chamber at the Capitol in Albany on Sunday, Mar. 30, 2014. Photo Credit: Philip Kamrass

The state Assembly gaveled into session at 9:15 a.m. to begin a daylong race to adopt a state budget – and beat the midnight deadline.

Midnight marks the beginning of the state's fiscal year and if they fail to finish on time, legislators and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo won’t be able to legitimately claim they’ve beaten the budget deadline for the fourth consecutive year. However, there will be no practical impacts if the process of passing the financial document bleeds into Tuesday.

Cuomo and legislative leaders signed off a budget agreement in the wee hours Saturday. The budget comes in at $138 billion, a 1.9 percent increase over the current fiscal year. That doesn’t include another $5 billion in federal aid to implement Obamacare and continue recovery from superstorm Sandy.

Before former Gov. David A. Paterson in 2010 discovered an overlooked power of the governor under state law to impose his or her budget if the deadline is passed, most state budgets in the previous 20 years were late. After Paterson’s maneuver, negotiating power dramatically shifted to a governor’s favor, reducing the Legislature’s incentive to stall past April 1.

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