(Updates throughout with passage of bill, changes byline,
dateline, previous NEW YORK)
By James Odato
ALBANY, N.Y., April 3 New York lawmakers on
Monday passed an emergency spending plan authorizing Governor
Andrew Cuomo to pay bills and keep the state government
operating for the next two months.
The state was supposed to have a budget at the start of its
fiscal 2018 on Saturday, but the legislature and Cuomo failed to
agree on a comprehensive plan as they debated broader policies.
Monday's stopgap, 1,700-page "extender budget" avoids a
government shutdown through May 31, assuring that state agencies
and contractors will provide services and roughly 200,000 state
employees will get paid despite the impasse.
The full budget has been delayed in part by debate over
raising the age of adult criminal responsibility to 18, which
would leave North Carolina as the only state to automatically
prosecute and imprison 16- and 17-year-olds as adults regardless
of the crime.
"There are political and ideological differences between the
Senate and Assembly. We must resolve these issues. A complete
budget requires it," Cuomo, who supports lifting the age, said
in a statement late on Sunday.
Lawmakers and Cuomo have been divided over other issues,
including a replacement for an expired program that gives tax
breaks to affordable housing developers and extending a
so-called millionaire's tax on wealthy New Yorkers.
Cuomo also laid some blame on uncertainty about Washington's
policies, including any revised effort to overhaul the
Affordable Care Act, which could strip New York of at least $4.6
billion of Medicaid and other funding.
"New York State is a target for hostile federal actions
ranging from severe financial cutbacks to deprivation of legal
and personal rights," said Cuomo, a Democrat who is widely
touted as a possible 2020 presidential candidate.
Assembly member Fred Thiele Jr., an Independent who caucuses
with Democrats, was one of several lawmakers to criticize the
inclusion of policy initiatives in the budget legislation,
saying from the legislative floor during voting on the bill that
"we are not the platform committee for Cuomo 2020."
"They should not be forced down the throat of the
legislature as part of the budget process," Thiele said during
"The national stage is watching," said Assemblymember Diana
Richardson, a Democrat from Brooklyn, who voted against the
The budget extension authorizes $40 billion in state
spending, including $10.3 billion in state appropriations, $12.4
billion aid to local governments and $17.3 billion in capital
Lawmakers want to get the budget done this week. Whenever it
arrives, it will be by far the latest budget since Cuomo took
office in 2011.
The Republican-led Senate and Democrat-dominated Assembly
endorsed the extension overwhelmingly, but many said they did so
reluctantly to avoid a government shutdown.
Some were sour on the length of the extension or that it
allows for $8.9 billion in new debt over the next two months.
The measure authorizes billions of dollars in bond financing
for bridges and infrastructure projects.
Cuomo and lawmakers are also close to a deal on plans to
allow car-hailing services such as Lyft and Uber
outside New York City, where they are already permitted,
Assemblymember Kevin Cahill, a Democrat from Kingston who chairs
the Assembly Insurance Committee, said in an interview on Monday
after the voting session.
(Reporting by James Odato in Albany; Additional reporting by
Hilary Russ in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and