Cuomo facing two deadlines on April 1
The governor is facing two deadlines that fall on the same day, reports Jimmy Vielkind at the Times Union: the budget deadline, and the expiration of the Public Employees Federation (PEF) and Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) contracts:
A Cuomo spokesman said there have been "multiple sessions" with both unions, and the governor has spoken with [PEF President Kenneth] Brynien and CSEA President Danny Donohue by phone several times since February. Director of State Operations Howard Glaser said during a legislative hearing March 1 that planning for layoffs would begin April 1 if agreements were not reached with the unions. But the pre-negotiated "step" increases for time on the job -- which range from $744 to $3,600 per year and are subject to a performance review -- would go into effect if no new contract is reached because of the Triborough Amendment, a law that freezes in place the provisions of an existing public employee contract. Those increases, plus longevity bonuses of $1,250 or $2,500 for 18,039 CSEA members and 16,600 PEF members, are budgeted to cost the state $140 million, according to Jeffrey Gordon, a spokesman for the Division of the Budget.
Meanwhile over at TU's Capital Confidential blog, Vielkind reports that the governor continues to be optimistic about passing a budget on time - but is notably starting to talk about "extender" bills:
Cuomo was more explicit then he’s ever been about daring legislative leaders to shut down government, building on comments to Bill Hammond yesterday. “Really, with the extenders, it changes the equation,” he said. “In the old days, it was a different calculus, because if you didn’t reach an agreement, then it was Groundhog Day — everyone sat there day after day for long periods of time…there was only one option: the three parties agree.” “There’s a new option. It’s, the three parties agree, or, they agree to disagree in a very dramatic fashion, which is the governor does an extender budget, and if they really disagree they shut down the government,” he said, recalling the government shutdown of 1994 caused by a budget dispute between House Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton. “It’s an expeditious option, in many ways it’s a more clear option for the people: you really believe what you’re saying? You really don’t want to do it? I’ll send you a bill, an extender bill, you don’t want to do it, then don’t pass it, shut down the government and let’s take the case to the people,” Cuomo said. I am confident in making the case to the people. Why? Because I did already. That was my campaign.”
Tom Precious at the Buffalo News reports that Cuomo has his predecessor to thank for the possibility of extenders:
The tool is a fiscal hammer Paterson used for the first time in state budget history last year, cramming spending cuts into otherwise ho-hum weekly emergency appropriation bills known as "extenders" after the Legislature failed to approve a budget in time for the April 1 start of the state's fiscal year. Paterson last June gave lawmakers a choice: Start embracing his ideas for spending cuts in the emergency bill process -- used when state budgets don't get adopted on time -- or shut the government down. "I'm flattered because the governor has said he really likes this tool and will use it, and I think he would use it immediately," Paterson said in an interview this week.
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