Share this article

print logo

It's 'controlled chaos' in Albany as lawmakers press toward final budget deal

ALBANY – At the state Capitol, it’s controlled chaos time.

Every possible special interest crammed into the seat of state government Monday – in a last-ditch effort to influence the $170 billion spending plan being negotiated in secret by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders.

The game was still on Monday night, as no final or firm agreement was publicly announced by Cuomo and legislative leaders after another round of private talks.

Cuomo and lawmakers were hoping to announce the parameters of a budget deal some time late Monday night.

However, the various bills – and the many details of the budget – would not be printed until at least Tuesday.

“We’re continuing to have discussions,’’ Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, after emerging from Cuomo’s office Monday evening.

“Hope so,’’ Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said, when asked if he thought budget bills might be printed overnight.

As often is the case in budget talks, the final days before a concrete deal included a round of one-more-thing proposals by negotiators to get some last piece included before legislation is printed and readied for voting.

The highlights of a tentative deal remained Monday as on Sunday: $1 billion or so in extra school funding, new measures to address sexual harassment in public and private workplaces and some restorations of some college aid programs.

The still-open nature of things brought out the lobbying forces.

On one side of the building, lobbyists for Uber companies were working the halls trying to beat back a surcharge on New York City rides.

On another, people who allege they were victims of childhood sexual abuse streamed down a Senate hallway to deliver a petition with more than 140,000 names – urging longer statute of limitations provisions, to go after abusers in civil and criminal courts.

There were union representatives, manufacturing executives, college officials, and insiders representing health insurers, construction interests, teachers, tech companies, auto firms, telecommunications companies and banks.

At 11 a.m., a group of a dozen or so people was milling outside Flanagan’s third floor Capitol office. They included representatives of five manufacturing companies from Western New York seeking about $16 million in state funding for a water infrastructure project to replace 19 million gallons a day of raw water that the shuttered Huntley Power Plant is set to no longer provide area manufacturers.

At the other end of the third floor, several government watchdog groups were pressing to bring back to life an effort to provide more transparency in the awarding of billions of dollars of economic development programs.

“There is nothing controversial about this proposal,’’ said Jennifer Wilson of the New York League of Women Voters.

Lawmakers were meeting again Monday night in private to hear the latest updates from legislative leaders about their talks with Cuomo, who has not commented on the budget process since it intensified over the weekend.

Flanagan, the Senate GOP leader, repeated for a second time in several days that attempts by Cuomo to raise $1 billion or so in taxes were beaten back by Senate Republicans.

But, other lawmakers said the budget is expected to include some sort of tax or fees imposed on opioid manufacturers that could raise nearly $100 million in new revenues.

There are no comments - be the first to comment