New York City

Possible Deal on NY State Budget Emerges

The speaker of the New York state Assembly floated a deal Thursday that he said could end the ongoing state budget stalemate, though it remains to be seen whether it will be accepted by the Senate.

Bronx Democrat Carl Heastie said the potential compromise involves a deal on charter school funding, one of the last sticking points in the way of a budget, which was due April 1. He said there also are possible deals on an affordable housing tax credit and a plan to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18, two of the other remaining issues preventing a budget agreement.

"I think we're making progress to try to close this down so we can have a complete budget," Heastie told reporters. "I think there's a desire by everybody to just get this done."

A spokesman for Republican Senate Leader John Flanagan, however, said that while Flanagan is discussing the possible compromise with members of his chamber, it's too soon to say whether there's an agreement.

"While we have had these discussions, there is no final deal," said spokesman Scott Reif.

A spokesman for Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted the final outstanding issues "fell along ideological lines," and that the governor suggested the compromise as a way to bridge the gap.

"The governor brought both sides to the table and offered up a compromise that removed politics from the equation," said spokesman Rich Azzopardi.

The Assembly worked late Thursday evening to approve several less controversial budget measures the Senate passed earlier in the week.

If the compromise announced by Heastie does gain approval with the Senate it's possible both chambers could work through the weekend in the hopes of passing the $152 billion budget.

The spending plan was due by Saturday. Negotiations broke down Wednesday when the Senate abruptly left the Capitol. Lawmakers already have approved a two-month emergency extension of the last budget to avoid a government shutdown. That short-term spending plan expires May 31.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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