Members of the New York Senate work on legislative bills...

Members of the New York Senate work on legislative bills in the Senate Chamber before Gov. Kathy Hochul presents her executive state budget at the state Capitol on Feb. 1 in Albany.  Credit: AP/Hans Pennink

ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders are expected to negotiate through the weekend to seek agreement on an overdue state budget, but several hurdles, including contentious issues and a scheduled holiday break, stand in the way of a quick agreement.

“If we take more time to get it right, that’s more important than getting it done on time,” Hochul said.

The 2023-24 spending plan, expected to exceed $227 billion, was due Friday night at midnight. 

If a budget deal isn't reached over the weekend, the Senate and Assembly plan to pass a budget “extender” from Hochul on Monday. That legislation could provide funding to keep state government running for a few days to allow for more negotiations, legislators said. Additional budget extenders could follow.

Further complicating a quick budget deal is the Passover-Easter break that begins Wednesday. That will keep the State Legislature out of session until at least April 10, the Monday after Easter.

Senate Democrats projected the most optimistic potential scenario: a deal struck this weekend or Monday and votes on the budget Tuesday and Wednesday.

“There is a story line where we come back Monday and get done in time for Seder,” Senate Finance Committee chairwoman Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) said on Friday, referring to the Passover ritual. “But if not, we know we have extenders."

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said Thursday that a deal could be struck on Monday. And Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said Thursday that she didn’t think the budget would be “really late.”

Others involved in the closed-door negotiations, however, gave that timeline little chance. Negotiations remain stuck on Hochul’s proposals to increase the amount and affordability of housing, and to provide judges with more power to set bail under a 2021 bail reform law.

Stewart-Cousins and Heastie oppose Hochul’s push to end a provision that says judges should use the “least-restrictive option” for ensuring a defendant returns for a court date. The legislative leaders said they are open to clarifying a judge’s powers as long as it doesn’t weaken the bail law.

The Democratic conferences also oppose a provision of Hochul’s proposal to increase housing and affordability statewide by giving a state board the power to overrule local zoning officials who reject new housing projects for reasons other than public safety.

“We want to resolve these matters,” Hochul said Friday. Then, “the other matters will fall fairly quickly.”

But even if the bail and housing issues are resolved, several thorny issues remain, unless the governor and legislative leaders agree to kick them out of the budget talks into the rest of the legislative session.

Among them are:

  • Hochul proposes to increase the minimum wage, which is now $15 per hour on Long Island, New York City and Westchester by tying it to annual inflation increases. The wage would never drop in times of deflation. The current upstate minimum wage is $14.20 an hour. The legislature wants to first increase the minimum wage to as much as $21, then index it to inflation increases.
  • Hochul proposes a 3% increase in tuition at the State University of New York and City University of New York, as part of additional funding for the systems. Annual tuition is now $7,007 at SUNY for a full-time state resident and $3,465 at CUNY. The legislature is opposed.
  • A tax increase to help fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that is supported by Hochul and opposed by the legislature, and an added income tax for New Yorkers making more $5 million a year, which is opposed by Hochul and supported by the legislature.

Whenever a budget deal is struck, Hochul and the Senate and Assembly are expected to approve “messages of necessity.” That would allow bills to be passed quickly without the required three days’ public review required in the constitution.

The messages of necessity have become routine in Albany under Democratic and Republican leaders. The nine voluminous budget bills totaling nearly a foot in height are debated and approved within hours of being provided to rank-and-file legislators. In addition, the debates and votes don’t end until well into the early morning after marathon sessions.

“It’s the most important thing they have to do,” Sen. James Tedisco (R-Glenville) said in a Republican news conference last week. “Why is it the same old way?”

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Dead whale in Shinnecock Bay ... Teens arrested for breaking into Dowling … Long Island Gay Men's Chorus Credit: Newsday

Updated 4 minutes ago Bail hearing on Roslyn fatal DWI crash ... Dead whale in Shinnecock Bay ... Best hibachi restaurants ... Holocaust survivor throws first pitch

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