Budget battles linger despite adoption of early spending plan
Did you think the end of the budget bickering meant the end of the budget process? Surprise! The beat goes on (that's why we're continuing our budget solutions guest blog series).
Casey Seiler at Capitol Confidential has a round-up of the reactions from politicians and advocacy groups about the on-time budget.
Joseph Spector and Jill Terreri at Gannett have a great wrap up of how the budget finally shook out - and details on what's left to be determined:
But lawmakers said the budget still left unanswered questions on how the spending plan would affect the communities they serve. Lawmakers ceded authority over prison closures to the Cuomo administration, so the Legislature passed the budget without knowing if a prison in their district would close. Senate Republicans got some broad assurances from Cuomo that any closures would be geographically balanced, but that could prove difficult because most prisons are upstate. Unions said they have started negotiations with the Cuomo administration on new contracts, but warned that finding $450 million in savings would be daunting. "We're at the table now to help address it," said Stephen Madarasz, spokesman for the Civil Service Employees Association. "I think it's a little premature to say what will happen."
Meanwhile, Nick Reisman reports at Gannett's Vote Up! blog that the next move from the state Senate could be to work on unfunded state mandates:
“I think now it’s an executive function to negotiate with the unions to see if [Governor Cuomo] can bring savings to the state. This is now between him and the unions, but we’re going to do legislatively is pension reform at least from the Senate Republican point of view, mandate relief and costs that are driving up local government and the state,” [Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos] said.
State of Politics reports that Buffalo area Senator Mark Grisanti is holding fast to the notion that greater autonomy for the University at Buffalo (via the "UB2020" plan) isn't dead:
The Democrat-turned-Republican freshman lawmaker chided members of the minority for griping about the fact that UB2020 wasn’t included in the final budget bill, noting Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pledged to hold a summit prior to the session’s end to try to get the long-stalled plan unstuck.
Here's video of him explaining his vote on the budget late Tuesday night - despite the fact that UB2020 isn't part of the spending plan.
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